Seamless Pledge

‘Tis the season, and with it comes the push to buy, buy, and buy some more. This year I’ve been thinking a lot about my behaviour as a consumer of clothing, yarn and fabric.   You see, I have a closet full of clothes, a large part of which I never wear – what a great amount of waste!  Also, even though I have amassed quite a large stash of fabric and yarn, I often feel a push to buy even more.  And what for?  I certainly don’t need all those clothes and there’s only so much time to use up the stash – my full-time job has a funny way of getting on the way of things, you see.

Partial view of the fabric stash

A few days ago Zoe had a post about the Seamless Pledge.  The master mind behind this endeavor is Elena Cresci, a British journalism student who blogs over at Seamless Blog.   In an effort to slow down the cycle of consuming fast fashion Elena has set out some rules around her shopping behaviour until mid next year, which I’ve paraphrased below:

  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. “New” means any new mass-manufactured clothes.
  2. You can buy second-hand manufactured  or vintage clothes.
  3. Anything you’ve made by hand (i.e. knitting and sewing) is definitely allowed.

As I read the details of her pledge I thought it quite timely given my own recent musings on this topic. Elena is encouraging others to join her and after some deliberation, I’ve decided to go for it. 

 I, Andrea of Stitch Parade, am taking the Seamless Pledge for the duration of the year 2012.  Between January 1 and December 31, 2012 I will abstain from buying any new clothes. I will fill the gaps in my wardrobe with clothes made or refashioned with my own two hands.   I will place emphasis on quality over quantity and will avoid, to the best of my ability, contributing to the cycle of fast fashion fuelled by consumerism. On that note, I will shop for materials from my own stash first. If I find myself in need of a garment that I can’t make myself, I will trawl through second-hand shops. 

There it is.  I’m a bit scared (a year without shopping seems like an awful long time!) but also very excited at the possibilities of all that I’ll learn in the process.   This is the perfect opportunity to get my act together to create a wearable wardrobe (how often do you stare at a closet full of clothes and find “nothing” to wear?) and to finally master the art of making trousers. I may even challenge myself and learn to make my own undies.  I’m looking forward to focusing on the process of producing quality garments and to decreasing the amount of waste I generate. Most importantly, I want to be more thoughtful in my choices around clothes making and clothes shopping.   I’ll be posting monthly reports on this space summarizing my highs and lows during this year-long process.

Do you ever think about the way you consume or is this not something on your radar?  Do you already live by the Seamless Pledge rules? Would you care to join the Seamless Pledge?

17 thoughts on “Seamless Pledge

  1. Wow, you are brave!
    I do think about the way I consume, and since I got back into sewing I’ve become even more aware and able to be more moderate. But I don’t think I’m at the point yet that I could go cold turkey for a year.

    • Well, I do love a challenge, and like I said before this could turn out to be really interesting or really ugly! Also, I don’t get started until January 1st so I’m stocking up on basics…

  2. As a veteran of the Wardrobe Refashion pledge and a current contributor at Refashion Co-Op, it’s definitely something I think about. And I have been mostly focused on shopping my stash this year– I really haven’t bought that much fabric, except for a few projects where I literally had nothing on hand that would work (for instance, a winter raincoat that will be one of my next projects). So it’s something I’m considering signing up for. Although I think I’d have to make an exception for bras– I know I’m going to have to replace a few within the next year, and I haven’t seen many options for sewing the smooth-cup padded style that I prefer to wear.

    • I had never heard of the Refashion Co-op before – thanks for bringing this group to my attention. And you know what? I didn’t even think about bras … or tights… yikes!

  3. Good for you! I’m making a similar pledge for next year where I can’t buy any fabric until I complete the many projects that I have planned. I don’t think I’d be able to completely do without shopping, although I don’t buy that much anyway! Good luck!

    • I’ll definitely be buying from my own stash next year so I’m right there with you. I’m really interested in seeing how this pledge plays out and to really look at my shopping behaviour and impulses and where those come from – and fabric shopping is part of that for sure!

