Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Uudet uudet vaatteet / New new clothes

Päätin osallistua Vuosi ilman uusia vaatteita-haasteeseen. Pääpaino haasteen tittelissä on sanalla uusia. Haaste nimittäin kehottaa ihmisiä kierrättämään ja ostamaan vaatteensa kirpputoreilta. Sehän minulle sopii, koska ostan joka tapauksessa suuren osan vaatteistani kirppareilta. Viimeisen vuoden aikana olen kuitenkin poikkeuksellisesti ostanut joitakin vaatteita uutena: olen ostanut kahdet nahkakengät, kaksi puuvillatoppia, kahdet rintsikat ja kaksi college-paitaa. Lisäksi ostin kesällä kahdet miesten uimashortsit, vaikka olisin ihan hyvin pärjännyt yksillä.

Kun annoin itselleni luvan ostaa ne ensimmäiset nahkakengät, ajattelin, etten osta mitään muuta uutena koko vuonna. Samalla nettikauppaklikkauksella tilasin kuitenkin kivan college-paidan, koska se oli alennuksessa. Kengät olivat ihan hyvä ostos, kuten myös se paita. Olen käyttänyt molempia. Niinpä kun nettiostokset osoittautuivat onnistuneiksi, minun oli liiankin helppoa palata takaisin nettikauppaan "vain katselemaan". Ennen kuin tiesinkään, olin jo viimeistelemässä uutta tilausta samasta nettikaupasta. 

En ole ostanut mitään täysin turhaa. Puuvillatopit ja rintsikat ostin tarpeeseen. Kengät tulivat työkengiksi. Olisin toki voinut elää ilman niitä college-paitoja. Uimahousuista olisin voinut jättää toiset pois. Voisi siis olla pahemminkin, mutta poden silti syyllisyyttä. Minulla ei ole mitään syytä ostaa uusia uusia vaatteita. 

Olen huomannut, että uuden ostamiseen jää helpommin koukkuun kuin kirppariostoksiin. Vaikka kirppareilla on helppo sortua "ostan kun tää nyt on niin halpa"-ajatteluun, on uusien uusien vaatteiden huuma jotain ihan toista. Netistä tilattu paketti rapisee mukavasti, silkkipaperi väistyy tieltä, ja aistit valtaa uudelta puuvillan väriaineelta tuoksuva ja napakalta, pesemättömältä kankaalta tuntuva ihan uusi uusi vaate. Netistä tilatussa korkkaamattomassa vaatteessa on jotain neitseellistä. Ihan kuin se olisi olemassa vain minua varten, ihan kuin nettikaupan varaston rekillä ei muka roikkuisi sataa samasta kaavasta tehtyä riepua.

Maailma kuitenkin on täynnä tavaraa, vaikkemme sitä aina muistaisikaan nähdä. Emme tarvitse uutta, varsinkaan, koska vanha tavara on usein parempilaatuisempaa, persoonallisempaakin. Vanhalla tavaralla on paljon mielenkiintoisempi tarina kuin uudella. Välitän kirpparivaatteistani enemmän kuin uutena ostamistani. Niinpä liityn joukkoon iloiseen: en osta vuoteen uusia uusia vaatteita. Paitsi ehkä sukkahousuja. Syksy tulee.

I decided to take part in A Year Without New Clothes-challenge. The emphasis is on the word newThe purpose of the challenge is to help people recognize the unsustainable nature of the fast-fashion industry. The challenge encourages people to recycle and to buy clothes from flea markets and charity stores. That's fine by me, because I tend to buy almost all of my clothes from flea markets anyway. Except that in the past year or so, I have bought some new new clothes. I have bought two pairs of leather shoes, two tank tops, two bras and two sweatshirts. I also bought two pairs of men's swimming trunks when I only needed one pair.

When I gave myself permission to buy the first pair of shoes early this year, I thought to myself that I wasn't going to buy anything else that was new. However, I clicked a sweatshirt into my online shopping basket as well, because it was nice and it was on sale. The shoes were a decent purchase, as was the sweatshirt. I've worn them both. But since that first online shopping experience had been a quick, easy success, it felt way too easy to come back some weeks later, "just to browse". Before I knew it, I was submitting a new order.

