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Rory O'Neill and his wardrobe
  • 2 mins read time
  • Published: 24th August 2023
  • Blog by Melissa Cooke

Second Hand september:  hang on to your clothes!

Rory O’Neill aka Panti, notes that he has become much more environmentally conscious over the years when it comes to buying clothes.


He encourages people to keep their clothes. Fashion is like a carousel. While trends come and go by the month, they usually always come back around.
Extending the life of your clothes helps the environment and your pocket!

“If you hang onto things as long as I have, things come back into fashion
and things that you wouldn’t have thought about wearing 10 years ago, they
come back around. I have a lot of houndstooth check because every 10
years or so houndstooth becomes super hot again. So just hang on to them.
Handbags are another great one– handbags last forever,”
— Rory O'Neill

If you’re going to keep your clothes for longer, then you obviously need to take care of them so that they will last. Washing clothes too often can impact the quality of the garment, so Rory has a secret tip to share.

Rory O'Neill aka Panti
"Most of my things are handmade because I am not a particular regular lady shape that I can buy off the rack and I don’t like to wash them any more than I have to, because that really does shorten their lifespan. So like all good drag queens and theatre professionals, I have a bottle filled with vodka and some essential oils which I spray onto all of my outfits after I take them off!"
Rory O'Neill and his green sequins dress

Clothes can also hold powerful memories. Rory reflects on a green sequin dress that he has kept, as he wore it on stage at the 3Arena with U2 in 2015.

Rory sees the dress as a powerful representation of how much Ireland, and his place within it, has changed since he started doing drag at 19 years old.

“At that time a big popular rock band would never have invited a drag queen up onto the stage at their homecoming gig. So, to think that in 2015 U2 were happy to invite me up on stage in the 3Arena in front of all their fans, who would represent a sort of mainstream audience in Ireland, that does say a lot about how Ireland has changed and that dress therefore to me sort of represents that change,” he concludes.

Rory is echoing our call to "Dress for the world you want" by supporting Second Hand September. The campaign champions sustainable and pre- loved fashion, with clothes that don’t cost the earth and make a statement about who we are and the world we want- a just and sustainable one.