On far too many occasions over the past few years, I have uttered the sentence ‘Human beings are just THE WORST.’
Whether that’s been triggered by the news that another animal has been hunted and exploited to extinction, the disgusting levels of plastic within our oceans and rivers or the exploitation of millions of people so that those on the other side of the world can look totally #ontrend in their latest instagram post.
In no way am I saying I have never been guilty of taking part or contributing to any of these things at some point in my life, whether I knew it or not – but over the past few years I have been trying to think more carefully about how I can stop.
In a previous post I spoke about how I wanted to save money by simply wearing clothes I already owned and not running out to buy something every time I have an event coming up. Since that time, I have started to look at clothes in a different way and consider whether I really need the jumper/dress/top I’m clutching in my hand. Things have moved on from considering how much money I can save and being able to cover the outgoings for a flat in Edinburgh with exorbitant rental rates.
I have been slowly scratching away at the surface of the fast fashion industry and it’s a case of once you see it – you cannot unsee it. Reading stories like the collapse of the Rana Plaza, an eight story factory building where 1,134 people died while making cheap clothes, is just part of the horrific reality our endless consumption of fashion has created. Despite multiple warnings from garment workers concerning structural cracks, bosses chose to ignore it all and told workers to continue their jobs as normal and after the building eventually gave way, over 1,000 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured.
That’s just one story, there are many more like it. Like I say, scratch a little at the surface and you won’t believe what you find.
Having seen and read quite a lot about this topic and shared some of this learning process with my best friend Lauren, we decided to do something about it. We both love clothes, her being infinitely more on trend than me, who ranges from an occasional hippy, classic country gal to a vintage t-shirt collector. I’ve enjoyed many a shopping splurge in my time – a lot of clothes for a relatively small amount of money. Most of it won’t last 6 months let alone a year and I’ll definitely have bought more through out that time. I’ve looked at pictures of people I know online and I’ve felt the intense pressure to buy more, to get pictures taken in those new items and wait for people to award me with a nod of approval for this specific way I have decided to present myself.
I’ve had enough.
I want people to judge me for my actions, how I treat people, my great and sometimes not so great impressions. And more importantly by my roast tatties.
I will openly admit I choose to stay ignorant to lots of the world’s problems we are faced with. Between Brexit, global warming, terrorism, Trump as President of the ‘greatest country in the world’, it can be hard to know where to start and how to make a difference!
This attitude of choosing to bury my head in the proverbial sand pit however, had to come to an end at some point and that time is now.
Steph and I stumbled across the ‘True Cost’ documentary on Netflix and it really struck a chord with me. I am the exact demographic that has led to this atrocious and toxic supply chain. It is no longer acceptable for me to continue to shop at ‘fast fashion’ stores which use factories where workers are subjected to awful working conditions, just so I can have a cheap outfit which has been dictated to be ‘fashionable’ that week. Nor can I sit by and let the environment be polluted due to excessive garment production and ultimate dumping of waste in countries far afield because it is no longer ‘on trend’.
The only way that these companies will change is if their customers demand it and vote with their feet. I hope that even my changing my shopping habits for this year I can make a difference and get others on board.
From the 4th of February 2019 until the 4th of February 2020 – both Lauren and I will not purchase any NEW clothes.
- We can borrow items from friends, family and whoever wants to give us them!
- We can buy things from charity/second hand shops when we need to although we won’t let this become a mere replacement with a high volume of purchases.
- When it comes to things like pants and tights – we will buy these from clothing companies that we believe are sustainable and have ethical working conditions through out their supply chain.
- We will not accept new clothes as gifts.
- If you wish to donate used clothes and this requires sending them via post – you can choose to have us pay for the postage and packaging OR we will make a donation to our chosen charity in your name.
- We won’t pretend that there isn’t a chance we will mess up on this and if we do, we will be honest and own up to it.
This news won’t shake the fast fashion industry to the core and brands won’t hold emergency meetings because our shopping sprees have suddenly halted. We also don’t claim to be experts in any way on this topic and there are lots of people who are doing a whole lot more to take action against the poisonous side of the fashion industry. If you have ideas, thoughts, ways you think would help us to complete our challenge then we absolutely want to hear them!
Hopefully in one way or another we can make some kind of difference and learn how to be more responsible and thoughtful consumers.
No one should have to suffer for your fashion.