Make Do And Mend Revisited

Last year’s shopping tactic was to buy as little as possible. It was all about investment purchases, make do and mend and ethical responsibility.

I’ve reviewed my purchase habits from last year and I made three. In January last year I bought a pair of office style shoes and a dress for formal wear (because I live in Converse and hoodies these days) and towards the end of the year I bought myself a new winter coat. And I bought that because my others had reached the point of no return. Besides I’ve always wanted one of the iconic khaki green furry hood Manchester coats. So I bought one. This was most definitely my investment purchase of 2016. This year I am planning the same exercise. I say planning, but it has really just been a natural progression from 2016. Because I’ll let you into a little secret – I do not miss shopping in the slightest.

I have been wondering if I can get away with buying nothing at all this year. Three to zero isn’t much. When I look at my wardrobe (which I rotate season to season because of limited space) I really don’t have any excuses for needing new clothes. In fact, I still have too many so I need to wear a few out to reduce the number of storage bags I have.

The only real let down is my leggings which are all in various states of repair but they are really only for day to day informal wear. I have smart, better and more dignified versions of leg wear in reserve for those rare evenings out. I do, honestly. Besides, I can make more if I need them.

It’s an ethos that’s been running through most of my life since 2009 when I took a dive and went to University. Going from full time work to full time student meant making some tough financial choices at a time when I had been used to earning a comfortable wage that put plenty of food in my fridge, two holidays abroad each year and enabled me to run a car. I may be free of Uni now but running your own business means making financial sacrifices in those tentative years when you have no idea what’s going to happen.

And running your own business is hard. You don’t have the safety net of large companies, you are constantly running the gauntlet of being undercut by everyone including your customers and you find yourself finding creative ways to cut costs whilst still living to a reasonable standard. There are also very few benefits you can enjoy when you’re running your own business. So if your income is less than your outgoings, the only person picking up the shortfall is you.

Fashion Revolution is rarely far from my mind. I work consciously every step of the way. Nothing much has changed since last year’s events and I’m looking forward to what the FR teams are going to offer us this year through their gatherings and film showings. I hope for progress but I’m not sure much has been made in the fast fashion industry these past 12 months.


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