Sustainability is at the forefront of fashion right now. With people becoming more aware of the fast fashion industry and trying to cut down their consumption, choosing pieces that they know will last them at least 30 wears and saving some big bucks along the way, second hand shopping is the place to be.
The idea of popping into a charity shop for a browse or on the hunt for your next outfit for a cool Insta pic can seem daunting, it’s hard to imagine you’ll find something you actually like among the mounds of random clothes on shelves. Someone who has taken this challenge and knocked it out of the park is Verona Farrell aka Secondhandhuns on Instagram and TikTok.
You would not know by looking at her that most, if not all of her outfits are second hand. With 14k followers on Instagram and 10.6k followers on TikTok she’s making a name for herself as a second hand fashion social media star and we are here for the content!
We caught up with Verona, who is Irish but currently working as a fashion intern in Copenhagen, to chat about all things second hand fashion, starting a blog and the must-have tips we need to achieve her chic-but-thrifted street style look.
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When did you start becoming conscious of where you bought your clothes?
“I have to say that I started thrifting out of stinginess as opposed to any moral or environmental reasons. But as my secondhand wardrobe grew more and more and I began to drift away from fast fashion, I started to realise how liberating it was to explore fashion in a way that wasn’t driven just by really quickly changing trends…Nothing gives me a bigger kick than finding something in the charity shop that I know would be super expensive or even impossible to find on the high street. On my last trip to Budapest, I found the perfect pair of vintage Levi 501’s for two quid and I don’t think I’d ever get the same feeling buying something in a regular shop!”
When did you decide to start Secondhandhuns?
“I started my page during my first year abroad in Sweden. My dad had just taught me how to use a sewing machine and I was altering anything I could get my hands on. I had tonnes of pictures of what I had up-cycled but nowhere to show them off so I decided to make a page dedicated to my alterations and all the incredible stuff I was finding in the charity shops. Since starting my internship in Copenhagen, I began the Street Style series and have turned the page into (what I hope) is a good place for sustainable fashion inspiration in general!
“I think it’s always easier to start a blog when it’s dedicated to a certain topic as opposed to it just being an ‘influencer’ page. I think because the page had that, I never really got much slagging for setting it up. It also helped that I was abroad at the time and was surrounded by loads of new people which gave me the space to be a bit braver about the whole thing.
“One practical piece of advice [for someone who wants to start a blog page] would be to share some posts before you start sharing it or looking for followers, to give people a good idea of what it’s all about. This will also give you a bit of time to figure out the aesthetic of the page and how to best translate the message you’re trying to get across. ‘Being yourself’ is a phrase I always find a bit fluffy, but to me it means not adopting a kind of ‘influencer personality’ on the gram, I think chatting on your story as if you’re sending a snapchat to one of your friends is the best approach.”
@secondhandhunsDare I say I nailed it? ##upcycle##transformation##beforeandafter##sewing##dressmaking##sustainablefashion##secondhand##tailoring##irish##DIY♬ SZAS VERSE KISS ME MORE – ✨ SZA FANPAGE ✨
Your outfits never look ‘second hand’ do you have any staple items people should look out for in charity shops to get this put-together but thrifted look?
“To be honest I buy most of my basics new and I think balancing that with my secondhand stuff can really pull an outfit together. Usually I buy my jeans and t-shirts new, and then things like shirts, bags and jumpers I usually buy secondhand. In the past I have found some killer secondhand jeans but I feel like the very straight, wide leg jeans that are ‘in’ right now are super hard to find as they haven’t really been the fashion before.
“My best tip [for someone trying to be more sustainable] is to try to kick the habit of browsing online at the big fast-fashion websites! Going to the charity shops is a great way to get the same endorphin boost but escape the never-ending trend trap we can’t help but fall into. Go as often as you can. Sometimes I go into a charity shops and find nothing at all and then other times I’ll come out with a whole outfit for less than a tenner. Thrifting is definitely a ‘right place, right time’ kind of gig, so I would tell people not to be disheartened if they don’t find anything their first few times.”
It can seem like second hand shops in other countries are way more fashionable than ours, do you think it’s doable in Ireland?
“Ireland is absolutely fantastic for shopping secondhand. I think people see others abroad on social media flaunting their thrift hauls and start to think it can’t be done in Ireland but there is loads of gems just as gorgeous to be found in our local Vincent de Pauls and NCBI’s. Thrifting is always about hunting through a lot of crap to find something amazing and this is the case in every country!”
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Your street style series is fab, what is it about someone’s outfit that makes you want to stop them for a pic?
“I love how brave people are with colour in Copenhagen so I’m usually attracted by outfits that show that. Another thing I look out for is vintage style, having spent so long shopping secondhand I can usually spot someone who knows their way around a thrift shop. It also helps that I work in a really fashionable neighbourhood called Vesterbro, and so many of the people in the streets either work in fashion or with something creative, which always makes for a great outfit and a great story.
“As a general rule I try to keep diversity in mind, so I’m always looking out for people of different genders, ages and race. It’s always easiest to approach girls my own age, you can imagine waltzing up to a big group of guys or even an older couple definitely takes a bit more confidence but it’s definitely worth it to make my series more inclusive and interesting for followers.”
@secondhandhunsStreet Style Stories TWICE A DAMN WEEK on my insta ✨✨✨✨✨ ##streetstyle##streetfashion##outfitinspiration##copenhagen##style##scandinavianstyle♬ I Like Him – Princess Nokia
You’re doing a fashion internship at the moment, what do you see yourself doing in the future?
“My internship in fashion has taught me a lot about where I want to go in the industry. Having essentially no experience in fashion before my current position, I really hadn’t a clue what area I would be best suited to. Right now I’m focusing my applications on fashion buying and also some social media roles. My absolute dream position is in a style magazine, which I think would be a great place to explore my love for fashion journalism and photography!”
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With those tips in mind, we are ready to raid our local charity stores for the perfect oversized shirt or micro bag (maybe even a lucky pair of 501’s).