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New thrifting trend fights fast fashion




By Ellen McSweeney and Méabh O'Sullivan Darcy

Transition Year Journalism

Thrifting is the surprising new trend of today - with vintage clothing coming back in style as young people want to recreate the iconic looks of the '70s, '80s and '90s.

The second-hand fashion market has taken young people by storm and is projected to reach €67 billion by 2025, up from €31 billion in 2021 and is growing at a staggering 11 times the rate of the broader retail clothing sector.

The biggest benefit of this trend is how it challenges the fast fashion industry. Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. These industries produce billions of garments a year and it is estimated that a bin lorry of textiles is wasted every second. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. That is why it has such a significant impact on carbon emissions and an overall damage to the environment - not to mention the disgraceful conditions the workers in the factories endure as they are severely underpaid and abused.

Second-hand fashion gives used clothes a new life rather than being discarded to the rubbish. This eco-friendly aspect to the trend is a huge contributor to the popularity of thrifting in recent years. People are becoming more aware of the problem of fast fashion and its negative impact on the environment and want to take a stand and make a change for a better, more eco-friendly world.

One such shop in Killarney is ‘Hazels Nuts About Vintage' on Plunkett Street.

“I set up the shop because I was looking for different fashion myself and I couldn’t find any," Hazel O'Malley explained.

"I went up to Dublin 10 years ago and I started to see vintage shops and second-hand shops. There was just so many clothes out there and people are just wearing them a few times and they are just being thrown away even though they are good quality and I wanted to give them a second life. The clothes that you would get in earlier years were much better quality then clothes you would get now. They will last and you can wear them over and over again," she said.


"I think thrifting has become so popular now because people are interested in the planet and people know that the consumerism that took over in the past few years just isn't sustainable. People want to give clothes a new life. And I suppose people want different stuff, they don’t want to look the same as everyone and they want something new. When you go into a second hand or a vintage shop you don’t know what you're going to get and there's an element of surprise and there's only one of everything while if you go into a big retail shop you can see everything and you know what's in there. In a vintage shop you might find something you didn’t expect and didn’t even know you wanted.”

Hazel said she thinks there is a place for fast fashion because we still need new clothes.

"I think the companies that are making the clothes are going to have to improve their workers' rights as it's a huge problem. People must be suffering on the other side because you can't make clothes that cheap and bring them here so quickly. And the pollution of all that is because they only make clothes that will last a short time and if they can make the clothes that will last longer and pay their workers a proper wage. A lot of places wrap things in plastic bags.”



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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