So we’re at the start of a new year, most of us have good intentions on how we’re going to make this year the ‘best‘ yet! I’ve learnt from past experiences though – giving yourself too much to ‘work on’ tends to disappoint. So this year we’re keeping it simple, well kind of!
For 2015 my husband and I have made a pact not to buy anything new! Now this might seem a little confusing/insane to some, when I say ‘nothing new’, I don’t mean not buying ‘anything’, I just mean brand new fresh out the box items.
Firstly there has to be some rules, yes we can buy food (obviously), underwear, toiletries, and so forth. But any clothes, shoes, toys, books, household furniture, bed sheets, towels – you get the picture – we will buy secondhand from places like Ebay, Gumtree, Garage sales, Charity shops, and ‘Buy Sell Swap’ on Facebook, or we’ll get them for free from Freecycle.
There are a few reasons for our decision, and not all are about being eco. We want to save money for a house but with prices just going up and up here in Australia, we need to look at every way possible to help us create our dream, so that means looking at the bigger picture.
Another MASSIVE reason is the environmental and ethical impact new products have on the planet, and the people who make them. Yes, just us not buying new for a year (maybe longer) will only make a slight fraction of an impact, but more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental and ethical side of consumption – This can have a domino affect, and we’re hoping to start one off ourselves.
The worlds clothing and textile industry is massive and in 2010 it reached almost $2,560 Trillion!!! Just to put 1 Trillion into perspective – to spend $1 Trillion in a lifetime, you’d have to spend $20 Billion a DAY!
Human and animal cruelty has played a part in the fashion industry warehouses – people are paid very badly in most cases, and work incredibly long hours. The toxic chemicals used to spray crops like cotton, or the dyes used in the factories are causing wide-spread health problems. Animals are treated in a disgraceful way, and these are not just for the obvious items like Fur coats, but for leather shoes, belts etc.
‘Fast fashion’ this is your regular high street brand, low-cost clothing that is designed to fall apart – It literally is! Each season different trends are brought out that make us feel like this is what we should be wearing. We are drowning in the advertisement of beautiful woman and men selling a life that just isn’t realistic or true. But we buy it!
I’ve never been someone who has followed trends as such, and I’ve had some questionable styles in my time. When I was younger I’d trawl through charity shops to find something a bit different, I’d swap clothes with friends, and sometimes i’d even attempt to make my own – this mostly ended up with a serious wardrobe malfunction mid night out, but I wanted to look different. In reality not many people are unique with their style, but I thought I was back then. As I’ve grown up I’ve still kept my alternative way of dressing, just slightly toned down.
I was a strange mix of Gwen Stefani and Tank girl in the 90’s!
‘Slow fashion‘ is the way forward I think if you’re going to buy new clothes. It looks at the bigger picture, designers work with the families who make the clothes, they’re very much looked after and paid a decent wage. It’s a fantastic ethical way to build relationships within the fashion industry, it’s not a ‘them and us’ mentality but a Community.
The Slow fashion community is a growing one, and I was lucky enough to review some clothes from a fantastic label Nacido and I also did an interview with the designers/founders of the label. (Click through here – Nacido, Interview). Here are some other beautiful Slow fashion brands – a.d.o, Dobbin, Patagonia, Melissa, High tea with Mrs Woo, People Tree.
SO our years challenge has been set for ourselves and we’re really excited, sure we’ll come up against tricky situations, but we have to remember the bigger picture (as I keep telling myself!!), and why we are doing it. Having this goal in our lives has already stopped us buying a few things that weren’t really needed!
I’ve read up for a while about ‘not buying new’, it’s been fascinating following people on social media and watching their journey. I’ve been following Katie from Sustainability in Style for a while now, her passion and drive to live this way of life has been very inspiring to me.
I’ve also been following Hattie from Free our Kids, a UK mum who’s been bringing up her 2 year old son for free for a year!
A great website I’ve been checking out lately is Buy Nothing New, they have some great advice on there.
I’ll be writing posts about our progress throughout the year so keep an eye out.