For the sake of her bursting wardrobe, wallet and the planet, our style editor is trying to stop shopping. Here’s why and how she’s attempting to do so..
Hi, my name is Nafeesa and I’m a former shopaholic (although my addiction isn’t half as bad as *cough* my editor’s*). These days, you’ll rarely find me squandering my dollars away on clothes, bags, and other ephemeral things. But that doesn’t mean I don’t falter. As you can imagine, the struggle is real for I was the former high street and Taobao maven. Read on to find out why I’ve taken on this mammoth endeavour, and why you should too..
Why I stopped shopping
Shopping and product fatigue
I find the idea of shopping exhausting now, and if the current retail crisis is any indication, so do many others. It’s called shopping fatigue. I can’t deal with malls. The bright lights, crowds and overly loud EDM blasting on the speakers does not make for a pleasant way to explore the aisles, and try on your picks.
And then there’s online shopping. I used to stay up till the wee hours just sifting through massive catalogues, adding things into my cart without a care (mindless consumption at its best). But sometimes having too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and after some time, I got tired of having too many options and decided I’d rather use all that screen time on Netflix instead.
The era of minimalism
Have you ever felt sick of owning stuff? I’ll fess up and say that I’ve had mountains of clothes (I’m not exaggerating) pile up in my wardrobe. I’ve had to do rounds of purging by giving them away to friends, my former helper (to distribute to her family back home), charity stores and upcycle bins in stores. There’s no way I’m going back to that mess above, so I’ve vowed to keep it minimal. Still can’t do the capsule wardrobe (let’s not go crazy here) though.
Genuine worry for the planet
But while charity stores and upcycle bins have always been the popular options for offloading your unwanted threads (and your guilt), they aren’t a long term solution. The world is now seeing an excess in secondhand clothes, so it won’t surprise you that only 0.1% of these are remade into new textile fibres. The rest are sent to landfills where some release toxic methane while others take hundreds to thousands of years to degrade.
So how does one stop shopping?
The secret’s out: I rent my clothes. I’m a proud member of StyleTheory: a subscription-based fashion app that lets you rent designer items at $129 a month. With this fixed rate, you get to pick three items to fill a box, and you can exchange that box for an all new one whenever you like. Commitment is zero – laundry, as well as pick up and delivery are covered. Now I never have to repeat outfits for gal pal outings, date nights, and the media events I frequently attend as part of my job. My clothing options are now infinite, and the planet doesn’t have to suffer.
Swapping has yet to catch on in Singapore, but the people at Swapaholic are doing a fine job of championing the movement. At these events, you simply pay an admission fee that goes to local charities, and swap your items with others. We’d suggest doing this with friends too. Bring the booze, and giggle your way through all your “what-was-I-thinking” wardrobe choices!
Set your ground rules
While I’m trying to stop shopping, I’ve given myself some leeway with exceptions. I shop when I need to, like for major occasions and vacay #ootds. I also shop when on holiday. There’s no way I’m saying no to that!
And once you’ve set those ground rules, know your limits. If you’re shopping for something to wear on vacation, make sure it’s an item you can wear repeatedly, and are proud to wear. Shopping on holiday? Only buy items you don’t already have in your wardrobe and are made by local businesses. Which brings me to my next point.
Support sustainable brands
If you have to shop, shop with a conscience. Think about where you’re putting your hard-earned money, and who’s benefiting from it. Brands like MATTER and Baliza work with artisans in less developed areas who use eco-friendly fabrics and deliver impeccable craftsmanship. Sustainable fashion does have a higher price point, but if you’re shelling out money for clothes, pay for quality, planet-friendly fabrics. They’ll last longer too. Read our interview with Green is the New Black founder Stephanie Dickson on how she juggles her love for fashion with the battle to reduce environmental consumption.
Make secondhand cool again
If you’re dying to own a specific item, check out Carousell, as it’s a treasure trove of items, with many barely worn, or not worn at all. Alternatively, make thrifting cool again – visit these secondhand stores for vintage bags, one-off designer coats and ‘70s sunnies.
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