Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fashion fasting.

This is my new stash from the op shop, I bought them this morning. You may be impressed that I walked there and back. I am!

 1 x red cardigan, 5 x jumpers, 1 x drawstring comfy pants, 1 x brown velvet bag and 1 x black beanie hat (I'm wearing it as I write because as you know I have declared war on waste and I am holding off putting on the fire. I'm pretty toasty actually. It's true that a hat and socks keep you warm.)

A new friend was op shopping and as I tried on my bits and pieces it became a real communal shop as she and her friend agreed or disagreed on the choices. It's something I love about op shopping and something I will miss, because today was my last op shop clothes shopping spree for a year. (Maybe) I am signing up with the Free Fashion Challenge.

I don't sound too convinced, do I? Well my mind is willing but my spirit it freaking out!!!

I wonder if I am mad considering this (because I am seriously addicted to op shopping) but we have had two women over at our FB page - The Simply Living Challenge - who have reassured me that I will not regret this. They have done it and they continue to be 'extreme' conscious consumers. I am impressed, and encouraged.

And I have Ellen walking beside me, and Georgina (Nans Common Sense) and her husband. We are taking the challenge together, with a few variations. (Georgina is thinking of doing it in chunks - as in she and her husband will do it until New Year and then consider another few months. Sounds like a good idea to me, though I am aiming for the year. And I think she might accept gifts. I haven't decided whether I will or not. What if someone offers me a pair of lightly used rainbow, red or purple or floral Doc Martens - or SoleRebels? How could I turn them down?Ah but I am allowed to swap. A marvellous loop hole.)

And why am I doing it? Because I am concerned about sweat shop workers. I am concerned that so many of us don't think about where our clothes come from, why they might be only a few dollars in a chain store.  Fast fashion. Disposable fashion.I don't like that most clothes are made cheaply and fall apart. I don't like the whole idea of the latest fashion. I am always amazed by how many  last season, rarely used clothes I find in the Salvos. I don't like that people turn their noses up at secondhand but believe it is okay to buy  new and throw away. I can't believe how many people (me too once) have bought into all that wonderful, persuasive advertising.

Sustainable fashion interests me. I just googled one of the founders of this challenge and she has recently co-authored a book on this subject. Here is a link:

In my case I'm not too pleased with myself that I can't walk past the clothes in the Salvos when I could just 'treasure' hunt through my own. I know I would have loads of fun altering my outfits, trying different combinations together, making something, re-discovering something or wearing it in a new way... it will release the creative in me. I want to have swap parties.

I also remember Oprah saying that we can dollar and dime ourselves into poverty. I think if I spend less at the op shop I could save up for that eco outfit I have my eye on. In fact - that thought could be a great carrot for me. If I put that weekly amount away I will definitely have enough to buy that outfit (or two) at the end of the challenge, and by then I am quite sure I will know what I do want and what I don't.

Wish me luck.

Asta x

ps - Do you want to join us? Perhaps you are already doing something similar. I would love to hear from you.


  1. I'm not 100% sure from this what the 'rules' of your fashion fast are. If all your tights are laddered can you get some more? Within 365 days I know I would need new bras. Is that exempt from the fashion fast? Or is it just impulse-type retail therapy you're really meaning?
    Is there a difference between 'fashion' and 'clothes'?
    I like the idea of the swapping being allowed - you could have a lot of fun there, and save a lot of money, creating a new habit that will be good to take into the future.
    I think in a time-period as long as 365 days, you won't last the course without treats. If shopping for clothes has been your treat and fun-time, you'll need to have other treats in mind. What will those be? Going out for a coffee with a friend, or to see a film together? Going to a lunchtime concert or an art gallery? Are you allowed to shop for make-up and perfume?
    Good luck with the fashion fast, it sounds like a big challenge!! x

  2. Sounds like a good idea Asta, but it wouldn't work for me. I'm a size 24-26 and you're lucky to find decent clothes in a "normal" shop let alone an op shop. Swap Groups are out too for the same reason. I rarely buy clothes, and most of my stuff is 10-15 years old.

