2020, a new year, a new decade even! Talk of new ideas and resolutions are flooding onto my instagram feed.
This year I am not contemplating dry January or any get fit quick regimes, I have decided to set myself a challenge which is by far more difficult for a self confessed shopaholic.
For 2020 I am setting myself the task not to buy any new items of clothing for one whole year (with the exception of smalls).
Faced with tempting sale rails and new season window dressing, I know I will find it hard to resist the lure of the high street or filling my ASOS basket with gorgeous goodies, but before I head out into the January sales I am taking a stand to think about the impact of fast fashion on the environment.
I am sure this pledge will come as a laugh out loud surprise to many, particularly those who know me well, this is for several reasons.
- I am a fashion addict.
- I worked as a designer in the fashion industry for 11 years (prior to my teaching career), therefore this concept is somewhat hypocritical.
- My current job title (Subject leader and teacher of Fashion and Textiles) involves me inspiring and motivating a new generation of designers who could well seek careers within the fashion industry.
That being said, what better way is there to inspire and teach this generation to consider environmental and ethical issues surrounding fast fashion to create a more sustainable future for the industry.
The fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world, the production and logistics of crops, fibres, fabrics, dying/printing processes and garments all contribute to the pollution of our environment, not to mention the 300,000 tonnes of used clothing which goes into landfill in the UK every year.
So what will I do? How will I raise awareness? How will I feed my addiction for shopping? How will I survive without regular retail therapy? And how will I avoid looking like a dishevelled version of my former self?
- I will need to consider the fibres and fabrics of which my clothes are made and the way they have been manufactured. Ultimately the best thing I can do is to keep my clothing in use for longer and buy no new stuff.
- I am a magpie for collecting vintage textiles, fabrics and trinkets so already I relish the thought of rifling through a vast array of charity shops and vintage fairs in order to feed my addiction for clothes shopping.
- I am looking forward to the thrill that comes with a winning bid on eBay and also learning how to use depop to buy and sell.
- I have the advantage that I know how to design and make my own clothes (these of course will need to be made from fabric which is already in my existing stockpile, as buying new will go against my pledge).
- I have an open invitation to staff and pupils to attend our sewing bee/make do and mend sessions in D4 on Monday lunchtimes during REC
- Plans are already underway to organise a jumble sale within school (volunteers and donations needed).
I will report back in 6 months’ time with an update of my progress. Wish me luck, I think I am going to need it.
Some ideas for upcoming sustainable fashion events and local vintage shopping:
January 18th Jumble fever (Oxfam), Oxford town hall
February 1st Lou Lou’s Oxford Vintage Fair, Oxford town hall
February 15th Worth the Weight Vintage Kilo Sale, Milton Keynes, see facebook page for details
The Vintage Guru, St Giles, Northampton – a wonderful emporium of vintage pieces.
Image: A vintage skirt which I reworked from a 1950s dress. I am looking forward to wearing this during the summer.