Sale is over! Thank god. I am doing the I-buy-nothing-challenge for two and a half weeks now and thus it is time for an update. I will reveal how I am holding up in a moment, but let me first tell you how during these two and a half weeks I am most surprised by other people’s responses to the challenge. When I tell them about the challenge, I hear a lot of ‘Really?’ ‘You?!’ ‘How are you going to manage?!’ Eeeuuh people, I am just keeping my purse closed, it is not like I am fighting a dragon. These messages of respect but disbelieve emphasizes our addiction to consumerism. It’s a drug, a very expensive drug.
The kick-off of the I-Buy-Nothing-Challenge
Just before the challenge started, I took my chance and went shopping with Florien. No heavy kilo shopping obviously. That would be very contradictory. We went to a store called Vanilia located in Breda. This brand designs in The Netherlands and produces at their own studio in Turkey. A fashion brand owning a production facility itself is positively unusual in the fashion industry. Vanilia plies by the Code of Labour and in 2014 the Fair Wair Foundation did an inspection. Excessive overtime was not present and wages were above minimum wage level. According to rankabrand.org, not much is known about Vanilia’s contribution to the environment, but some things can be found on Vanilia’s website itself. They state to lower their carbon footprint by shortening their supply chain and also practice recycling. For example, transport bags are made of the remainder of fabrics used, instead of plastic. Eventually I bought a timeless 100% cotton, crisp white, oversized blouse for half the original price, which you can see in the picture below.
Luckily, the most difficult part is over as I mentioned at the beginning: SALE. Sale is a magic word, it does something with us humans. Buying during sale makes us happy and feel more successful; we pay only 50% of what others paid for the same product, so we actually saved money we think. And yes, it has had its influences on me as well. I had to drag myself away from the shops a couple of times and I forced myself not to open webshop links. Shame. A real shame.
There were three main things that helped me a lot during these 2.5 weeks. First of all, it was my mindset. What used to be ‘but these items will not be in the shops anymore if I don’t buy them now’, turned into ‘there will be even nicer items in shops and after 3 months of saving I will be able to afford more qualitative and well-produced items’. Secondly, it was the people around me. Besides the messages of disbelieve, I got very positive responses of people and even people joining the challenge! For next post, I will have visited them to see how they are doing☺. Thirdly, it was a Dutch documentary I watched called ‘Prijsvechter’ (a ‘Prijsvechter’ is somebody or a company always searching for the lowest prices, we Dutch seem to be known for it). This documentary questions the cheap products we find at shops like the Action. For instance, a pink lantern for €1.50. How can this be so cheap? Obviously, this question is also very relevant for the cheap clothes consumers buy. The ‘Prijsvechter’ showed workers working 15 hour shifts, the ease of throwing away (the lantern didn’t even last the end of the documentary), and pollution over every single centimetre of our planet. They even found plastic in the beers we drink and honey we eat. We are eating our own thrown away plastic. Karma….?
Make fashion fun again
Watching the program, I literally had tears in my eyes. While many others and I are doing our upper best to change and ‘save’ the world, it seems like we’re outnumbered. The numbers of cheap and unfair products just dazzled me. How can we, The Talking Thread, reach all people and change their minds? Educate everyone about what is happening? Don’t people understand we are demolishing our world, our home together?
While still feeling a little sad, I texted this same message to my dad. His response meant everything to me. ‘As long as you reach one’ he said. ‘And then you will reach another one’. A movement is going on and I am proud The Talking Thread can contribute. If we all take care of our own m2, together we can really change the world and make fashion fun again.
Keep up the good work!