Wednesday 18 February 2015
Could You Bear To Wear Just Six Items For Six Weeks?
The uncomfortable truth about ethical fashion, at least as far as manufacturers and suppliers are concerned, is that it requires the customer to buy fewer clothes. Less clothing means less stress on the environment, less clothing going to landfill. That notion also leads to fewer jobs and diminished opportunities for developing countries to trade, so it's a tricky balance to pull.
But we could all stand to buy a little less, and perhaps rediscover those clothes at the back of the wardrobe that would benefit from a new lease of life. Maybe they just need a repair, or to be worn in a new context, dressed up with an accessory or two.
The thing is, it's easy to buy new clothes. We can always persuade ourselves that we need them. Getting into the habit of making do with less takes a little time and effort. It's estimated that you need a month to pick up a new habit successfully, like writing a few hundred words a day, or going for that morning jog. Time, and a little motivation.
Charity Labour Behind The Label, that helps to raise awareness for garment worker rights, has come up with a sharp idea to help you on your way. Their Six Items For Six Weeks Challenge, which runs for the duration of Lent, is a fashion fast that does exactly what the title says. For six weeks, you're only allowed to wear six items of clothing.
OK, let's clarify. Underwear isn't included. That would be revolting. Neither are shoes, accessories and, sweetly, pajamas. But it does mean that you have to think hard about items that work in different ways, that you can team together to create new looks and outfits. What could you do with one dress, one pair of jeans, two tops, one coat and a cardi? How would you mix things up to keep them fresh?
Rebecca Cork, LBTL's Fundraising Director, took the challenge last year, and came to some surprising conclusions--not least that, while she felt self-concsious about wearing the same clothes day in, day out, most people didn't even notice until she pointed it out.
Perhaps we have become so used to the notion of new clothes with every new season that we're almost brainwashed into going out and buying them, when there are perfectly good items hanging in the wardrobe. I think LBTL are onto something here. Perhaps it's time to pare down our choices, and think a little more creatively about the clothes we own, and how we wear them.
If you want to know more about the Six Items For Six Weeks Challenge (which starts today, so get your skates on), check out the fundraising site, which also has tips on how to pick out those important six items.