Eco-Guilt

If you opened up the doors to my wardrobe today, you’d be met with the majority of what you would have been if you had opened it up 3, for some pieces even 5, years ago, barring a few changes. And that’s not because I am on an Eco- journey, although I would love to tell you it was. It’s because I am a reluctant shopper. No, let me rephrase that – I hate shopping. I always have and I always will.

I am the guy who will buy a jumper and a pair of jeans and wear them until they are faded, ripped and almost unrecognisable in comparison to what they were. And even then, I’ll mend them, accept the new faded colour, and convince myself that the baggy style is “cool, edgy, different” and continue to wear them until I am painfully aware that I just can’t no more. At that point, with a saddened guilt filled heart, I’ll resign the garments to the pile of fabric that I am convinced will come in handy at some point in the feature. Why do I do this? Because I can’t be bothered with the hassle of shopping. I am reluctant to spend excessively, I hate purchasing blindly online, my body measurements are seemingly un-caterable, and for the life of me I can’t find my go-to style (although I am great at doing this for others, I must admit).

Selfishly but honestly, my shopping pitfall is one of the reasons the Eco-life called to me. Of course I could see the benefit of shopping less, particularly for clothes – I truly could. But for me, it was a relief to advocate for slower consumption as it meant I could cling to my old things because it gave me a new, legit, reason to. I now had a noble point to prove; a true excuse to turn my back on the hassles of the high-street. The few Eco, ethical and sustainable points that I was aware of, at that point, were only added benefits, the icing on the cake, and they were good enough reasons for me to continue walking the streets in my out of shape gear, and to completely disregard what I knew was a mess that I saw in the reflections of the shop windows I passed because I no longer couldn’t be bothered to deal with the hassle of shopping; I was now doing my bit for the planet instead.

But that placebo effect soon wore off. I didn’t and still don’t feel as clean cut as I would like. I know that my clothes need replacing, I don’t feel my best in the streets, and I want my style to evolve. I need a change. But since learning about the complex Eco, ethical and sustainable reasons behind why we should be consuming less,and why we should really consider where we spend our coin, I feel guilty for wanting to buy myself a new wardrobe even though I know I will keep it for years to come, as I have done with the current, and that i will look after it with greater care now that I am more aware. But as a direct consequence, I now stress about the impact my thrown out clothes will have, wherever they end up – whether that be the charity shops that are overflowing, the rag pile in my cupboard that is destined to become something at some point, or, inevitably for some garments, landfill.

And, I also stress over the impact the new clothes have already had. I know in my heart of hearts that to buy second hand is the best option. I know that, and wholeheartedly agree. But I also know that I can’t be bothered with the hassle of having to go from place to place, hunting high and hunting low, rummaging around the rails with a desperate hope of finding something that will A) be something I could consider wearing, B) not have shrunk down from the size it says on it’s label, and C) is something that is not already on its last legs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a leisurely rummage in the vintage stores, but the key word here is leisurely. I adore doing it when the element of surprise can brighten my day – when I know that I don’t really need anything. But the thought of having to find my entire wardrobe fills me with dread and almost has me wanting to log onto the popular fast fashion website that-must-not-be-named (let’s not boost their SEO). Then I think about the research I’ve read, and I can’t bare to support the fast fashion industry like that. I do hear that the internet is popping these days though with websites and apps that enable you to buy second hand clothes online. But even that’s a gamble for me. I need to feel it and see it to believe it. Also, buying directly from a seller means there is no 3rd party screening of the garments, and personally, I don’t like surprises. But, that is the gamble I guess.

TRULY, IT’S A CATCH 22.

However, in writing this Chiefs’ Journal entry, I may have discovered a way forward for myself within my situation. To be able to move forward past the Eco-guilt, I will allow myself a compromise; If I find something brand new that I desperately love, I will buy it and not feel guilty about doing so because I know that I will look after it, cherish it, and that I will wear it to death. But it has to be perfect. With that being said, I am not letting myself go completely off the rails. First and foremost I will be supporting local thrift/ charity/ vintage shops and online second hand sites, and I will only be purchasing brand new from retailers who I deem environmentally, ethically and sustainably responsible enough to warrant my hard earned cash. It’s going to be a long road, but piece by piece I am going to rebuild myself a new wardrobe, discover my own sense of style, and allow myself a more clean-cut lease of life.

Anyhow,  I’ll be back with another entry soon, but right now I’m downloading depop.

Stay Safe,

Tom

Editor-in-Chief

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