Back in January this year I jumped on the Marie Kondo craze and ended up chucking out about three bin bags full of my clothes. It was the start of a new era. I was going to crave less, buy less, and get more joy from the things I already had.
So how is it that seven months later I have more clothes than ever before?
I had great intentions of saving money and helping the planet, but I ended up using Marie Kondo as an excuse to shop.
Designer Recycle: Quantity and Quality
I started shopping at Tatty’s, a second hand clothes shop, and that was an easy out. I wasn’t hurting the planet by creating new clothes, because I was only buying second hand. And because second hand costs way less than buying new, I was supposedly saving money too.
Of course it didn’t quite work out.
The Konmari method is all about only having things that ‘spark joy’. The problem is that for me, fashion, clothes, and textiles have sparked joy for as long as I can remember. Going through the rails at Tatty’s and finding designer clothes (yes, I’m materialistic and drawn to labels) for less than I’d pay for a high street brand appealed to me.
Plus, because the clothes cost three or four times less than they would new, I ended up buying three or four times as much as I did before.
The Shame and Pleasure of Shopping
I’ve always felt ashamed of my shopping. I’ve felt embarrassed at how much I have and how much I spend. I know it’s thought of as morally questionable and unattractive to be so obsessed by material items. I know it’s not an admirable quality.
And yet… I get so much pleasure from my clothes.
I guess the thing is, I could always get away with it before. I never went into debt or got totally out of control of my spending. But now I’m thinking of grown-up things like a mortgage on a house, or having money to take parental leave and to pay for daycare. My hobby isn’t sustainable, financially, anymore.
The Goal: Slow Fashion
I can’t buy everything that sparks joy, I don’t want to spend so much of my money on clothes, I don’t want to harm the planet more than I need to. So what I want from this year of no new clothes is to create a long term habit of slowing down and being more mindful.