It’s New Challenge Time!


At the start of September I committed to ‘No New Clothes for a Year’. This challenge initially came on my radar because of Katie Roberts’ lovely blog Sustainability in Style. I followed her year long challenge with interest, of course it helps that she takes lovely photos and writes about everything with passion and clarity. A wee thought took hold for me ‘could I do this?’. I pushed it aside while saying to myself ‘maybe after I get that work top…or that coat…or those new jodhpurs’. I had reduced my consumption hugely, I know the ethics of everything I buy and try to buy #secondhandfirst when I can. However, I have enough clothing but I still buy more – I want to save more money and pay off my debts. I want to have a wardrobe that exists for me and fits into my life. I also hope to focus more on learning how to implement more eco principles in other areas of my life.

I have seen Ceri of Style Eyes Ethical Fashion take the plunge earlier this year and when Jen Gale of the wonderful My Make Do and Mend Life blog put out her post about giving up buying clothing, inspired by an interview Katie did which you can read using the link at the bottom of post – I thought ‘Oh screw it, let’s do this thing’. The idea of a Facebook group to help with a sense of community and setting my own rules helped.

So from the 1st of September:

  • no new clothes except underwear and jodhpurs if they rip
  • no secondhand clothes
  • no new or secondhand shoes except running shoes if required, my knees immediately tell me when
  • I can buy fabric and yarn to make clothes

The last point I included as I have only just started to make clothing and I have no fabric stash or yarn stash unless you count some net style fabric printed with silver ghosts. Also I am on week 2 of a 4 week dressmaking course booked pre-challenge and I am also working my way through the Colette Wardrobe Architect worksheets and exercises which are helping me narrow down what I want to make into a list of patterns for items that fit my style and my life. I am really enjoying it and will share my progress on the blog soon – I finally managed to define my style with 5 words.

The other big exciting thing happening is a trip to Cumbrian Heavy Horses this weekend – expect Instagram to be filled with horses and a full roundup on the blog (eventually, the Annaharvey post is coming I promise). Oh and we are getting a dog – he is bound to randomly crop up on the blog and expect a lot of #dogspam on the Instagram account – you have been warned!

What do people think, is this a good challenge to participate in? Could you do it? Would you do it? Is there any point in it?

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4 thoughts on “It’s New Challenge Time!”

  1. Good on you! I’ll be sitting out that challenge. I am almost at the end of my 3rd year of rationing and as many of my clothes are threadbare, I am REALLY looking forward to not having to weigh up a new skirt against three pairs of tights or knitting myself a sweater… I won’t be going mad come January but do look forward to being able to enjoy more making. I am thrilled to hear you are enjoying your dress making adventure! Also very intrigued to hear how the community element supports your journey next year, as online community and environmental behaviour change was the topic of my dissertation!

    1. Thanks Meg. I’ll be honest and say I wish I had kept doing the rationing challenge in many ways. It opened my eyes to how much I buy which I didn’t think was a lot. Following on from your challenge my consumption dropped for sure and without having done the WWC I don’t think I could contemplate this one. I can fully understand why you aren’t joining in with this one though!
      Your dissertation topic sounds fascinating, I am really intrigued to see how it helps. Certainly for the WWC having you, Jesse Anne, Franca and everyone else helped me to keep on track but I wonder if a Facebook group is the best way to do it. I will admit to sometimes feeling that Facebook isn’t the best way to have a full rounded discussion, maybe I am biased following my experience with the referendum though ☺
      I’m really excited about the dress making class, I think I do want my own machine although it is taking a back seat since our dog has arrived. I can only imagine his reaction to my crochet – I think a lot of yarn will be stolen!
      If it is okay with you I might share your blog with the group members, I have always found your posts informative and give me food for thought – I think others would enjoy them too.

  2. Hey Steph.

    Oh wow! I’m so far behind on your posts. Darn uni work! Hope that the challenge is going well. It seems that your beautiful furry puppy pal might be absorbing a lot of your time (rightly so). Very excited to have you on the Dressember challenge team. I have left space for your personal mission so if you want to email it to me I can add it to the page. Can’t wait to see what exciting adventures you undertake while wearing a dress this December.



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