STUDENTS from three Oxford schools have breathed new life into old clothes at the Natural History Museum, modelling second-hand outfits among the exhibits.

On the same day as Oxford’s COP26 climate march, the 18 pupils from the Cherwell School, Oxford High School and St Clare’s started the morning with 20 bags of second-hand clothes borrowed from Summertown’s Oxfam store.

They spent the morning upcycling and creating new outfits, before heading to the Natural History Museum for their photo shoot.

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By showcasing sustainable fashion in this historic setting, the students wanted to highlight the huge impact of fast fashion on the climate and environment - and the thrills of buying second-hand instead. Their hope is that others will join them.

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The students are passionate about fashion, and the benefits of second-hand fashion.

One said: “Self-expression is so important – and second hand fashion is awesome. Clothes last for so long. If you take care of them, they can last forever.”

And they see sustainable fashion as a positive way of having an impact.

Another student added “It’s cheaper, more sustainable, and better for the world. It’s exciting. So much more fun than just going to shopping centres.”

The students have been guided and supported by sustainability educator Kim Polgreen, their teachers, local charity Low Carbon Oxford North, staff at Oxfam, and Oxford University’s Natural History Museum.

Rebecca Nestor, Chair of local charity Low Carbon Oxford North: “Fashion has a huge impact on the climate – some estimates suggest it accounts for up to 8% of global carbon emissions.

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“This is an area where we can all take action and make a difference – both in reducing our personal carbon footprints and in sending a message to the fashion industry that it needs to change.

Oxford Mail:

“These teenagers have shown us that doing something positive for the planet can also be great fun.”

Low Carbon Oxford North (LCON) is a charity set up by local residents to support ambitious CO2 cuts through local action.

It works with the community, offering practical ideas, information and activities, to help address the climate crisis, as well as collaborating with other groups and engaging with city and county councils, to influence climate action across Oxford.

LCON has compiled a range of information and resources on sustainable fashion at

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Kim Polgreen is an Oxford-based freelance sustainability educator, running events for young people. She is Youth Educator in Residence at Wytham Woods, Oxford University’s research woodland.