What made you become part of the challenge?
A friend once gave me a card with the quote “I save my principles for big occasions.” Although I live a much more ethical day-to-day since then, I can and want to do better.
Have you always thought about fashion from an ethical standpoint, or is it something new to you?
Although most of my clothes are second hand – from swap piles or vintage shops – I still regularly spend time in the high street. Like shopping at Asda or eating meat, I find it a difficult habit to give up completely. So yes, I have been thinking about fashion from an ethical standpoint for a long time, but want to do more to put that thinking into practice.
What other themes are you thinking of in relation to the challenge; sustainability? Thriftiness? Reducing consumption? Personal identity?
I have quite a fashion forward taste, but am not good at making all the different elements of a look come together. This on top of my efforts to live a simple, sustainable, thrifty, and non-consumerist lifestyle, means my wardrobe is a tale of hit-and-miss, with lots of points for effort but not many for result.
Since becoming a mother, my activisty look has further deteriorated into boring hoodies and tracksuits. I can joke about it endlessly, but it bothers me that I don’t manage to look good at a time when I start to feel confident about my life and the choices I make.
So, besides fundraising for Labour Behind the Label and promoting sustainable fashion, I will use this challenge to develop an ethical yet stylish look that expresses my personality and growing self-respect.
How are you preparing yourself?
I have picked my items, locked up all my other clothes and made a display of some of my more outspoken accessories. I have thought up alterations to try out and will work with Manchester’s upcycling collective Stiched Up! to learn how to make them.
What are you expecting to be the most difficult?
To stay creative. I could easily live in the same four pieces of clothing for weeks, and the danger is that when the novelty of the challenge wears off I will lazily grab whichever item is not in the wash instead of focussing on my restyling project. My battle plan is to continuously work on one of my fashion struggles and involve stylish people for practical and moral support.
Also, wearing a 1970s polyester wedding dress in public is going to take courage. A dare from a friend; what can I say…
What do you think you’ll experience during / after the challenge?
Hopefully a lot of ‘ah, is that how you do it?!’ moments during the challenge and a new confidence in my sense of style and commitment to sustainability afterwards.
Have you chosen your items yet? If you have, what are they?
Yes. Apart from said wedding dress, I have gone for plain, comfortable, enough fabric to cut some off, and no favourite clothes (in case I get sick of them). As of 6 pm, 30 June, my wardrobe consists of a pair of black and white woollen trousers, a vintage teak coloured shirt dress, a multifunctional black sweater/cardigan, two t-shirts (one burgundy, one yellow), plus a glaringly white wedding dress.