Contributor: Maria Evans
Hello. My name is Maria and I am a charity shop addict.
No New Clothes in 2018
2018 was to be a big year for me. I left my career in teaching, a job that I had been doing for 13 years. In January I started my training to be a Social Media Manager. Whilst this was all really exciting stuff, I wanted to do something else too. So I decided to buy no new clothes this year and say ‘no’ to fast fashion. This started as a money saving exercise; I would only allow myself to buy second hand from either charity or vintage shops. But also I was finding myself getting lost down the rabbit hole of social media, following great fashion accounts showing the latest high street fashion trends. They were starting to make me feel, well, miserable.
I decided to pull myself together and fall in love with my wardrobe again, to stop whining about stuff that really doesn’t matter. So to prove to myself that I have enough, I set myself the challenge to wear as many different combinations of my existing wardrobe, with the odd second hand item thrown in to keep things interesting. I have always been a fan of the local charity shop and never fail to find really cool clothes there!
Saying ‘No’ to Fast Fashion
There was another side to my challenge. This was the aspect that motivated me more than saving money.
I decided to read more about the devastating effects of the fast fashion industry on the factory workers and their families. I’ve learnt about the damage it’s doing to our planet.
Joining The Fashion Revolution
The week beginning 23rd April 2018 was Fashion Revolution Week. It marked the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse where 1,138 people died and another 2,500 people were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. Most of the victims were young women.
The Fashion Revolution is a global movement that aims to change the way the fast fashion industry works, to improve the working conditions and pay of these factory workers who make these clothes. This year I got involved on my platforms and connected with so many other fashion bloggers and makers that were doing amazing things to call out these fast fashion powerhouses for more transparency in their supply chain, to save our clothes from landfill, and to celebrate the amazing items that can be found in the local charity shop.
How did it go?
Now that the year is coming to an end, it’s interesting to reflect on how it has been. What started out as a money saving exercise has turned into so much more than that!
Here are some musings on what I learnt doing this challenge;
- I have learnt so much about the devastating effects of fast fashion, and am asking #whomademyclothes.
- I have realised the power and significance of voting with my wallet for a world I want to live in.
- After beginning the year trawling charity shops at least once a week, I am actually buying less second hand clothes and shopping my wardrobe more. I’ve lost interest in having a wardrobe bursting with clothes. Instead I aim for a capsule wardrobe of quality items that I love and look after. It has completely changed the way I shop.
- I feel all warm and fuzzy when I realise that I have dressed myself head to toe in second hand clothes.
- I have found some amazingly stylish women doing similar projects – social media is so brilliant for this!
- I am also trying to be happy and grateful for what I have. Not having the option to go into clothes shops has actually been liberating for me!
- I have no idea what is ‘in fashion’- and so far I have survived!
- I’ve been more confident with my style choices rather than following what’s on trend.
Will I continue this project into next year? Probably. The way I shop has been transformed by this challenge. My mantra will always be ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’, because how could we disagree with Vivienne Westwood?
Bio: Maria lives with her husband and 3 children by the sea in Bournemouth. 2018 has been the year that she has focused on making small sustainable changes to their lifestyle to lower their impact on the environment; from the food she eats to the clothes she’s wearing. If you want to find out more you can check out her social media platforms.