a year of not buying clothes

I’ve had a few slow hours at work today, waiting for the phone to ring or emails to arrive, with literally nothing else to do. Since I’m quite sure my boss, who sits right next to me, is not ready yet for me to pull out my knitting on occasions like that, it gave me an opportunity to go through some old blog posts from my favorite bloggers. One that I’ve had bookmarked for quite a while now and keep going back to is Kate’s report on her year of not buying clothes.

When I first stumbled upon this project, I was fascinated. For the duration of 2008, Kate decided not to buy any clothes. This doesn’t mean she wasn’t allowed to get any new clothes in the year, just that – if she wanted something – she had to make it herself. What an adventure! I definitely want to do something like this soon, especially as I’ve found lately that I usually come back home from my shopping outings quite disappointed with what’s on offer, carrying a new book in my bag instead of the dress I had set out for. I think I need a bit more stability (location-wise) and skill in sewing (my peak at the moment is sewing on buttons!) before I embark on this, but it’s on my ‘some day’ list.

What I like about Kate’s approach is that she recognizes that making your own clothes can very much be a luxury in terms of both material and time. Every knitter knows that non-knitters are usually shocked when told how much yarns can (and do) cost. But even if you do manage to acquire cheap materials, both knitting and sewing take time. Not everyone has this time to spare, and I know best from the example of my Mum, who is usually so exhausted by her job (which is manual labor), the commute, taking care of the house, doing the odd job on the side to make some extra money, babysitting grandchildren, etc., that it can take her a few weeks to sit down for half an hour and mend my sister’s pants. Therefore I really appreciate the recognition that making your own clothes can be more of a luxury than a cheap way to get clothes.

What do you think about this? Could you do it? Have you ever done a similar year-long project? I once did a year of not drinking any Coca-Cola products. I had read an article on corporate crime shortly before the new year and was so impressed by it that I decided to boycot Coca-Cola (the company, not just the drink) for a year. It was harder than I thought it would be – because I found out very quickly that, beside the usual suspects of Coke, Fanta and Sprite, many of the juices I had been drinking in cafes (like Cappy fruit juices, Schweppes, even some bottled water brands) were owned by Coca-Cola. Like Kate mentions about her project, doing something like that definitely makes you open your eyes more and inquire and think about where the things come from, who makes them, who profits off of them. I had no idea for years that some of these juice brands were owned by Coca-Cola! If you’re wondering how it went, I’m proud to say that I made it through the whole year. I’ve since gone back to drinking Coke, since my main aim was to test myself and my willpower, but I think I made a little point on the side. :)