Tuesday, 2 January 2018

'Nothing New' Resolution - Can I Go A Whole Year Without Buying Any New Clothes?

2017 has been a very interesting year as I feel like I have discovered loads about the impact that the textiles industry is having on people and the world., something which hadn't really crossed my mind in 2016.

I went to the 'Fashion On The Ration' exhibition last year, at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester and I was fascinated by the radically different approach that the UK had towards the value of clothing in WW2 to today, where we dispose of our clothes on a regular basis instead of mending them or passing them on. I found a book at the museum shop called 'To Die For? Is Fashion Wearing Out Our World' which both shocked and worried me because of the many hidden issues behind the textiles industry. This book inspired me to do the Fashion Revolution 'Who Made My Clothes?' course, which made me realise that each item of clothing in my wardrobe has a story behind it (find out the stories I discovered behind my skirt here) and since, I have payed more attention to how I shop.

I don't normally make 'New Year Resolutions'.
It's difficult to think of something that you might have a chance of sticking to, but I often think of small things that I could change instead and I have started to wonder if this is something I could manage: could I go a whole year, not buying myself any new clothes?

Even though I have already managed to cut down on the amount of new clothes I buy, I think I would still find it quite hard. It would only be brand-new clothes that I would try not to buy, but I could still buy 'new-to-me' clothes - such as second-hand or vintage clothes, which I do frequently anyway (probably about 60% of my wardrobe is made up of second-hand or vintage).

What's the point?

Shopping second-hand is often cheaper - you can get quality clothes for a fraction of the store price. It is also very easy to impulse buy new clothes, as the sites have everything laid out for you. Shopping second-hand can be slower, and even if this sounds like a disadvantage, it means you can take a more considered approach to finding what you want.
I will also try to rediscover the clothes that I already own and make more use out of them.

The impact of the clothing industry is huge - in fact it's the second biggest polluting industry in the world after oil. My goal isn't to boycott the clothing industry but I want to try to make the most of what I already have. By doing this and extending the average life (2.2 years) of a piece of my clothing by at least three months of wear, it would lead to a 5-10% reduction of the carbon, waste and water footprints for each piece.

Clothing waste is also a huge problem. In Fashion Revolution's second magazine, on the topic of waste, I learnt that only a shocking 20% of textiles is recycled globally, meaning the other 80% is lost to incineration or landfill!
Even before our clothes reach the shops, about 60 billion m2 of textiles annually, becomes cutting room floor waste.

I will post updates on how I get on and if I manage to stick to this resolution! Look out for my next post on alternatives to buying brand new. 

Whatever your plans are for this year, I hope you have a really great 2018.

                                                                              Beccy x
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