I travelled the world… with a very small backpack. It really did hit home just how much stuff we have that we don’t need. I just didn’t miss half of the things that I would have considered to be “essential”.
The problem is, that I felt this way when I went travelling at 22 as well. I could not believe how many pairs of shoes I owned when I got back from 15 months away. But by the time I was 30 and ready to set off again for 8 months, I seemed to have double that amount of shoes.
My clothing whilst travelling consisted of very little. I mean obviously it is not practical to be that minimal at home, with the need for work clothes and generally looking a little less like a hobo; however I did decide that buying new clothes was an unnecessary expense that could be reigned in a little on my return to the UK.
So in came the Secondhand Clothing Pledge! I pledged to only buy new clothes that I could not reasonable get secondhand… things like underwear, socks, sleepwear, work essentials.
I lasted 3 months without buying anything new. What I needed, I got from charity or vintage shops, or even friends. This ranged from work trousers, to skinny jeans, to skirts… Then I set my heart on skirt; a long one made from a specific type of material. I couldn’t find it in charity shops, so eventually I gave up and bought it new from the high street….
Since then I can count on one hand what I have purchased new and everytime I wear something secondhand and someone comments on it, I feel pretty proud.
Compulsive consumerism is driving us to disposable fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge people who do buy new (how would I get secondhand if they didn’t) but I do worry about the volume of clothing that people think they need and the subsequent chucking away of things that have not ever been worn.
A friend of mine is involved with a dress agency in Manchester and Altrincham (the Elite) and they have high end previously loved designer and high street fashion and they are booming! Even the charity shops seem to be doing really well…. And believe me, there are enough of those in Bradford!
So the next time you need something – have a look at the secondhand options… if you can’t stretch to clothing, then how about books, films and homewares? We have found some fantastic items!