Tag Archives: environment

Love What You Wear – A Year of Not Buying Clothes

Some of you may remember that last November, I signed up for the Love What You Wear Project – a challenge not to buy any new clothes for the duration of a year (except underwear and shoes!). The challenge ran from 1st November 2012 until 1st November 2013. Next Friday the challenge ends and (assuming I don’t go on a mad spending spree between now and then) I will have successfully completed it. Woohoo!

Initially, I was hoping that the challenge would spur me on to start making my own clothes. And it did, sort of, but then I got a bit disillusioned when making my own clothes failed to result in anything that I would actually consider wearing. There was the skirt that made me look like a lego figure:

front of skirt

Then the top that made me look like a milkmaid:

Milkmaid1

Oh, well, at least I did get some bargains from charity shops, like this Monsoon top:

thank goodness for oxfam monsoon

And a Boden one:

thank goodness for oxfam boden

And luckily, my mum rekindled her dressmaking and made me several garments including this fabulous Vogue dress:

vogue dress

All in all, I’m glad I undertook the challenge. I have had fun hunting down charity shop bargains and I think it has definitely altered my attitude towards buying clothes. I think I will be a lot less impulsive with my purchases and carefully choose those clothes that I think will fit in with my existing wardrobe and that will last well. Having said that, I am looking forward to shopping for a brand new frock for my Christmas night out with the girls 🙂

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Learning to Live on Eaarth

Have you ever read a book that affects you so deeply that your life for ever more will be separated into “before” and “after” reading said book? For me, eaarth is such a book.

I am certainly no climate change sceptic and some would consider our family to be quite “green” – we recycle and compost; we don’t take foreign holidays; we cycle and use public transport as much as possible; we eat organic food…

However, until reading McKibben’s book, I don’t think I had fully appreciated the scariness of the predicament that we humans have placed this planet in. McKibben gives example after example after example of the effects of global warming. And these are not predicted effects. These are things that are happening RIGHT NOW. This is not a problem just for our grandchildren. This is not even a problem just for our children. This is our problem. Now. Right now. As McKibben puts it:

The planet on which our civilization evolved no longer exists.

Although the first half of the book was seriously terrifying (it quite literally gave me nightmares), McKibben does go on to talk about solutions for the future and there is hope BUT only if we radically change things. A few green tweaks here and there are not enough. We need to do some serious scaling down. In McKibben’s words:

The project we’re now undertaking – maintenance, graceful decline, hunkering down, holding on against the storm – requires a different scale. Instead of continents and vast nations, we need to think about states, about towns, about neighbourhoods, about blocks. Big was dynamic; when the project was growth, we could stand the side effects. But now the side effects of that size – climate change, for instance – are sapping us. We need to scale back, to go to ground. We need to take what wealth we have left and figure out how we’re going to use it, not to spin the wheel one more time but to slow the wheel down. We need to choose safety instead of risk, and we need to do it quickly, even at the sacrifice of growth. We need, as it were, to trade in the big house for something that suits our circumstances on this new Eaarth. We need to feel our vulnerabilities. It’s not just people in poor nations who are exposed to the elements now, but all of us. We’ve got to make our societies safer, and that means making them smaller. It means, since we live on a different planet, a different kind of civilization.

From a personal point of view, this has triggered some serious thinking about how I can prepare for this future, and as a home-educating parent, how I can help prepare my children for this new Eaarth. I strongly believe that compassion and kindness will become more important than ever. But I also think that we need to become more self-reliant and resilient. The skills for life on Eaarth are probably quite different to those emphasised in our current educational model. I believe that we need more practical skills. I undertake to help our family to learn skills like:

  • growing and cooking our own food
  • mending and making our own clothes
  • basic property maintenance
  • holistic health care

Our throw-away, consumer, growth-driven way of life must end soon. These forgotten skills (that would have been second nature to our forefathers & mothers) are in serious need of renewal. What better place to start than right here, right now?

How will you prepare for life on Eaarth?

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Love What You Wear Project


Just lately, I’ve been reading a bit about the fashion industry and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading. I started with Elizabeth Cline’s “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” and I have now nearly finished Lucy Siegle’s very thorough expose “To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?”  I’m not totally naive.  I did realise that the fashion industry wasn’t what you’d call ethical, but I must admit I didn’t have a clue just how bad it was.  Exploitative labour practices; a total disregard for the environment; shocking wastage…not a pretty picture.  The more I read about it, the less I want anything to do with it.  As well as supporting such organisations as Labour Behind the Label and the Clean Clothes Campaign, I feel that I want to change my own relationship to clothes and clothes  buying.  So when I read about the Love What You Wear Project, I thought “Yes! This is it!”  In a nutshell, the project involves a commitment to buying no new clothes for a year, running from 1st November 2012 to 3oth November 2013.  So, we’re looking at buying secondhand, mending or repurposing what we’ve already got or making clothes ourselves.  Just what I had been wanting to try in any case 🙂

 

I want to use this opportunity to really learn how to look after and mend my clothes.
I want to use this opportunity to think more about my consumption.
I want to use this opportunity to learn a new skill – dressmaking.

First things first, though, I have to finish Waif’s pyjamas. Then, I have promised some pyjamas to my husband. After that, maybe I’ll have a go at making myself a skirt with this pattern:

butterick skirt pattern

Watch this space 🙂

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Hanging Out!

indigo in the breeze

Did you know today is National Hanging Out Day? I always hang my washing on the line outside, unless it is raining in which case I hang it up indoors. I do not own a tumble dryer (or “money machine” as my Nan would have referred to it!) and can’t say that my life is any the worse for it. I was astonished to read that in some places, hanging washing outdoors is prohibited for “aesthetic reasons”. That’s just bonkers. I, for one, really love to see washing hanging on a line, especially when it’s yummy indigo fabrics like in my picture above. So, save yourself some money, reduce your carbon footprint and ditch the money machine :-). Go here to check out all the reasons to hang your washing on the line.

Now if only it would stop raining!

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