I’ll admit I was surprised when an old friend I haven’t actually seen for almost a year suggested I might be interested in the challenge. I’ll also admit that I was sceptical, as I was wearing more than six items at the time. Having read the rules and realised that coat, underwear and accessories count as extra, I understand that the challenge is not about having insufficient access to clothing. It’s about not having excessive access to clothing. Which is good, because excess is bad for everyone.
Is ethical fashion something that’s occupied your thoughts much before, or is it part of a broader them in your life?
I’d already pledged to use only half as much plastic for two months starting at the same time, and for me the two commitments go hand-in-hand. We all know that the world would be fairer and healthier if we used up less stuff, but I seem to spend my life making excuses not to change anything. What I’m hoping is that I’ll find it really easy to use up less stuff and that I’ll just carry on, liberated, at the end. That’s what I’m hoping, but I doubt it’ll happen. It’s called a ‘challenge’, after all.
Are there any particular elements of the experience that you’re expecting to find hardest?
I think maybe five years ago I could have taken the challenge and barely noticed. The thing is, though, these days I really like getting dressed. I have lots of clothes (my girlfriend might say too many, but that’s only because she’d like some storage space back), mostly from charity shops, and I love them all. I like putting outfits together and I like looking in the mirror. I plan to continue these activities and have a lovely time getting creative with accessories during the challenge.
Which are the lucky pieces of clothing that are making the grade for your six weeks of austerity?
I’ve already spent hours daydreaming about which items I should choose and how they will go together. I’ll definitely include one pair of jeans (skinny), one pair of shorts (city), a t-shirt and a button-up shirt (both bright, but complementary). I’ll also need a jumper, which gives me one item left to play with. I’m thinking of a dress, but it may have to be a second jumper. Choosing the jumper is the hardest part. I did briefly consider taking the challenge with one pair of jeans and five jumpers, but that would have been silly.
What’s your before and after scenario?
So. Hopefully I’ll bore myself into learning how to accessorise, and end up trying things I’ve never yet been confident enough to try. There may be situations where I feel none of my outfits is quite right (though, frankly, everything I’m choosing is outright gorgeous so I’m sure they’ll do). I’m expecting to think people are judging me for wearing the same clothes too often, which will serve me right for the times in the past I’ve judged people for not wearing the same clothes often enough.
I’m already looking forward to the end of the challenge, and I’ll doubtless while away many an idle moment in planning my first ‘off-list’ outfit. I do think it’ll be a good time for a clear-out, though. I think I’ll have a better idea of how many clothes I actually need, which is probably more than six in the long term, but can’t possibly be as many as I have now.