Friday, January 13, 2012

Buy nothing year?

I didn't make a new years resolution but on the 2nd of January there was a documentary on TV that definitely made me think that Buy Nothing Year might be one. Overal spullen / Stuff Everywhere by Judith de Leeuw painstakingly reveals how much stuff she has in her house, because she sets out to count it all! Not a small nor easy task. Eventually she ends up exhibiting it all in a big empty hall, categorized by type and neatly laid out flat (Things Organized Neatly style) Passers by look at the stuff and try to say something about the owner, confrontation and reflection on how stuff reflects who we are.
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well, at this point the New Years resolution was already too late, because I had already been to the sales, my bi-yearly fashion fix and bought a lambswool sweater and 4 pairs of woollen stockings (you never know when they go out of fashion).
So too late to really stick with the good intentions. Earlier on I had read about the 5 pieces wardrobe principle, there is even a Facebook group for that.. I liked the idea of 5 pieces wardrobe. It's not buying nothing, but it limits your retail-therapy and it's a principle that creates awareness of your consumption patterns and what's worth investing in.
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The girls from the Free Fashion Challenge are definitely more brave than me, they really take the challenge, stopped buying clothes for one year. It's an experiment and they will record their reactions and experiences. What happens when fashion addicts kick off? and how is it that fashion has become more about consumption than self-expression?
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There is also a group on Flickr called Fabricate fashion. These people are challenging themselves to make or buy only handmade for their wardrobe for a year. A good excuse to get creative, use up their fabric and yarn stash and avoid consuming mass-manufactured goods.

So when I initially thought about this new years resolution, I really thought about buying nothing, nothing at all, not just fashion, excluding daily necessities of course. I think I have enough, there is actually not much I really need. And on-top of that I like to think of myself as a creative person with lots of yarn and fabric stash so I should be able to provide myself for a year and I could organize the occasional swap-party. But I have already relaxed my criteria, I think it's ok to buy second-hand and maybe there are just a couple of things I really need like a fully automatic espresso machine and a Media Player that can easily play content from my HD and internet on my telly. (ironic, but true) So even if I will not manage completely at least I question myself more if it's really necessary to buy something.

Besides from that an odd feeling of disloyalty to the Economy starting to creep onto me. I started to think through that if we all start to buy nothing, the economy will stop. That is really scary, the continuation of the economy as we know it all depends on us keeping consuming. There is something utterly dis-functional about that system, it must be possible to think of another kind of economy, one where the re-circulation of goods is stimulated and rewarded. Where the first time consumption of raw materials is priced according to the environmental impact of the total costs to the environment. Well I'm not an economist so these are just a couple of ideas.

Thanks to Claudia and Jacqueline for inspiring me to write this piece
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