Zen-like calm or sequinned mayhem?

We spoke to Laura, one of our keen new Challengers… She had some interesting thoughts for us on the Challenge ahead:

What made you become part of the challenge?
I’ve just started supporting Labour Behind the Label and when I got an email about the challenge I jumped at the chance! I’ve built up a massive collection of dresses and skirts over the years, a lot in recent years from charity shops, and I feel like I need reminding about how much individual items are actually worth. As I’ve read more about the damage that fast fashion does to the planet and to garment workers, I really want to act, even in a small way, to help raise money and awareness.

Have you always thought about fashion from an ethical standpoint, or is it something new to you?
I’ve always cared, and tried to think about, the world around me, but I’m certainly no saint. The rise of fast fashion has certainly got its charms: being able to buy a skirt for the price of a sandwich is great if you love variety as much as I do, and I embraced it at first, until I read increasing numbers of newspaper articles and thought about how these items were being produced. A couple of years ago, I set myself the challenge of buying all my clothes second hand (not undies…) and I’ve pretty much stuck to it: it helps that Hammersmith, where I work, has a great collection of charity shops, including a branch of TRAID which has brilliant sales (all items £3!)

What other themes are you thinking of in relation to the challenge; sustainability? Thriftiness? Reducing consumption? Personal identity?
Sustainability and reducing consumption definitely – I’m a bit of a greenie. Thriftiness is definitely something I’m thinking about – I’m about to turn 30 and am increasingly inclined to try to be sensible and beef up my savings account, which means less skirts. I also want to be a bit more reflective about what I own and what it means to me, if that doesn’t sound too hippyish! The creative element of it really appeals to me too – I reckon it’ll be fun.

How are you preparing yourself?
By gazing lovingly/longingly at my dresses as I try to narrow it down…

What are expecting to be the most difficult?
I’ll get bored!

What do you think you’ll experience during / after the challenge?
I don’t really know what to expect: a zen like calm and rejection of material goods, or a desperate craving for sequins and spangles. It could go either way to be fair.

Have you chosen your items yet? If you have, what are they?
I haven’t chosen them all yet, and am currently weighing up whether to try and be strategic, or just go with my heart and pick 6 faves. My boyfriend has put in a request for his favourite dress however – I’m going to get him to sponsor it!

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