#Month 6: Quitting fast fashion - a 12 month challenge
Oh what a difficult month to quit fast fashion! Just as I thought I was cured, I am faced with Christmas shopping, vouchers, sales, themed parties and spare time. There were so many opportunities to buy new clothes and I very nearly did on a few occasions. I ordered new dresses from ASOS for a themed party but they were returned and I wore an old dress and realised I never needed to go through the wasteful process of searching for a new one and paying over £100 for something so unnecessary.
I have made it through Christmas - ding dong merrily on high! Now I am past the half way mark I am already wondering what might happen when the self-imposed ban is lifted. I have been exploring ethical clothing and interior brands and tapping into networks that recycle clothes through large scale clothes swaps, charities and markets. These will all become a permanent addition to my life. and I will forever be a much more conscious consumer.
I have heard a few people make the point that it is more expensive to buy ethically. Paying fair wages does often cost more than high street but I would argue these three points:
1. They are fair wages meaning that the price of the object covers the cost of the materials, time of the individuals involved in making them and the logistics around getting it from the origin to you. If you pay any less that that, ask yourself where the money is being shaved off and whether you think it's fair. Buying ethical products is more expensive than buying mass produced products but the prices aren't inflated...which brings me to my second point...
2. Have you ever questioned your sister/mother/friend/colleague as they proudly showed you their new handbag they just spent £700 on? Did you ask them whether they really need it? Did you ask them how they justified it? Hats off to you if you did and I bet the answers were along the lines of "I can choose where I spend my own money", "it makes me feel good and I will use it everyday", "I just think its beautiful". Okay fine, but hang on a minute, can you really justify a HANDBAG that costs more than a return trip to Cuba? No you can't.
3. It might be a blessing in disguise that paying a little more than you usually would for something forces you to ask whether you really need it or not. Do you stop to think so much when you see a pair of shoes in New Look for £10?
We all have so much STUFF and there are numerous studies that explain how having a lot of stuff can lead to heightened feelings of stress and anxiety over the clutter. I have a fairly cluttered room and often feel frustrated when I can't find things, especially in the mornings when I am already late for work! I also have a dark and dirty secret - I pay for a storage box in a warehouse 10 minutes down the road to hold all the stuff I don't use regularly. It was meant as a temporary fix while moving house a few years ago but I never found the space to take it out and have continued paying (extortionate) money for it ever since. I have given myself the deadline of March to close it down and either re-incorporate the things into my life or give them away to someone who needs them more than I do. This madness must end.