    If I could buy my clothes in the Salvo's store or in Vinnie's, I would for sure. I did it regularly when my kids were little, and could get a garbage bag full of clothes for $10. They loved it when I'd come home with a pile of "new clothes" for them to go through.

    I don't buy "brand name" clothes or shoes for exactly the "sweat shop" reason. The last new shoes I bought were $4.00 crocs on sale in "Rivers".

  3. Lyn I believe Rivers do use sweat shop labour. I'm trying to find out if that is truly the case. My favourite shoes were made by them and I was really quite upset when someone told me that they were not ethically made. I respect this person and so I made the decision to not buy any more from them, but to use these shoes until they have completely fallen apart. Just a few months down the track from then I feel it is important to check these things out myself.

    I do appreciate the trouble you have with buying secondhand. I have always been really lucky in this area. I didn't understand the problem other women had until I was involved in the local Salvo's fashion parade and had to help choose outfits for the larger models.

    It seems to me that you are already doing a fashion fast of sorts - especially if you are wearing the same clothes that you have had for 10 to 15 years. You must have chosen well to begin with. I think that is fabulous.

    I have finally signed my pledge and I begin my year (if I can last) of using what I already have. Can I do it???

    It's good that brand names don't have a hold over you. They have never impressed me but I know that for some they won't wear anything that doesn't have a recognisable name on it.

    Thanks Lyn for encouraging me. Asta x

  4. Hi Pen, well it is supposed to be everything - underwear, socks, accessories, shoes and clothes. I have signed the pledge - no turning back now. I don't use tights - so no ladders, I use leggings. They last forever! I have a pair that I bought when Tim was 6 months old and he's now 22! And if I run out of undies I know how to make them from a t-shirt!!! Bras? I already have too many.

    I do worry that I will run out of shoes, though I do plan to repair them if I can. I have a very clever friend who can teach me as she does it all the time to her shoes. I confess I have a real desire for some working, practical boots, but I just can't bring myself to buy them. I have soleRebels arriving soon, so that is something to look forward to.

    Impulse buying in regular shops is not an issue for me - I just don't go to them (and we don't have many in town), but I will have to learn to avert my eyes at the Salvo's. I will still go there and have a chat with the ladies and catch up with friends, but I will treat myself with a magazine or a book - a new mug, candle holder,craft suppies or something.

    There is no mention of makeup or perfume. i don't wear either but I guess I could treat myself to a tinted lip balm or some way out nail polish. You can make things - like I am thinking of making some more felt flower broaches - or you can knit a scarf - I might cut something up to turn it into 'wool'. You can use whatever you have in your house but you can't bring anything in. (That is a bit tough but I do have a large box of material scraps etc.) I am really looking forward to getting creative. Elliot gave me 3 bags of his clothes (before I took the 'oath'.) It will be fun to go through them and alter them. I love to refashion. Haven't done it in a while.

    What else will I do so I don't feel deprived?
    One of my favourite things is to sit on my verandah with a friend. We have cuppas or a nice glass of wine. We overlook a bit of a valley and some very Australian bushland - no immediate neighbours. I like to do simple things with my friends. I'd always rather go to their home or have them in mine than go to a coffee shop. A walk with the dog is good too.Sitting around the fire with family and friends is a favourite. Lots of upcycling!!! Visual journaling. Letter writing. And you can't beat a good book.

    I am postive though not completely confident that I can last the 365 days, but I am willing to give it a darn good shot.

    Asta x

  5. Wow, Asta. I'm so impressed. Not just with the fashion fast, but that your heart yearns more for journaling, letter writing and time with friends. I'll be interested to see what unexpected lessons this has for you.

    PS- We wanted to give our trampoline away, but those we offered it to were not so keen. Then this afternoon, a neighbour who brings her grandbaby to talk to our chickens and for a jump on the trampoline, visited and.... now our trampoline is headed for a new home on Saturday!

    Yay for neighbours! :)

  6. are you detoxing from consumerism?