Blog 11 - ReUse event for Sligo

Blog 11 - ReUse event for Sligo

Reuse, Repurpose, Restyle and Recycle your wardrobe

I've got nothing to wear....

I’ve heard this phrase more times than I care to remember and the reason it irks me so much is because it’s usually said while standing in front of a wardrobe bursting with all sorts of clothes. But I don’t hear it so much anymore because the person who usually utters it, my collage going daughter, is starting to become concerned about the impact of fast fashion, and is beginning to understand that her actions can make a difference. And apparently more & more young people are starting to realise the same. In these Insta-days there is so much made of how you look and what you are wearing, but this can conflict with the concerns that are being expressed by young people about climate change. So we have to change how we consume things like clothes, and one of the ways we can do this is to promote the ideas of reuse & upcycling.

As many of you might already be aware October is national Re Use month and all over the country there are events and promotions happening to try to improve awareness about re-use, upcycling and repair, for all sorts of items. These concepts have become important in a world where concerns for the environment and our climate are growing every day. In recent years lots of us have become used to buying products, especially clothes, that have a very limited life time, and which are thrown in the bin without much thought. This happens because the clothes might not be of great quality, and are cheap, or simply because we don’t want to wear them anymore. And all of this means that we use a lot of resources to keep our wardrobes up to date. This is having a pretty serious impact on our efforts to combat climate change, with the fashion industry being responsible for an estimated 20 per cent of global wastewater and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions - more than all international flights and maritime shipping!

So how do we try to change this and what can we do to address the problem of trying to save our precious resources, while making sure we can look good at the same time? Well one thing we can do is to support the second hand stores and charity shops that there are in practically every town in the country. This Saturday 12th of October in Sligo Airport in Strandhill the Community Reuse Network of Ireland is holding an event called the Style Sessions. Here we will have many of the second hand stores and charity shops showing off their wares and promoting the purchase of pre-loved clothes. Outfits will be assembled from all of the various clothing racks there on the day, and people will be able to see what sort of threads they might be able to find if they decide to take the plunge and buy second hand. The event will also have a some workshops where people involved in reuse, upcycling & repair businesses can discuss the issues that they face and what can possibly be done to address them. And then on the following day, the 13th of October the Cairde Arts festival are holding their annual Great Big Clothes Swop. This is a successful initiative that has been happening for the past couple of years, where people can come along with some of the clothes that they may have fallen out of love with and swop them for someone else’s former favourites, with the money raised going towards funding one of the Sligo’s funkiest & eclectic festivals.

Another type of business that we are trying to promote and reinvigorate is repair. So if the sole comes off your favourite shoe, or if you bust the zip on that fabulous jacket you bought years ago, don’t give up! Get them fixed. There are cobblers and dress makers out there who can resuscitate them and make them as good as new, if not even better.
But it isn’t just clothes that we can re-use or repair, our household appliances can be fixed a lot of the time too. There are several well qualified people around Sligo who can fix the broken door on your washing machine, or put an element in to your oven. So before you decide to consign it to the scrap heap and fork out for another new one, see if the old one can be repaired, or even upgraded.

Buying new all the time and throwing away things that are still perfectly good puts a huge strain on our resources. And it’s wasteful and inefficient. So if you want to freshen up the settee or can’t look at those curtains anymore, see if someone else might want them. There are lots of resources online like or where you can put up the things you want rid of (or find the armchair of your dreams), or where you can locate a local professional repair service.

It is possible to make a real difference if we all try to make some sort of small change. And it is especially important for younger people to realise this, because if they make those changes now, then they will have a greater impact in years to come. The big manufacturing Corporations rely on us, as consumers of their goods, to keep them going. But if we change our habits, then they will have to change theirs too. And this change might be started by donating more of your clothes to the local charity shop, rather than bunging them in a skip. Or even by taking the next step and buying the outfit for your next big day out in your local thrift store! You can also do it all online, with services like allowing people to sell & buy the contents of their wardrobes, and where you might just find that hoodie that you’ve been dreaming of, or even get a pair of yeezys for a reasonable price. Just don’t let me hear you say that you’ve got nothing to wear!


Pete Murtagh

Environment Awareness Officer
Sligo County Council