Challenge Complete!

I’VE DONE IT!!!

12 whole months without purchasing a single item of clothing, a new pair shoes, handbags or jewellery! Wow! I never thought I’d be able to do it!

Obviously, the big temptation is to suddenly go crazy and go on a buying rampage, but I’ve managed to stay calm and collected. I will admit though that I did buy some new bras today (come on…a whole year without any new ones!)

I’ve begun compiling a list of brands which are ethical or are well on their way to being so, and this will be the list I go to for my clothes shopping from now on. A great Australian app called ‘Good on You‘ has been really helpful in offering ratings on a range of brands based on labour standards and effects on animals and the environment. Marks and Spencers are rated ‘Good’, as are Monkee Genes, however, Topshop, H&M and Primark are rated as ‘It’s a start.’ It is a developing app though, so don’t expect to find all of your favourite shops.

The Fashion Revolution, as mentioned in previous blog post, have published a fashion transparency index which review how much big fashion brands disclose about their social and environmental impact. Again, Marks and Spencer come out fairly well, as do Gap, Adidas and H&M. Whereas, Amazon, Monsoon, Urban Outfitters and Matalan, score very poorly.

So, it will be another challenge finding ethical stores in the UK (so you don’t have to spend loads of shipping costs), that are not really expensive.

Last week, I also wrote an article based on my experience this year which my mother-in-law has sent off to some Salvation Army publications (Salvation Army is my church), so hopefully my story will get to be shared with others, which is pretty exciting!

There it is! My last post for this blog. I may start another about ethical fashion…if I have enough time, that it! Thank you for everyone that has taken the time to follow and encourage me on this journey, it’s been fun!

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A Fashion Revolution

I’d just like to take a moment to talk about a global movement that is taking place called ‘Fashion Revolution‘. I first came across this organisation on Instagram after following others who are pursuing a buying habit of purchasing sustainable clothing. The movement looks to work with the fashion industry to cultivate a culture of consumers thinking more carefully about where and how their clothes are made.

On 24th-30th April is Fashion Revolution Week where people are encouraged to ask fashion brands, “Who made my clothes?” If you’d like to take part, the organisation provides a variety of ways to contact your favourite clothes brands about their chain of supply.

As one of my reasons for quitting clothes and accessories shopping for a year is because I don’t want to support an industry that relies on poorly paid workers to produce their products, the Fashion Revolution presents a good way for me to get involved in trying to make a difference. It’s all very well for me to make a personal choice about my purchasing habits, but unless I add my voice to others who have the same concerns, my choice will make little difference.whomade

Almost 9 months through…

It’s been a while since my last blog post and since then my crave of wanting to buy has definitely increased. As the season changes it is easy to get into the normal thought process of shedding those thick, woolly jumpers and wanting buy something new and fresh for the spring. I have had to avoid all email updates from Cath Kidston, and the like, to deny myself the chance of sighing over all the pretty clothes, shoes and bags coming out for the warmer months. I feel that I shouldn’t be so easily persuaded to buy because a new line has come out, but as the kids say, it’s FOMO*.

I’m still really proud of myself for sticking with this challenge. More often than not, I set myself a resolution or a new way of doing something and I fail within a week. I’m even quite surprised at myself for not coming up with a reason to abandon this challenge and revert back to old ways. There were times when I thought that I just seemed like I was being self-righteous when talking to people about it, or that maybe I was going about this challenge the wrong way, but I’ve been encouraged by others and it’s interesting to see an equal divide between people who respond to my challenge, “Wow, I couldn’t do that! A whole year?!” and “I think I could do that.” If you’re reading this and wondering if you can do a year without buying clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry, I want to say to you, “Yes you can.”

The main things to consider are:

  • Your wardrobe – how much do you own?
  • Do you have enough to keep you covered for every season?
  • How much would it affect your spending if you stopped buying clothes?
  • What do you want to get out of it: an appreciation of what you already have; to save money; to save the environment; to have a wardrobe detox?

I think my reasons for doing this challenge are a mixture of all the above. I do aim to buy more consciously when I complete it and I’ve learnt some tips about how to look after what I already have. It’s also quite humbling when you spend a year not buying new things. It puts into perspective the majority of our population who don’t have spare cash to treat themselves. I am in the top 5% of income earners in the UK. It shouldn’t be hard to give up clothes shopping for a year…right?

 

 

*fear of missing out

Over a month now!

Still resisting temptation to buy any new outfits, especially with a summer holiday fast approaching. Whoever heard of not buying a new swimming costume, or dress, or a new pair of flip-flops when you know you’re going abroad? Ludicrous, I know. But I am holding onto my challenge and remaining steadfast to the principles I set out for myself over the next year: I do not need anything new, love what you already have.

It’s been really enjoyable seeing how I can put together different outfits with the clothes I already own, it helps me to appreciate afresh the things I do have. I’ve rediscovered old pieces of jewellery and shoes I hadn’t worn in ages and remembered the stories behind them. One of my favourite necklaces is a jade butterfly with a golden chain which was passed onto  me when my great-grandma died. I wasn’t very old at the time, but it reminds me of the faint memory I have of her, how she was soft and had a beautiful smile.

See, this is the thing. If we’re constantly buying new things, for the sake of buying, for the sake of a bargain, for the sake of just having something new, what lasting stories are they creating? What are you looking forward to passing onto your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews and the story you’ll be able to to tell to go with it?

The things we buy/wear should say something about us, and not just about what colours, prints or designers we like, but how we value where the clothes come from and the stories of the people who helped to make them. How beloved is that dress your mum made you when you selected the fabric with her and she spent hours at the sewing machine putting it together for you? The same principle applies to the people you don’t know who made your favourite shoes, your favourite bag. Were they paid fairly? Were they overworked?

This is the next part of my challenge: to investigate the clothing brands which are providing fair wages and producing materials in an ethical way. Hopefully a lovely, sparkly list will be on it’s way soon!

It’s been 2 weeks…

Photo on 2016-06-11 at 14.42So, today I’m sporting a Jack Wills skirt that was a hand-me-down from my good friend Ashley and a Big Church Day Out t-shirt (did buy a matching one for my husband, but I don’t think he’ll dare to wear it on the same day as me!)

Apart from trying to get over the fact that I won’t be able to buy the gorgeous red shoes from Ulanka that I’d been wanting for months, my retail therapy needs are fairly low. I’m already trying to look through my wardrobe and finding new ways of loving old clothes.

The inspiration for this crazy venture came from reading an article that the lovely Anne Hathway had posted on social media: http://www.salon.com/2016/05/30/the_consequences_of_disposable_fashion_the_year_i_quit_shopping_to_help_the_environment/?source=newsletter

It speaks of: a generation of people who can spend endless amounts of money on clothes because a shirt can often ‘cost less than your breakfast’; that 1,800 litres of water is used to grow enough cotton to make a pair of jeans and; a million tons of clothes are thrown away every year.

If we are to be people who are serious about taking care of our planet we need to stop being compulsive consumerists, we need to stop buying into disposable fashion.

I know that I don’t know everything about this subject yet, but I hope that this will be an educational mission as well as a freeing one!