Some of you may recall that at the start of 2019 I pledged (pretty publicly) that I would not be buying any new clothes, shoes or accessories in 2019 (not even second hand) and six weeks in I’ve been reflecting a little about how that’s working out for me and this blog is a way for me to get my thoughts in order on the topic.
I want to point out before I get started that this site is a place where all opinions and thoughts are welcome and I understand at times that might lead to a confusing message. Much like a newspaper or magazine I want the site to present all viewpoints on a huge variety of topics so, though my posts contain my own opinions – don’t be surprised if you see posts from others that contradict them in the coming weeks, months or years. The last thing I want is for CheltenhamMaman to become my own personal soapbox!
So it’s safe to say that if I’d really struggled not buying anything in this six short weeks since January 1st I’d probably have a pretty serious shopping habit and I’m happy to say that no, I’ve not been fighting a terrible urge to hit the shops just yet. But I do think this is probably the longest stint I have ever gone (as an adult) without buying myself something new- so that’s a thing in itself!
Initially just the act of making the pledge felt like progress but last week I attended a ‘shop your own wardrobe’ event with MumBoss Sophie of My Stylish Friend as as well as leaving me with some brilliant takeaways for how to style up what you already own it really got my mind whirring on the whole problem of fast fashion. One of my big inspirations for doing this year is MumBoss Anna Firkins (of instagram account @wearwhatsthere) and she also attended the event with a few brilliant tips on how to gather information to make informed decisions when it comes to your shopping habits. Two of them I’ve already acted on and wanted to spread Anna’s message even further via this blog….
- If you do only one thing this year take an evening to watch the Netflix documentary ‘The True Cost’ . Now as with all of these documentaries it’s only reported on what it chooses to report on and I don’t doubt that there are a whole host of other issues that could be taken into account. The documentary labels the fashion industry as the second biggest cause of environmental damage (second to only the oil industry) and this accolade doesn’t even consider the human damage it reaps on it’s workers and the communities they live in. It will give you a great snapshot of the true cost of the fashion industry and hopefully just encourage you to take a mindful pause before buying items because they are unbelievably cheap in that mindset of ‘it doesn’t matter if I only wear it once’ (- as it turns out – it really does matter.)
- Download the app ‘Good On You‘ which rates most high street brands efforts to reduce their impact on the environment and supply chain labourers as ‘we avoid’, ‘it’s a start’, ‘good’ or ‘great’.
As with all issues of this magnitude and scale it can feel totally overwhelming knowing where to even begin to make a difference and the danger here is that you put your head in the sand and forget about it. But my limited research in these last few weeks has taught me that as consumers we hold the power and if we all start to question our own buying decisions and our need to accumulate stuff that we didn’t know we needed – we could start a real wave of change.
We don’t all need to stop shopping for a year – I’m doing that to break my habit not because I think it will solve the problem – we just need to buy the things that we really LOVE and that we really NEED – just download the app and shop from the right places for the right things – that’s all.
The other person who was instrumental in my noticing the issue last year was local MumBoss Raechel Kelly (who spoke at my Planet Friendly Parenting event in 2018.) Raechel posts some great content on Twitter and she retweeted this amazing thought from Anand Giridharadas
and even though it’s the most simple concept I have ever heard it made absolute, crystal clear sense to me! KonMari is not just for decluttering – it’s much bigger than that and could be the catalyst for the wave of change.
Quite possibly these are all mutterings from an ignorant fool but the thing about an issue this big is that the only thing you can do is talk about it. Raechel told me and I’m telling you. If you tell someone else and they spend six months thinking about it and then tell someone else well then maybe we haven’t done nothing after all.
Oh and also… I’m going racing on Ladies’ Day – therein lies my first no shopping challenge – anyone want to lend me a hat?
I’ll pop back in a couple of months with more ramblings on the matter. Thanks for reading this far.