A RESOLUTION FOR 2019
CAN I BE A ZERO HERO IN 2019?
The state of our planet and the lack of apparent action to stop the damage we are doing is becoming a daily concern. Such guilt, a weight and a worry for the kind of world we will be leaving our children. Pretty heavy stuff isn’t it. So what can I do? What can we all do? Reduce our waste, stop using single use if not all plastic. To be honest, bar banning LEGO in our house, which would cause a massive meltdown of our own I feel I have to do something! Anything!
I have made tiny steps in the right direction when gradually throughout 2018 I have been buying less and less clothes from high street stores (being tucked away in the Scottish Highlands I mainly shop online). With programmes like Stacey Dooley’s Fashion Dirty Secrets, revealing the enormity of the pollution caused by the fashion industry, the increase across social media of stories about workers conditions, combined with the desire to buy pieces that will last, having a wardrobe full of clothes I am unlikely to wear living in the countryside and the realisation that styles and trends are cyclical has resulted in me building myself up slowly to the challenge of buying NOTHING new in 2019.
And then there is a personal morale dilemma I need to resolve -
My business for the past two years has been selling clothing, good quality clothing made from recycled consumer cotton and made in a sustainable way by workers who are paid a living wage, But NONE of this compensates for the fact that I am still selling clothes that use materials, dyes and have a carbon footprint. This no longer feels right to me. Our remaining stock will go on sale on Boxing Day and the website will become a platform for my writing and art, charting my personal challenge to reduce our waste and consumption in 2019. It will also feature the people and inspiration I find along the way. As my friends and I wade our way through the process of trying new more environmentally products there might even be a review or two. I am not denying I am going to find this hard, especially as there are always times when I see something in a magazine that I obsess about and before I know it I have hopped onto the computer and hit ‘buy now’ (The two Morris & Co /HM Collab dresses I bought this Autumn spring to mind). There is always an excuse as to why I HAVE to have it but I am just going to have to deal with it and use a little willpower. Face it, this is definitely a first world problem.
I WILL continue to write and publish my books as I would rather children pick up a book and read it rather than look at a tablet or screen but the clothing has to go. As for the books, I am on the hunt for a local printer who will produce small batches of books as and when I need them instead of the cheaper overseas printer I used previously. Now is the time to make small, achievable moves in the right direction. Kick-starting the change I want to make in my life and my family’s life.
But back to the little things that make me feel better –
I love clothes and thinking about outfits. I see clothing as an expression of my inner self. Sometimes as a protective shield to hide how crap I feel, sometimes as a way of making myself feel brighter and lighter than I actually do. Some times I use clothes in defiance of the people who choose to judge me and make assumptions about me. Here is a little secret - the brighter and crazier outfit days are usually to disguise the lowest feelings, the days full of fear, the days when it all just feels too much. But all in all clothes make me feel good and I don’t want to lose that feeling. Nor do I have to – I can have fun with clothes, I can find pieces of clothing that make me gasp with excitement but these days this happens more often than not when I find something in a charity shop. Like the French wool dress featured in the image below! The silver boots too!
Pottering around Charity Shops –
The perception of charity shops in my mind are rails of clothes that belonged to people who died, clothes that smell of fabric softener. I don’t need charity, I don’t need to buy second-hand. However, I am definitely not rich. My point is that I want to find great quality clothes that when I purchase them I am doing something good. I am making charitable donations to brilliant causes and I am getting my clothing fix. I am not fuelling the fast fashion industry, I am not buying clothes that I will wear once and throw away. To be fair my charity shop shopping has got a little out of control. There is a small obsession with Ralph Lauren after finding a haul of the label in a little charity shop. All brand new, Fair Isle, cashmere and lambs wool jumpers. I have never owned so much cashmere in my life and I love it. I obviously need to rein this in a little!
But charity shops aren’t just all about the clothes –
When we moved into an old Victorian house last year I knew new furniture just wouldn’t work. We have quirky rooms full of furniture from the charity warehouse nearby. There’s the retro room ‘the fox café’ Our living room is full of great furniture, a beautiful leather sofa I picked up from a neighbour for £100 and nothing in our house is new. Maybe it’s just my opinion but I love the way our house looks and it feels even better that I sourced everything while donating to charities.
Dream Labels and Expensive clothes -
So back to dreamy clothes - When I was young (don’t really consider myself exactly old now but there you go) I thought a time would come when I had enough money to wear Ralph Lauren and Max Mara EVERY DAY! I thought “one day I’ll be rich” but here I am in my forties and I guess I can’t complain that I do have some beautiful Ralph Lauren pieces, there isn’t any Max Mara (sold it all when I was broke) but the great clothes I do own either belonged to my GRANDMA or they were bought in charity shops. But you know what, I am happy with that. It all has meaning.
I get my fashion fixes from magazines and when I like a look I can build something better (in my mind) by going through my wardrobe and pottering around the charity shops.
So can I really be a Zero Hero? If I can do it, we all can!
I can do this. Buy Nothing New starts 1st January and I am going to try to do it for a year. It’s not cheating if I pick something up in a charity shop but the H&M random online shops have to stop. Trawling through the sales rail in the local New Look and picking up bits in Tesco (something I ALWAYS regret as it really isn’t good quality even if this year they had some nice things) Buying new is so 2018.
Does this mean I need to panic shop before 2019 is out?
First thing my husband said when I told him my plan was ‘you better stock up on pants’ Then I thought I really need a new pair of wellies (bearing in mind I wear wellies every day these are a sound investment). Well I guess he knows what to get me for Christmas now! What about the kids? We get brilliant kids clothes from friends but my kids seem totally adverse to wearing other peoples things. That said my youngest has two outfits that he wears all the time so his needs are few and he is already, unknowingly doing his bit.
So raise your glasses to being a Zero Hero in 2019
Stopping buying new clothes isn’t exactly going to save the planet but I guess if I can inspire just one other person to do the same then I will feel good. I will save money, I will feel good about it and maybe I will start a flea market or some kind of event to encourage others to recycle, to shop local and to see things in a new way. It is my belief that to do a little is way better than doing nothing and we all need to do something right now as our world is in trouble and that makes me feel incredibly sad. Cue bright, crazy outfit day…..