Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Artist Profile: Second Hand Nature

How this UMass clothing business has been contributing to a decrease in carbon footprint, supporting local shopping and empowering consumers
Olivia Wynott

The University of Massachusetts is home to so many creative individuals who express their artistic capabilities through music, fashion, dance and artwork. One of these people is Olivia Whynott, creator of Second Hand Nature. Since the summer of 2023, Whynott has been creating and repurposing second-hand clothing and accessories, turning them into vibrant pieces filled with stars, hearts and fish.

“At first, I started it for just my own benefit for creating something that I would like to wear. And then I took it to the broader scale, because it was just fun to make. And also, it’s something that I’m passionate about,” Whynott said. “I do a lot of lobbying and environmental advocacy. And it’s so impactful and meaningful. But you can put a lot of energy into it too. It can get kind of nitty-gritty, you know what I mean? Working with policymakers can be a lot sometimes. And so this is sort of something that’s very fun and exciting, and people want to do it. It does create a big impact, like I can actually calculate the impacts that it has made, which is really cool.”

The mission of Second Hand Nature is to decrease the carbon footprint, support local shopping and empower consumers. The eco-friendly business has been a great segway for Whynott to discuss and educate others on the negative impacts of fast fashion and purchasing first-hand clothing. Whynott typically looks for plain T-shirts and name-brand jeans, which usually is not the case for other thrift vendors, who usually lookout for items that are unique, colorful and fashionable.

“I have Speedball block printing ink and linoleum blocks that I carve, like with the designs on them. And then I actually use a bucket as my thing that I roll on a flat surface because I don’t have a piece of glass up from my bed,” Whynott said. “I guess some of my ideas come from ‘doom-scrolling’ on Pinterest. That kind of thing. And seeing what people are wearing. And also seeing what people buy the most of at the Farmer’s Markets to kind of gauge what my direction should be.”

Whynott collects the clothes she creates for Second Hand Nature from thrift stores like The Salvation Army and Goodwill and accepts donations from friends and family, making sure she is can collect sizes for bodies of all shapes and sizes.

“I’ve been trying to be more mindful recently to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to have something that they like and have something that makes them feel beautiful. I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Whynott said. “Someone came up to me and was like, I’m so happy that you have my size.”

The UMass Farmer’s Market has been one of the most successful and favorite spots for Second Hand Nature. Whynott has also been bringing her clothing business to music festivals like MojoFest and Let’s Be Friends Winter Fest and to various UMass Students for Sustainable Fashion & Art pop-up events. Whynott shows no plans of slowing down her practices of sustainability and wants to continue spreading the message of environmentalism to the UMass community.

“It’s sort of this having this network of support and you can have that with so many people and it’s kind of just a great way to really get into the campus atmosphere and make a lot of long-lasting and meaningful connections,” Whynott said. “It’s just been such a great way to grow with my community and get to spend time with people. So just a big thank you to all of them.

Upcoming events for Second Hand Nature are the UMass Amherst Farmer’s Market on April 26, May 3 and May 10 on the Goodell Lawn from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. She also will be at Marsh Arts House on April 25 at 7 p.m. with bands including Bugslam, Mechanical Canine and Imp Say Glyph.

Second Hand Nature can be followed on Instagram @second_hand_nature_.

Paige Hanson can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X @Paige_Hanson1.

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