No Clothes For A Year: An Update

I did really well for the first 8 months...

If I bought anything (other than tights/socks/underwear) it came from a charity shop or off Ebay. 

One of the things that I completely forgot to factor in was work clothes for my Internship. Now I wasn't given any information about a dress code and after emailing my contact at the theatre and getting no response, I decided to go with the German status quo. That's smart, VERY smart. I was a 2nd year languages student and I didn't own ANY smart clothes. No black trousers, no shirts, no blazers NOTHING. 

So I went on a Charity Shop/Ebay search...
and did incredibly well. I managed to get two shirts (The Ralph Lauren was £6 and the cute Stripy one was £10) 2 blazers (United Colours of Benneton and Windmill both for the £3 each) a black wool skirt (French brand £3) two pure wool jumpers (Grey £4 Red £2)  and a Black Dress (£12 Sandwich) My housemate was also kind enough to donate me a pair of denim shorts and a beautiful red coat after her clothes sort-out. Gorgeous clothes, for practically no money and my conscience was clear.

One thing I really struggled to find were trousers. This dilemma was only made worse when my jeans decided to split two weeks before my departure. I hate jeans shopping anyway, but trying to do it ethically was an absolute nightmare. I ordered a pair of chinos from Ebay and they were much to big and I got a pair of jeans, also from Ebay, that were too long and a completely different colour to what was shown on the internet. I then tried Fairtrade companies such as HOWIES and MONKEY GENES but HOWIES didn't have the style I was after and MONKEY GENES were still too long. I'm also currently between sizes so it's really difficult for me to tell if something will fit from an internet picture. Thus, being short and sizeless proved to be a problem for fair-trade-bottom-half shopping.

Another problem...
Turns out the dress-code at work wasn't super smart, but actually the complete opposite. I only took one suitcase with me and my super-smart-office clothes took up a good amount of room. SO AWKWARD. I'm also in that weird transitional phase from teenage girl to young woman and I feel like my wardrobe needs a bit of a facelift. A lot of my casual clothes are now too big for me or have deodorant stains or holes in them and I just don't feel very presentable, especially in Germany's fashion capital. 

Another thing to add to my dilemma is the fact that Germans don't do charity shops. I've found one Oxfam in the whole of Düsseldorf and it was filled with lederhosen and 80s bridesmaids dresses. I'm all for buying ethically, but not if it's something I'm never going to wear!

I'm wary of shopping getting out of hand and I don't want to be an impulsive buyer, I don't want to spend lots of money and I don't want to be wasteful. Furthermore, once you've started shopping with a conscience it's hard to shop without one. I'm still really passionate about buying ethically and responsibly  but at the moment it's proving rather difficult. I actually really miss the fun of charity shops and I will definitely be hitting them hard whenever I'm in the UK. In the meantime, I'm going to do some research on which high-street stores have the best reputations for ethical and environmental manufacturing. I just feel really convicted that there's really no excuse for me to not at least TRY to shop ethically; I'm not well-off but I'm still statistically part of one of the richest social groups in the world. In light of this I feel it's my duty to my brothers and sisters in the developing world and to this planet  to find away to shop responsibly within the budget that I have. I will post any research I find on the blog. 

Will you join me?

1 comment :

  1. Hey Ellie, Han and I had a conversation about this a couple of years ago and were really challenged but since then have a lapsed :( however I read an article recently (in Families First sshhh my mum gave it to me!;) which has challenged me again. There were some websites it recommends, and I'm going to check them out. It also said that if you want to buy from the high street H&M are arguably the best of the bunch. Well done for highlighting this issue and hope you're feeling better soon lovely xxx