It’s been one month since local members of XR Chelmsford embarked on the challenge of boycotting new clothes for a year! Here, some of XRC’s rebels tell us how they’ve been getting on and share some tips…
“I think I have been boycotting new clothing for around a year anyway (and synthetic fibres for longer than that). So, I didn’t think twice about taking on XR’s challenge. Clothing, for me, is to protect us from the elements, cover our nakedness and express our individuality. I have never been a fashion-follower, so it’s relatively easy for me.
A problem I anticipate is with finding footwear. Browsing in a charity shop recently, I found only a very small selection of shoes, some of which were in a very worn-out condition. Hopefully I can tackle this issue by widening the search to other second-hand outlets and I won’t be faced with any last-minute panic about having nothing to wear on my feet! I’m really wondering what to do about socks, though. I don’t need new ones yet, but I don’t think I could make them myself (although I might attempt to make underpants!)”
“I haven’t had any problems not buying new clothes, but I have had to buy shoes! I’ve always had a problem finding shoes that don’t shred my feet and I spent weeks looking around, but had to go for new in the end. I have bought a few items from a charity shop with the intention of up-cycling.”
“I’m not a big shopper so it’s been easy so far. I used to try and hunt down products that had been made in countries with some form of decent human rights protections which was so tricky I’d often give up. I am slightly concerned about the state of my socks and underwear! I think I could probably repair my socks, and even knit some new ones with wool I have stashed around the house.”
“Like some others, I don’t buy a lot of clothes anyway, so I can’t say that I’ve actually noticed it so far! It has made me think though – particularly about the societal pressures around being seen to be wearing constantly different things – I’m working quite hard to accept that this really doesn’t matter!”
“I’m loving it so far! It was a weird feeling at the beginning because I hadn’t realised how much I like shopping in TK Maxx! I’ve already faced one challenge when my jeans ripped right after I agreed to the boycott! Jeans are usually really hard for me so that took a bit of hunting, but I managed to find the perfect replacement in a charity shop for a fraction of the cost of new (£3.99!) and obviously no waste as they are pre-owned.”
“I’m also not a big shopper and have always loved charity shops, so I don’t anticipate this being a huge challenge for me. I’ll often keep wearing things when they get holes in, but I want to start repairing them before they get to the stage of not being fit for purpose, especially jeans and leggings, as I think it’ll be hard to find decent-fitting ones second hand. I seem to have a lot of socks and underwear which I’m hoping will last me the year, but if not I will look into the most sustainable and ethical options available. Annoyingly, I recently bought a lovely (new with tags) skirt from a charity shop and all the pairs of tights I’ve worn with it have ripped..! I also think it would be horribly ironic if my winter coat were to fall apart over the next year, as I’ve had it for around 9-10 years, which is definitely not reflective of fast fashion!”
Here are some tips on taking part in #XR52…
“One thing I do with everything in my wardrobe is the turning hanger trick. So I point all the hangers one way, and turn them as I wear them. Anything that remains unturned at the end of the year can go to charity. So even if I feel I’ve deprived myself of new clothes, I can reflect on the fact that I’ve not even worn everything I have. Also if you are an eBayer it’s worth looking for misspelled items. I’ve found a pair of Se7en jeans for £1 (normal retail of around £100) because they were spelt wrong.”
“My tips are definitely charity shop hunting. I get that that can be challenging for people with less time on their hands than me, but I am happy to take on commissions! Moving forward I’m going to start exploring mending and reworking through sewing, which is a fun challenge!”
“I hate having to buy new bras, especially if it’s because the underwire has come out and makes them very uncomfortable to wear (often caused by machine washing). Hand-washing items like bras can seem daunting and time consuming, but a great tip I found is to wash them with a little bit of shampoo while you’re in the shower. They can then be carefully rung out and hung up to dry.”
Are you reading to join the #XR52 movement? We’re switching from fast to slow fashion in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases, biodiversity loss and poor treatment of those working in garment factories. Join in on social media using #XR52 #XRChelmsford. See the original post for more information.