During summer in June, I found the post by @slowfashionseason on @fashionforgood page prompting people to avoid buying new clothes for three months. I knew I was destined for failure, but I wanted to try to change my mindset.
It was hard because it started right when sales began, my Birthday is in July, and I start each day by browsing what's new online. I did buy three new pairs of shoes, a piece of jewellery, a jumpsuit by Gung Ho, a hat by Mu Du London and two traditional Russian scarves because I'm hardly ever there and I can only buy it there.
At the beginning of the challenge, I went Harrods (I do not remember why, but I had to) and I 'accidentally' ended up on the 5th floor in the shoe section. That's THE danger zone, where I tried so many shoes, I ended up buying two pairs for myself. My excuse was: one is Old Céline (Phoebe Philo fan over here), the other was Manolo Blahnik. I always go Manolo during summer sale, because his shoes work very well for me, but being expensive, I wait till summer sale to treat myself to a pair.
I have been adding a few pieces to my Netaporter and Matches sale wish list to avoid being tempted to buy everything and have a think first. I have wanted a straw or a wicker bag for a while, so I ordered a few, subsequently returning them because I didn't like them and just felt they weren't perfect enough to break the 'challenge'. I am aware that delivery is not CO2 neutral, so I don't know how much good I did by buying and returning, but I suppose that's one problem about still wanting to buy something. I did so with a Whistles skirt that's been on my wishlist since February. Overall the number of my online orders reduced thanks to the challenge.
I also was tempted and got the Gung Ho jumpsuit on sale. I borrowed a couple for my shoots during summer and fell in love. It is made from Tencel. Soft and beautiful. Sophie had a sale on and a party, I had a few drinks and, well, made the purchase. I did buy a different jumpsuit from the one I wanted initially. I went for a calmer option so that I could wear it in a variety of ways layered with or over a jumper, a shirt or whatever else. It doesn't help that Sophie is the sweetest person, and I want to support her intentions, her business, her designs (that are so chic and wearable at the same time). So far I've worn it quite a bit and intend to keep doing so.
I made two exceptions for myself. One being buying presents for Christmas for people because certain items I had in mind were on sale. The second was my Birthday and especially seeing my parents during that time. They don't tend to buy me presents; they take me to a full-on shopping trip. They are also not keen on second hand unless it's Chanel and they can see the quality right in front of them. If I say no, well firstly it's hard when you're in Prada and secondly that's the worse way to offend my parents. I did end up getting a few pretty pieces, but I chose well, got fewer than usual, and made sure I would wear the clothing for a long time. I have already worn them as well.
Shopping with my parents was the hardest part of the challenge. Part of me wanted to be treated, and another part was vigilantly questioning whether I need it or can wear it in versatile ways. When I am living in London, I look at pretty things but don't always buy them, because I have time to put them in the wishlist, think for some time and make a decision (talk myself out of it). When it comes to being with parents, I get a couple of minutes to think, because we must go to each store, and we have no time to go back. If they're busy shopping for themselves and friends, then I get longer. I still find it quite stressful to weigh my WANT IT NOW and 'do I need it though'?
It has been a challenge at the beginning, but it started getting better by the end. I feel that I have learnt something from this, which I suppose is the point of the event, even if you fail greatly.
I have not stopped browsing online, but I have started being more creative with it. When I see something I like, I think whether I can style what I already have similarly. I ask my mum if she has a piece like that. I look on Depop, Vestiaire Collective, Hardly Ever Worn It, Ebloggers (for & Other Stories pieces - one of very few high street brands I love) for second-hand alternatives.
This challenge has taught me to leave and think before buying something if I can (99% I can). Usually, it gives me time to think or rather forget about the piece, even if it's second hand or charity, it is still another piece in my overflooded wardrobe. Sometimes I feel too lazy to go back to the store, so I end up not buying anything. Of course, there are times when it does not work. I went to a vintage store in St Petersburg, and I only had a day left there. I loved a canvas bag and a dress. I left the store to decide while having a coffee break and did decide to come back afterwards.
I found joy in rediscovering my old pieces that have been tucked away and giving them the attention they deserve. The challenge encouraged me to fix a few pairs of abandoned shoes in my wardrobe.
I know for some readers it may seem like I bought too much and did a shit job. For me, it was food for thought, because it did slow down my habits. I may have loved something had a rush to want to buy it, but then stopped and went home for a think, which helped me reduce my purchases.
I hope to keep being better and minimise my fashion consumption as much as I can.