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May 5th 2017
There it was, in all its beauty hanging elegantly on the rail. “I must not give in and buy it,” I told myself. “I’m only two days into this challenge.”
“But it’s in your size. The colour is so YOU! It’s the kind of piece you’d wear year after year."
Silencing the little voice in my head, I left the rose quartz ballerina skirt, turned on my heel and left the mall.
The Ethical Style Project
I’m a professional fashion stylist and editor. Just two days before this incident in the mall, I’d announced to my audience my plans to quit shopping for a whole year. I was curious to see whether it was really possible to revamp the items I already owned and to satisfy my need to shop by instead making creative design changes to my wardrobe. As a hardened retail therapy addict, the early days of going “cold turkey” were tough. When discussing sustainable, eco-friendly fashion, the question on many a professional’s lips are: “is it really a problem buying new clothes, if I know that I will wear them?” My business Online Personal Stylist is built around ethical, cruelty-free fashion values. I’ve never purchased anything that I haven’t absolutely adored. But the primary purpose of shopping is to buy things we need. The purpose of fashion on the other hand, is all about “want”. But like they say: “there’s more than one way to do something”. And the same applies to getting a routinely fashion fix. Shopping is just one way of getting your hands on new, trendy pieces. Cut this out of the equation and your next best options are either clothing swaps or a little DIY.
One of the parts of this challenge that fascinated me most was the prospect of exercising my design and tailoring skills. I am by no means a full-fledged designer, but I wouldn’t say my seamstress talents are non-existent. You’d be amazed at the variety of alterations a fashion stylist can tend to on a busy film set on a manic editorial shoot.
My Top Tips on How to Stop Buying Clothes
• In the beginning I’d recommend avoiding temptation and staying clear of any stores.
• Remember why you want to quit shopping, to make it easier for you during times when you’re tempted to shop.
• Learn to plan your outfits in advance, so you always feel like you have something to wear.
• Experiment with different ways that you can revamp what you already own, using everyday household objects. Adding a couple of spare buttons, a dash of glitter, ribbons, or pom-poms are all cheap and effective ways to spruce up any outfit.
• Use any future shopping trips or time spent in malls as research trips. Stroll round the shops and use the time to think about how you can recreate something similar through an at-home DIY fashion project. Quite often it is very easy to replica what you see in stores for a fraction of the cost at home. Plus it is very simple too!
What I’ve Learned from Not Buying Clothes for 1 Year
This project has completely changed my relationship towards clothes and shopping. I no longer feel the need to rush to buy something I like in stores. If there is a particular garment that looks pretty and appealing, I try to figure out how I could create something similar using a few clever sewing practices.
I thought I would want to rush out and buy something today, but I didn’t! I haven’t purchased a single item of clothing or footwear throughout the entire year! I have been tempted. I have found it difficult at times. But I kept going and I succeeded! I also want to wish everybody who has joined me on this challenge a huge congratulations too! Well done if you followed my journey with me and took part.
How do you think I should celebrate?