As a little experiment, I wanted to make 2013 a year where I went without buying any new clothes. I’ve got bags & bags of them hoarded at the bottom of my cupboard, underneath the bed that I haven’t worn in ages,… some of them probably don’t fit any more but I still have fond memories of where & when I wore a certain garment & would be sad to say ‘Goodbye’ to them. I’d also been given some gift vouchers for X’mas, went on a massive splurge & felt I was suitably equipped to last a year now that I had enough new things.
Like any canny shopper, I like bargains but the terrible working conditions in garment factories in less developed countries had me thinking about my relationship with clothes & ‘fashion’. Besides food, it’s the one thing that we are constantly encouraged to indulge in. ‘New Looks’, this season’s ‘must-have’, the latest ‘in vogue’ stuff we see in photos, celebs on red-carpets and ‘What They Wore’. It’s a multi-billion pound industry & it pains me to hear that people (& children no less) are being exploited for this obsession we have – the cheap shirt on my back suddenly feels like a raiment of shame. The call to boycott certain shops to me just means it’ll have an impact on the livelihoods of workers yet Gandhi’s quote; “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness” struck a cord. It’s a thorny issue & it would take co-operation from corporations, local government & workers’ unions to overhaul the industry. In any case, I thought it’d be a fab challenge to see if I could ‘abstain’ in a spirit of mindfulness for a whole year.
The experiment was going well – I was wearing stuff from my extensive wardrobe & I managed to resist popping into shops for a ‘browse’ until one day in June; I cycled to work & found that I’d left my change of clothes at home. Rather than stay in my sweaty clothes, I went & bought a cheap dress from a well-known high street shop…. I felt dreadful that I’d ‘failed’ after such a great start….
I decided 2014 was the year to give it another go & maybe it’d also create the impetus to make myself more garments. It’s been quite satisfying so far & I’ve had great fun going through my stash & shopping for fabrics.
After a few disasters, my pattern-reading & sewing skills have also improved. The time it takes & the amount of detail that goes into making something means I cherish my creations 10-fold. (I also found out on Instagram that the Me-Made-May challenge is on which is just what I need for inspiration when I’m half-way though my little experiment)