Fashion Revolution Scotland: Students embrace the Second Hand Haulternative

By Ruth MacGilp

7 months ago

Student ambassadors at Glasgow Clyde College kicked off the school year by putting a twist on the Fashion Revolution ‘haulternative’. Taking students on guided walking tours across different ‘shopping routes’, GCC’s Sustainability Collective is fighting fast fashion by celebrating sustainable style in their local neighbourhood.

What’s a ‘haulternative’?

A ‘haulternative’ is a sustainable take on the traditional shopping spree or fashion haul, showcasing the power of refreshing your wardrobe with exciting new clothes, without actually buying anything ‘new’. Haulternatives are not just for influencers making Youtube ‘haul’ videos though. Anyone who loves clothes, but doesn’t want them to have a negative impact on people or the planet, can get involved by shopping from vintage stores, charity shops, clothes swaps and resale sites, and then showing off their favourite finds both on and offline.

Why second hand?

According to WRAP, more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing is thrown away in the UK every year! Opting for second-hand extends the life of clothes, save some of these perfectly wearable garments from sitting in a landfill for decades – if not centuries, not to mention it bypasses the vast amount of resources used and carbon emissions produced to create new clothing altogether.

Plus, thrift shopping can be so much more fun (not to mention much more affordable for students!) than the traditional high street. “It’s more of a treasure hunt, not just straight off the mannequin. In a group, there’s a real sense of community; it’s a fun day out for people”, Cara Roxburgh, one of Glasgow Clyde’s student ambassadors tells me.

The Glasgow Haulternative

Over the past month, the collective have hosted Haulternative guided routes in Glasgow, one covering Queen’s Park and Victoria Road, and the other covering Kelvinbridge and Hillhead – areas where the city’s shoppers are spoilt for choice with second hand shopping! After two successful shopping days with diverse groups of students, they are now planning a third event across central Glasgow and the Barras.

The idea for this ‘alternative haulternative’ came about after Cara attended a talk by Fashion Revolution Scotland’s country coordinator Niki Taylor, which prompted her to apply to be a student ambassador. It turned out that 2 other students from the fashion and textiles courses were also interested, so they decided to form a group with other classmates so they could grow the movement across the whole college.

Fashion is an accessible starting point for the wider conversation about sustainability, because everybody wears clothes!” Cara says.

“We decided to promote Fashion Revolution at the Freshers Fayre by handing out flyers that helped people take action as individuals, so we thought it was a good idea to promote charity shops and small local businesses in Glasgow that people coming to the college for the first time could connect with in their local neighbourhoods”

From designing a nifty little map of the best local shopping spots, the team took it a step further to make sustainable fashion accessible for new students.

“After creating the map, we wanted to create an event to engage people with the different business on it, so we took Fashion Revolution’s concept of the ‘haulternative’ and turned it into a group activity”.

“I would love for the routes to become well-known so that people can go independently too, a permanent ‘route’ that lists all the best ethical shops in glasgow as a go-to-resource. It would be great to have more independent boutiques with locally made clothes taking part too.”

Top tips for hosting your own haulternative event

At the college, Cara and her collective of ethical fashionistas say that there’s a level of cognitive dissonance amongst students, who tell them: ‘I know that I should care but I just don’t’. That’s why starting the conversation in a fun, positive way is a great way to reach people who feel outside of the sustainable fashion bubble.  “Second hand shopping is an access point” Cara says; her aim is to engage with as many people as possible across the student body through these types of events. Here are some of the things her team has learnt through their haulternatives, so that you can host one in your own local area too.

  • ‘Crowdsource the best charity shops, vintage stores and independent boutiques from friends, family and classmates – sometimes there are hidden gems that you’ve never come across before.
  • Print some posters and ask the shops on your route to put them up in their window – this helps recognise shops that are taking part.
  • Keep the group fairly small – between 5-15 is ideal so everyone can stay together as you move between each shop.
  • Don’t be too ambitious with the length of your route – keep it condensed so everything is within easy walking distance, aiming for about 10 different shops to keep the momentum up.


You can follow the Glasgow Clyde College student ambassadors on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with upcoming events and campaigns, or get in touch with the Sustainability Collective to join their student group!

Find out more about becoming a Fashion Revolution student ambassador at your university or college here.