I suppose you could say my shopping days are over. It all began when I went to University in 2009. After years of well paid office jobs and not having to worry too much about money, it was a shock to be living off a three grand a year maintenance grant.
I learned how to cook, to bake, to grow my own veg and how to do a night out on a fiver. I also got over my love of clothes shopping. At the same time I became aware of the problems with fast fashion. And I started to get serious hang ups every time I bought anything on the high street.
These days every clothing purchase is a calculated decision, not an impulse buy. The problem is I am stuck between two places. I don’t want to shop on the high street but I don’t have the income to shop anywhere higher up the chain than New Look. If I want something really special, I make it myself.
I only shop when there is something I really really need and I know I am going to wear it. I don’t just mean in a money context, but also from a human interest standpoint.
For instance, I have purchased three things on the high street this year. This is because I went back to office work and had very few garments I considered suitable for an office environment. I bought a smart pair of flat shoes (because I live in secondhand Converse these days) and I also bought two dresses. One a smart shirt dress, the other a simple black fine knit loose fit dress.
Now, I bought all these things from New Look and Primark. Don’t judge me. I am a sucker for fine knit and jersey as you can probably tell from my design work. And Primark was doing a run of knit dresses that were knee length. ONE of them fitted. I bought it in January and I wear it at least once a week.
You see, if you are going to buy mass produced fast fashion that you know has been made in dangerous conditions by underpaid workers, doing 12 hour shifts, at least wear it like you know the pain that went into making it. And I do. And I will probably still be wearing my Primark dress in 5 years. Because actually the quality is better than you might think. It’s certainly lasted longer than the three things I bought from H&M last year which already need repairing or are only good for slouching around the house (my yellow knit jumper for one).
Basically I only buy things I know I will wear. And if it’s for a special occasion then it will be worn at every event for years. Like the two summer dresses I bought last year that have each only been worn once but I will never throw away.
I am also partially commited to doing the no buy challenge. To be honest, it’s not actually that difficult for me. But if you need a reason to not buy junk fashion this could well be for you.
I still have clothes I bought 20 years ago, my suit trousers from BHS which I got for my first London office job, being a case in point. Not only can I still fit into them, but I do still wear them for smart occasions.
Everything else gets repaired and I mean everything. From Primark socks to leggings which cost me £3 a pair two years ago.
Make do and mend really is a thing and you’d be wise to learn how to sew on a button or darn a sock if you care about textiles waste as well as the balance in your bank account. Treat your cheap clothes with the same value as your expensive ones. The price tag may be different, but the circumstances in which they were made were probably similar and that deserves your respect.
For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk