Liz’s international climate challenge…

Hi Liz, we’re really excited you’re doing the Six Items Challenge, especially when you have so much else on… what made you want to step up to it?

I’ve decided to give up buying and recieving clothes, shoes and accessories for a year and so, having only 6 items to wear for the next 6 weeks to raise some money for Labour Behind the Label and raise the profile of the people working to make our clothes seemed like a natural next step. I’m going to be in Argentina during this time too, where the temperature is around 25degrees, which is quite a contrast to my ice box office in rural Wiltshire.

I’m interested in the challenge, but I’m also really intrigued to know more about my relationship with clothes. I don’t feel like I think about it most of the time, but already, just thinking about what to wear for the next 6 weeks has sent me into a bit of panic! I hope that by the end of the 6 weeks, I’ll have a better sense of why. I lecture for fashion students at universities and I’m hoping that the insights I gain will be a valuable source to draw on for that too.

It sounds like ethical fashion is already close to your heart?

I worked for Labour Behind the Label for over 5 years and before that, I was based in the office next door to them, working for another ethical cause, so I’ve certainly been thinking about ethics and fashion for all my professional life.

What other ideas do you think will influence you during the challenge?

I thought that giving up buying clothes for a year was quite a challenge until I met someone who had not bought clothes for three and a half years and was intending never to buy clothes again. It has really got me thinking: Wouldn’t we buy really different clothes if we thought they had to last forever?  In what way is the identity I want to project to the world wrapped up with the clothes I wear and, am I prepared to make a bit more effort than I do to find ways of doing this rather than just acquiring new clothes? So, I’m basically keen to explore everything to do with clothing, me and the people that make them.

And, what preparations are underway now that the Challenge has almost begun?

I’ve taken all my clothes out of my wardrobe and stored them for the time of the challenge and it has made me realise what a load of old rubbish I have!  Beige flared jeans that might have vaguely been ok as part of the skater look in the 1990s, but very, very wrong now. Why have I kept them for nearly 20 years?

What will challenge you most, personally?

Keeping warm in my office and being cool enough in Argentina!

And the inevitable question: what will you be wearing to try and cover 6 weeks of eventualities?

I’ve shortlisted 8 items, but I’m struggling to choose between jeans and a top or a dress and a top to wear underneath. 3 dresses and a cardigan are definites..


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