• Cotton & Push

Why I've stopped buying New Clothes


(Pillbox Vintage UK, Liverpool)


Did you know that in the next ten minutes, 6 tonnes of clothing will be dumped into landfill? Nope, I didn't either.


On average, it takes an item of Lycra sportswear up to 200 years to decompose, a silk camisole, 4-5 years and a dress made of polyester, 300. A constant churning over factory is now the model of the fashion industry having taken over what was once an institution based on craftsmanship, creativity and class. A Saturday for most people will now not be complete until they have bought a new item of clothing. Just one. It doesn't even have to go with anything they own. They must have this new thing to mark another week gone by, to have "something" to wear for their venture out into town later. I was very, very much the same. Frantically running around Zara trying to find the "perfect" spaghetti strap cami to go with my new jeans. It had to be that or nothing (not that I'd settle for nothing). It had to be that item that I wore later. It didn't have to be memorable, but it HAD to be new. Why? Because our brains are 'hardwired to seek out novelty.'

When we see new things, our 'midbrain' section gets activated and our brain releases dopamine, which sends us into a motivation seeking frenzy. The new stimulus pushes us to get a reward, much like when you enter a new level of a game. You stay, hoping to get more points or unlock something else. Once the stimulus is no longer new, it is not associated to a prize.


Going back to fashion, this is probably why we keep buying and justifying to ourselves that we need X many things. When clothes are the cheapest they've ever been, it makes that satisfaction much too easy to turn down.


What if we just re-wired our brains? When we look at second hand clothing, why not turn off the voice that says


"ew, old"


and turn on the one that says


"oooh, that would be new to ME"


The UK charity shop is not what it once was. Where before the humble charity shop was a bubble of dust encompassing old crystal brandy sippers or creepy dolls, it now shines as a desirable destination. Charity shops have Instagram accounts and racks of colour co-ordinated clothing, most of which is no older than 5 years old. You will see unwanted designer goods or genuine family heirloom treasures for a steal of a price.


My mum in law brought me a dress from a charity shop the other day - it was silk chiffon, a gorgeous LBD with a high ruffled collar and ornate sleeves, in excellent condition. She also buys me great pre-owned Primark finds, basic things like t-shirts, that were probably stocked in Primark not 6 months back. So why would anyone still need to shop NEW new?


Let's shop OLD NEW. Don't think pre-owned, think pre-LOVED. As if someone had just taken care of a garment for 10 years just for you to eventually wear and rock in. The shop in the photograph above is the inside of my local Sue Ryder. I forgot to even mention that shopping second hand usually also meant supporting a good cause. I love visiting this shop, it's laid out beautifully and their theme is pure vintage, so it feels like every item in there is a special item, a unique find.


Another great place to browse pre-loved items is Vintage Fairs or Kilo sale events (grab a bag of clothes for a set price). If you happen to be in Liverpool I cannot recommend Pillbox vintage enough. They are Liverpool's oldest and longest running Vintage Fair Provider selling the most gorgeous bespoke pieces, much like the one featured at the top of this article. I just happen to be obsessed with them and I don't even live in Liverpool. Truth is, some cities do have better vintage scenes than others but it's nothing that can't be fixed with a day trip. Check out Pillbox's Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/pillboxvintageuk/


Sue Ryder, Leicester https://www.instagram.com/sueryderleicester/


My partner and I have completely stopped buying new clothes. We browse charity shops, search for items we may need online through Ebay, Gumtree and the likes. We simply do not feel the urge to purchase new clothes anymore. We make allowances for socks and underwear though, and when we purchase those, we try to purchase ones made ethically and preferably from organic materials. Check out my collection of organic cotton and bamboo lingerie here if you're looking for some earth friendly but still boss undergarments.



Sources:

https://stand.uow.edu.au/fast-fashion-crisis/; fash_rev_ausnz Instagram Profile and story;

Further Reading:

https://truecostmovie.com/

https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Media-Centre/Blog/2018/April/The-true-cost-of-fast-fashion

https://lifehacker.com/novelty-and-the-brain-why-new-things-make-us-feel-so-g-508983802

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