  4. I do think about consumption – and I actually did a no buying 6 month stint a couple of years ago (I blogged about it in some depth). I prefer vintage and handmade (or high end RTW, which is almost too expensive to indulge in!) to mass produced fashion. Despite this, I have more clothing – of the vintage and homemade variety – than I could ever wear regularly. But I’m not going to take the pledge because I’d prefer to find my own way through the maze. I think it’s a great challenge and I support everyone who tries to find ways to consume less and think more. It’s just not for me at the moment.

    I’ll be following your progress with interest!

    • Kristin, I also have more clothes that I can wear regularly! My office building is located at the north end of the Eaton Centre and while I’ve never been a mall shopper, ever since I got this job two years ago I’ve found myself picking stuff up without thinking about it. I’m looking forward to being more mindful about these impulses and also about the clothes I make. I’ll be looking through your blog archives to read more about your own six month with no shopping.

  5. Wow, good for you! I’m mulling over taking this pledge, as I really want to limit my consumption of new, cheaply-made clothes, but I’m on the fence. It sounds a little more constrictive than my lifestyle allows (with my crazy work schedule, I have very little time to make things, and most of the things I wear all the time to work are beyond my skillset– jeans, raingear, etc.). But I think it’s a very worthwhile thing to do and I’d like to find a way to incorporate this thought into my life somehow. I’m excited to hear about your experiences and how you feel throughout this challenge!

    • I thought about this long and hard because of the work clothes aspect of things. I won’t be making too many work clothes because I have to wear suits to work and I’m not venturing into that territory, but I have enough suits to last me for more than a year so I should be okay!

  6. Good luck with the challenge, Andrea, and good on you! I’ve been thinking about joining this or a similar challenge like Ali’s Fashion on the Ration for a while. I’m still thinking about if it would be constructive for me. I don’t buy all that many new clothes as it is (apart from underwear and tights I think I’m at 3 pairs of shorts, a pair of leggins and two tops this year). I spend way more money on fabric than manufactured clothes. And of course, there’s shoes. And hats. Still, maybe I should just take the plunge and modify as I’m going along…

    • Wow – shorts, leggings and two tops? You really already live by this pledge! I need some moderation, not only in terms of RTW clothes but also in terms of fabric shopping. Wish me luck!

  7. That is a very interesting project and I’m sure you will be succeed… I always think about my shopping but I still have many items I rarely wear. Last summer I had a similar approach but non so strict. I will NEVER sign up for a thing like this, if it works like the ‘no sugar, no carbs’ diet I tried to implement last year, surely all what I will be thinking about is shopping, shopping and more shopping!

    Good luck with your project and no doubts you will have lots of fun and face all the difficulties with a brave spirit.

    • You’ll be hearing all about this in person. And if it’s like your ‘no carbs, no sugar’ diet, it will be all I think about all the time. It may get really boring to hang out with me…!

  8. Good for you! I decided over a year ago that I was going to stop clothes shopping and just focus on making. I found that it really wasn’t too difficult. I made it almost a whole year without purchasing any new clothes, and then I bought a couple of button up shirts for work this summer. So I don’t feel too bad. I’m still not really shopping. I have bought a couple pairs of shoes and made exception for underwear and tights. I’ve found that sewing has really changed the way I look at buying things. I’m much happier making!

  9. Hearing this was not so hard for you gives me confidence that it won’t be for me either. I’m thinking I may have to make exceptions for bras and tights as well. In addition to taking a hard look at my shopping impulses, I’m also really looking forward to growing my sewing skills as the year progresses. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Thinking about the way I consume (everything, not just clothing) is a constant in my life, so much so that it’s really become second nature. I pretty much don’t shop for clothes now, but I do purchase panties (though I’ve been wanting to make some for a year now), socks and new shoes when necessary. Compared to most women, my shoe collection is tiny, but I still have fun trying them on & wishing :) On the fence about joining the pledge, only because I buy so little as it is. But maybe it would simply up the ante a bit….

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