Q&A: Verona Farrell Talks Second Hand Shopping

Verona Farrell is a secondhand enthusiast from Kildare who lives in Stockholm and works in the fashion industry. Verona runs the Instagram and TikTok account Second Hand Huns sharing fashion and street style inspiration with a focus on secondhand! Today we ask Verona a few questions on second hand shopping, downsizing your wardrobe and tips for being a sustainable fashionista.

Verona, we love how you document street style! Have you always been interested in fashion?

I was never the fashionable one in school. I’d like to think I’ve inherited a creative eye from my Dad but style and fashion only came about as a method of expressing it in the last two years. Starting to thrift allowed me to get interested in clothes on a student budget (€60 a week to be precise), and it was when I learned some basic skills on a sewing machine that I became more explorative with altering the clothes I already owned. I studied law in college and only in my final year did I start to consider fashion as more than a hobby. In essence, the interest sprung up hard and fast!

In your opinion, what are the benefits to shopping second hand?

As I mentioned before, the benefit of secondhand that attracted me in the first place was the affordability. I’ve always been a bit of a bargain hunter, growing up I used to beg to be brought to flea markets and car-boot sales. I suppose it’s the modern-day treasure hunting! I think being drawn towards secondhand was a natural extension of this. Perhaps it’s the basic consumer in me too, buying things makes me feel good and when I thrift I feel like it’s not as naughty. As I’ve shifted the way I shop over time I am now as drawn to its other wonders. I like being forced to think more about my own individual style without the comfort of trends on a plate like in a regular store. I still shop from fast-fashion brands when I see something I love but I admit it doesn’t give me quite the thrill I get from thrifting something unique. Although the environment wasn’t the initial catalyst for my love for secondhand shopping, like most people, climate anxiety has been something I have started to really feel, ashamedly, only in the last year. Maybe being in Sweden where electric cars and having seven separate bins in the office are the norm has affected my awareness of the damage of over consumption too. I don’t think thrifting alone is in any way a big enough effort on my part but it’s something I enjoy anyway so it’s a good start.

Some people find it difficult or overwhelming to shop in charity shops and second hand shops. Do you have any tips to help people be a successful second hand shopper?
If you don’t usually shop secondhand, my best tip is to try to remove the idea that the charity shops in your area ‘aren’t good enough’. I constantly have people saying to me that they could never find what I find in Ireland. A lot of my best finds have been in small charity shops in Kildare. In fact I would say the thrifting is far better at home where the prices are low and the footfall is lower. In Stockholm there’s 100 hipsters that have already crawled the thrift store you’re going to. Unfortunately, there’s no secret tip that will help you find clothes you love. Going to the charity shops as often as you would regular stores and going through every single thing in the shop is what’s worked for me the best! The more you shop secondhand the more open you’ll be to pieces
Do you have any tips for people looking to downsize their wardrobe and sell clothes on depop etc?
I would say not to fear apps like depop! It might seem like a lot of work to take photos and post parcels etc but actually besides clearing out some space and getting you some extra coin it’s great craic! I loved depopping in college especially because it made me feel like I had my own little business. In terms of clearing out your wardrobe I use a little trick to coax me out of hoarding. If I haven’t worn something in a couple of weeks or months I’ll put it in a big basket in my room, if I don’t go back to wear when it’s out of my sight it’s almost like I’ve already got rid of it, which makes coming to terms with saying goodbye a little easier. All a bit melo-dramatic but I really sympathize with the challenges of minimalism. When I moved to Stockholm I must have donated or sold half my wardrobe because I hadn’t reached for anything in my pile of unworn bits in months and months.

 

At Green Outlook we encourage people to review their wardrobe from an environmental perspective. What are your top 3 tips for becoming a sustainable fashionista?
  1. Don’t stress about going cold turkey. Allow yourself the space to dip your toe in sustainable fashion. It can be unrealistic to see it as a all-or-nothing commitment!
  2. Glamourise secondhand. Go on a thrifting date with your friends and make a day of it. Brunch, some mimosas and do some try-ons in the fitting room. Thrifting can be a fun hobby if you’re looking for a creative outlet!
  1. I always try to think of three different ways of wearing something before I buy it. Even if you’re only shopping new, just reducing your consumption to the pieces you deeply genuinely love is an amazing start. If it’s a dress you think you can only get away with wearing once, renting something for less than its price that’s worth much more.
Thanks so much to Verona for her time. 
We hope this interview will inspire you to look at your wardrobe as a means to climate action. You can read more Sustainable Living Tips on our blog and catch up on previous Q&A’s on topics including Veganuary and Gardening.
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