I know, I know, it isn’t even Christmas yet and I’m talking about 2013 – but now is the time to be thinking about planning our goals and aspirations for the forthcoming year, and I’m hoping that some of you lovely readers out there may be interested in getting involved with what I have to share with you today…
Last year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make all my new purchases ethical, and that included any clothes, shoes and accessories heading into my wardrobe. I quickly became aware of how ignorant I was about what constituted ‘ethical’ when it came to clothing, which resulted in me sticking like glue to the few retailers I felt I could ‘trust’ (namely People Tree and Howies).
In November, I got my hands on To Die For… by Lucy Siegle, an eye-opening insight into the ethics and environmental impact of the global fast fashion industry (highly recommended – reads like a dream and is so easy to follow). I came out of reading armed with a whole new set of knowledge and principles that I was raring to develop and put into practice in my own life.
So, it seemed like a calling of fate when I was contacted a week later by Meg from The Double Life of Mrs M, challenging me to take up the gauntlet with her in a year-long test of wits and willpower designed to develop our understanding and commitment to the ethical wardrobe. Based around the wartime clothes rationing system introduced in World War 2, the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge 2013 was born, and I am raring to begin!
So what’s it all about?
What’s the big deal?
Cheap clothes have flooded our high streets in recent years, making the latest trends and styles accessible to a huge market of people. This massive reduction in the individual cost of an item has hugely increased the turnover of our wardrobes, and it is no longer frowned upon for someone to chuck out an item that has been worn only a handful of times. In turn, this ‘buy and bin’ culture has increased the speed at which items go out of fashion, which only fuels the market for these cheap items. But come on, we’re all intelligent people, so why do we ignore the simple mathematics that tells us there must be something dodgy going on for seemingly intricate items to be produced this cheaply? What is the true cost?
The Wartime Wardrobe Challenge represents a massive opportunity for us to connect with the origin, labour and processes involved in each of the garments we own, learning more about where our clothes come from, who makes them and how. If each of us can become a little more educated about the way the fashion industry operates, we are in a better position to make our own informed choices about the items we buy and the brands we choose to support. We can connect with the value, time and craftsmanship that has been invested in the creation of each of the pieces we own and cherish them for the remarkable works of art that they are.
We need to fall back in love with our wardrobes!
To learn more about the principles and theory behind the rules we will be following throughout the year, head over to The Double life of Mrs M and have a look at Meg’s introductory challenge posts :)
If you fancy getting involved, you can find all the coupon values you need in the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge Coupon Value Chart. (If any chaps out there fancy getting involved, you can find the men’s chart here). We’ve also knocked up this cheeky badge for you to display on your own blog/facebook/twitter/print out and stick in your diary. Please do feel free to share the rules and coupon values as you wish, with a link back to this page.
So, do you think you are up to the challenge? We would love to get as many people as possible involved in this year-long exploration of the way we think about clothes shopping. Meg and I will be regularly blogging helpful tips and articles about everything from the background of different fabrics, how to maximise your existing wardrobe, tips for buying second-hand (‘cos vintage and second-hand are coupon free! Yeay!) and even how to get creative and make your own clothes! We’ll also be available through Facebook and Twitter to chat and discuss our progress:
Roll on January 1st!