The start of the New Year is the perfect time to organise your thoughts, plan what changes you can make to your life and what bad habits you can leave in 2017, ensuring the coming year is even more amazing and inspiring than the last.
Fuelled by the ethos of my own brand, which aims to create pieces to be kept and worn for years to come, this year I resolve to try harder to curtail my bad shopping habits, and to focus more on quality over quantity.
When I officially launched my eponymous brand in 2015 and become stocked in Wolf & Badger, I knew that it was important to me to avoid creating things that fell into the category of fast fashion.
I spend hours painstakingly illustrating, painting and carefully editing my intricate artwork until I feel it is ready to become a printable design, and I have always felt uncomfortable with the idea of using something that has taken time and care to perfect to contribute to that market.
Instead, I want to create pieces that can be worn and enjoyed time and time again, appealing to a person’s personal taste rather than actively or deliberately alluding to current trends. The realisation that I didn’t want to contribute to fast fashion professionally forced me to scrutinise the part I play as a consumer.
With many designer and high street stores going into Sale before Christmas last year, the sense of urgency to get your slice of the bargain pie (if you will) was strong and difficult to resist. Marketing campaigns continue to encourage us to buy now or regret later, and warn us that it’s our last chance to get our piece of the action.
This pressure to buy is at the core of how fast fashion works. It’s about influencing us to mindlessly accumulate as much as we can, as quickly as we can, with no emphasis on quality or longevity. This, in my opinion, is what makes the concept unsustainable and harmful.
Whether it’s Sale or new season, I have found that being conscious and mindful of shopping choices can help to avoid impulse buying for the short-lived sensation of joy, because this kind of shopping subsequently leaves you with a sense of guilt and remorse - which can then only be subdued with, you guessed it, more shopping.
I admit I have been this kind of shopper, and (until very recently) I had the bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe to prove it. If you change the cycle and shop less often but with a more discerning attitude, acquiring only things you really, truly desire – you will find these things will bring you a deeper happiness when you use/wear them time and time again.
You won’t miss the cheap, temporary illusion of delight you get from buying into fast fashion’s façade. What’s more, if you apply this mantra of consideration and thoughtfulness as oppose to uncontrolled frenzy to other basic areas of life too, you can be calmer and happier for it.
This concept, coupled with a growing awareness of the importance of quality and worth, is why in 2018 I am putting my foot down and saying no to excess, no to waste and no to low quality fast fashion.
This New Year as my own habits and the mantra of my brand continue to merge together, and as more and more of my silk printed pieces become the ‘essentials’ in my own wardrobe, I have summarised a guide on how to attempt to buy less, choose well, and really love everything in your wardrobe.
The Happy Shopping Guide is as follows:
Streamline - Remove everything you realistically will never wear. Be (quite) ruthless.
Know What You Have: keep the wardrobe / shelves tidy and organized at all times. Knowing exactly what you have is the first step to making informed buying decisions and you may even discover some gems you forgot you even had.
Buy For Now - Don’t buy for ‘later’. Hoarding is one of my own personal sins so I do understand the compulsion to just amass lots of really nice things... But if you avoid buying for events in your head and stick to ones actually in your calender, you will avoid accumulating things that remain unworn.
Don’t Go Crazy in The Sale – This is a hard one – I’m a serial Sale buyer, and it is really hard not to get over excited by bargains. I’m certainly not saying don’t shop sale, but there is a simple mantra that really helps you avoid ill-advised impulse buys: would I (honestly) still have wanted this before it went into Sale? Never fails.
Carefully Select - Fill the gaps in your wardrobe with beautiful things that you are really attached to – quality pieces you are going to love and enjoy wearing many times in the future. Mix price points, hunt around to find exactly what you are looking for, don’t just accept the first thing you come across. You deserve better than that!
I am proud to be producing small runs of slow fashion pieces, and while I don’t have something new to offer every month, when I do have new stock, it has been designed and made with care and consideration to be enjoyed and worn for years to come.
I invite you to join me this year in dressing with less, and filling your wardrobe and your life with truly special pieces that matter to you and that work for your lifestyle. Happy New Year and Happy Shopping!