The £10 jeans

Today I purchased a pair of jeans for £10. No, they weren’t from H&M or Primark (although the latter does sell jeans for £10). They were originally from TOAST and I bought them second-hand from a charity shop in Bath.

My existing jeans have been falling apart for ages and, despite numerous repairs, I realised it was time to say goodbye. But I really wanted to buy a pair of second-hand jeans because:

– they are cheaper? Well I know I could have walked into Primark and bought brand new jeans for £10, £12 or £15. Instead I paid a wacking £10 for a second-hand pair. However after some quick internet research I discovered that these jeans retail for £95 brand new. They are made in Turkey and I had assumed the working conditions and pay would be better there than in Bangladesh. However a report from the group Clean Clothes Campaign indicates this is not necessarily true.

– they are supporting a charity? I bought the jeans from the Julian House charity shop in Bath. This locally based charity works with homeless people. It has four retail shops in the area which, last year, raised £100,000 for the organisation. There has been recent talk among some of the blogs I follow about charity shop donations being sent directly overseas to be sold, rather than being displayed in the shops. There’s an interesting article here from last month’s Guardian newspaper about the second-hand clothing market in Africa. I’m not sure what percentage, if any, of the clothes donated to Julian House are sold onto overseas traders. I know they were certainly asking for clothing donations at the shop today.

– they are being re-used? I’ve been shopping second-hand for so many years I sometimes forget that it’s also the greener thing to do. Re-using someone else’s clothing means the clothing is not going to landfill and it extends the life of the garment. I personally couldn’t see what was wrong with these jeans as they still seem to be in the current TOAST catalogue here. Buying second-hand is also sticking your fingers up to fast fashion where trends come and go within a few weeks as you are choosing to buy and wear someone else’s castoffs.

– they are easier to wear? I personally prefer second-hand jeans. They have been ‘worn in’. In the case of the ones I bought today, I can ignore the warning to “keep your new denim away from light coloured fabrics and upholstery” because they’ve already been washed a few times. So my new (to me) jeans can replace the old ones while still adhering to my Project 333 wardrobe (update to come soon). I also have exciting plans to upcycle the old pair as I can’t completely say goodbye to them.