Saturday, 12 January 2019

5 Things I Learnt From My Year Of 'Nothing New'

It's been over a year since I made my 2018 resolution to avoid buying any of my clothes brand new. Instead I swapped, borrowed, made clothes and bought second hand. Here is what I learnt...

My Illustration Inspired by Stella Jean
1. The less you buy, the less you want

It has been strangely freeing not buying any clothes brand new, when I'd expected to find it restricting. It was harder at the start of the year when I was still bombarded by adverts but towards the end of the year, I found that I was less tempted by new collections. Because I knew I couldn't buy anything new, I was less and less inclined to make that first click.
Now I'm out of the habit of buying things on a regular basis, I don't feel like they are as necessary. This mindset has also affected how I shop in general, not just for clothes.

2. Think twice before purchasing

Even though I only shopped second hand, I made next to no impulse buys (it is hard not to when you go to Camden market for the first time).  When considering a purchase I apply the 'Buyerarchy of needs' created by illustrator Sarah Lazarovic - something you might have seen all over the sustainable side of Pinterest and Facebook...
Could I use what I have already, borrow, swap, or make it? If not, could I get it second hand?  Before making a purchase, I made sure it was something I truly loved.  Hopefully, as a result, I will ultimately end up with a wardrobe full of items that I love to wear and wear a lot and none of the impulse purchases which barely see the light of day and take up valuable wardrobe space.

3. It is (generally) more cost effective 

It sounds a bit obvious (of course if you buy less, you save more!) but second hand is generally much cheaper that brand new. Of course, this does depend on where you shop. Ebay and charity shops are the cheapest sources of second hand, but I understand that quite a lot of Vintage clothing is sometimes more expensive. You just have to shop around.

4. I have reconsidered what I own

I have learnt to work with what I already own and rethink about how I wear things. Being restricted to what you have makes you value each item more. I have worn neglected items which were hiding in the back of my wardrobe for years and have been surprised at how much I like them. This is positive, as the more you wear a piece of clothing, the lower its carbon footprint.
I have also been able to work out which clothes I'm not going to wear again and pass them on so they can get more use from someone else.

5. Ethical and sustainable brands are on the rise

Something which made things harder for me is the increase in brilliant, ethical/sustainable brands and the growth of existing ones. It was the ethical brands that I found myself wanting to shop from. Affordable ethical brands such as Lucy and Yak, Know The Origin and Mayamiko have brought out more and more lines which I love.
This is in part due to an increase in brand owners guided by ethical decision making and the growth in demand for ethical/sustainable products.  I find this extremely encouraging!

Plans for 2019?

So where do I go from here? I want to keep up the habit of choosing second hand instead of brand new.  I also intend to buy fewer,  more versatile and higher quality products, rather than lots of cheaper ones.
However, I will also add smaller, independent and ethical shops to the mix. I have discovered an abundance of brilliant brands this year - choosing to support these small, ethical brands will help influence high street retailers to adopt similarly ethical practices themselves, and will ultimately help to influence fashion's future.

Best wishes for the new year,

Beccy x

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