I haven't bought anything completely useless. I needed the tank tops and the bras, as my old ones were falling apart. I wear the shoes to work. I could have lived without the sweatshirts and the second pair of swimming trunks. It could be a lot worse, I guess, but I still feel guilty. There is no excuse for buying new new clothes.

I've noticed that shopping for new clothes is much more dangerous than flea marketing. It is perhaps easier to accumulate a lot of clothes at flea markets because everything is so cheap, but the thrill of new new clothes is a whole different ball game. There is something intoxicating about new clothes. The ruffling sound of tissue paper as one opens the parcel from an online store, the slight scent of fabric dye, the firm, unwashed feel of the textile. It's as if those spiffing new clothes only existed for me. It's easy to fool oneself into thinking that, especially when you don't get a glimpse into the online store's storage facility, where hundreds of identical pieces of clothing fill every corner. 

We know that the world is full of stuff already. We don't need new stuff, especially since the old stuff is often of better quality, and it has more personality. The old stuff always has a story. And in the end, I care about my flea market finds much more than the new clothes I've bought. So here it is, then: no new clothes for an entire year. Although I might need some tights. Fall is upon us.


  1. Good luck! I broke down and bought a few new things this year. When I got sick and lost a lot of weight I bought some American Apparel babydoll dresses and leggings so I could wear them to work since nothing else fit. I didn't have the time to go shopping diligently at resale shops although I usually enjoy it. I also have a hard time finding basics to wear like well-fitting but not faded t-shirts so I bought 4 t-shirts from Threads for Thought. I just try to be mindful about it and to always try to get used stuff first. Now that I'm well again hopefully I'll have more time to dig in the racks to find what I want used.

    1. Man, it sucks that you were sick. You shouldn't feel bad about having bought new clothes at a time like that - sometimes life gets in the way of us doing things the way we'd prefer to do them. But I'm glad that you are feeling much better now! And you are right: being mindful is the key. It's not like we should never-ever-ever buy new clothes. It's a question of being able to stand by our decisions. I had no reason whatsoever to buy new clothes in the past year or so (I have also thrifted plenty!), and I was drifting toward my old, bad ways. So in that sense, the challenge seems very fitting.

  2. I love this challenge. Fast fashion especially drives me nuts--not just the waste, the sweatshops, etc. but the...frenetic, hysterical pace of it. So much crap, TOO many choices, ugh, it's exhausting and taxes my already fragile triaging/decision-making abilities past bearing! It's funny....because the time (the 70s) place (Berkeley CA) and manner (seriously poor, with Depression-era parents) in which I grew up pretty much 'programmed' me to live secondhand automatically. So in the last year or so, I've bought new a couple of pairs of walking shoes after I began having serious heel problems, some underthings and tights, and two novelty print tops--one with Vespa scooters, and one with....of course....cats. I still own too much stuff, but at least I feel good about it, it didn't bankrupt me,, and it's basically all secondhand to really old and yes, full of personality! (I just realized a thrifted floral plate of mine is actually Victorian. I'm oddly thrilled, that being an era with which I've always been fascinated. If only that plate could talk!) Anyway, I so agree that 'mindful' is the word here. As well as practical, I suppose, since certain things (like bras) pretty much need to be bought new, and for me at least, comfortable shoes which actually fit. I have found that if my feet aren't happy I can't be happy... :-) Thank you for bringing up such an interesting subject that's also close to my heart.

    1. I totally agree. What really bugs me about fast pace of fashion is the restlessness of it. As if we couldn't stand still and like something for longer than 5 minutes, you know? As if everything constant had to be rejected, that we couldn't possibly love a piece of clothing for life. And what disturbs me is that every other season the message from even high-end "real" fashion is "investment pieces", "looks that last", "real clothes, and the next season is "something fun, something new", "it's time to move away from the classics". It's nuts.