I mentioned in my last post that I am on a self-imposed charity shop ban until May. Here is how it came about.
I am currently reading Fashion Victim: Our Love-Hate Relationship with Dressing, Shopping, and the Cost of Style by Michelle Lee, and one of the arguments she makes is that we are all fashion victims, we may see the ridiculousness of the ever accelerating trend cycles, but we still buy stuff all the time, thereby fuelling the process.
My initial reaction was a smug ‘Not me!’. I like to think that over the years I have developed a personal style that is recognisably ‘me’ and only marginally affected by what’s available in the shops or whats ‘in’.
I also very rarely shop in high street shops. I mainly get things I ‘need’ new, like a winter coat, or shoes or a suit for work and I spend a lot of time researching them to get the best thing, which often also is the most ethical thing. I hardly ever buy anything new on impulse – the only things I can remember buying on impulse in the last year were these things from oddities I posted about ages ago – and that was because the shop was closing down.
So I think its fair to say that I do not contribute (or at least contribute very little) to ‘Fast Fashion’.
BUT, and this is a big but…
I own TONS of clothes. I have a three door wardrobe all to myself, plus a chest of drawers, plus six storage boxes on top of the wardrobe, plus a shelf in the storage cupboard for my shoes. If I didn’t buy any more clothing for a whole year, I would be fine.
But I still go out to the charity shops and buy more all the time. I love the process of rummaging through all the crap and finding something pretty and planning an outfit. But its not *that* unusual for me to wear a new item only a couple of times. There are a couple items from my charity shop finds I have posted about here I haven’t even worn yet, and many more items in my wardrobe that haven’t yet been worn often enough for them to meet the a-pound-a-wear rule. While there are many things I do wear again and again, there are so many more possible combinations of my existing clothes that I just haven’t tried because I’ve always got something new to show off.
So I suppose what I’m asking is:
* Is this impulse towards the new and exciting charity shop find not just a (less harmful) displacement activity for the search for the new and exciting ‘new’ thing?
* Is the turnover of thrifted things in my wardrobe so very different to the cycle of trends Michelle Lee describes?
* Do not both of these processes stop us from valuing and enjoying the things we already have, without always moving on to the next thing?
* Is this not what is behind ‘Fast Fashion’ and what is stopping manufacturers making good quality, durable things in the first place?
What do YOU think? Do you think I’m wrong? I hope I am! Is this something that worries you?