Just before lockdown hit the shops were inundated with people panic buying food and toilet rolls (nope we still don’t quite know why!), I went out to grab all we needed for home schooling and questioned if I had enough, we had no idea how we would all manage or how well stocked supermarkets would be and the unknown about how long this would go on for had a lot of us worried. But nobody really needed to panic, did they? As I write this, 12 weeks have passed. We have managed a full supermarket shop each week with no trouble, our milk was still delivered by our milkman, the pet shops were open for those supplies and guess what? I didn’t care one bit that I couldn’t go clothes shopping even with the kids growing out of things. So, what changed me and what does this now mean for the future?
No Pressure To Look Good
This surely has to be the biggest change for every one of us? We have been stuck at home, not seeing many people (usually just the postman or a neighbour), we’ve had nowhere to be and therefore zero pressure to look good. I have found this absolutely liberating! I haven’t stared at myself in the mirror checking how I look, I haven’t wasted time trying to decide what to put on and I have only applied makeup twice in 12 weeks! I haven’t even thought about buying new clothes. Why would I? I’m not going out or have any events to attend. I have no need to buy and again, that has felt amazing. How many of us feel these pressures to look good every single day from the fashion industries or through the media? How many of us buy items that will never be worn? How many of us have only bought things just because they are there in a shop and just simply because we can? Yep, all guilty. And as lovely as it is to treat yourself, we do this too often simply because we want to have different outfits to be seen in.
Money In The Bank
The lack of open shops has meant less spending (don’t get me wrong I’ve done some online shopping) which means that my bank balance is finally liking me again! My eyes have been opened to how much money I needlessly spend and I do this as I mentioned above… just because I can. I mean shopping isn’t just shopping is it? It’s car park, snacks, a cuppa in Costa, treats for the kids, lots of ‘Oh I could do with one of those’ moments. It just spirals and that is going to change from now on.
Fast Fashion Reflection
This time has also given me the opportunity to really think about fast fashion. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t need these items, I’ve realised I waste too much money and I know full well that I’ve had my head in the sand when it comes to the way in which our clothes damage the environment. The thing is, I have watched the documentaries, I have read a little on this but I didn’t want to face it because going to Primark for those cheap items was easy, it was affordable and I liked it. Now it’s not there, I do not miss it and it has made me completely question why we all shop the way we do. And now I circle back around to that pressure pointer I made above. Fast fashion is dangerous in a lot of ways; spending money you may not have, buying to make yourself feel good, buying because others have it, media images but what we can’t see and what we all need to research is how it’s made, what goes into the processes, how the workers are treated, where the waste goes, how much carbon is produced during production, the carbon footprint of getting it into store, where the returns end up… The list goes on and on, and when you begin to delve into this world, you start to see exactly how ugly it is.
I want to write additional posts on all of this because there is just far too much to get down in one blog but here are a few figures I have recently read…
According to the Environmental Protection Agency:
- 15.1 million tons of textile clothing waste was produced in 2013 alone.
- Every year the world as a whole consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing.
- The fashion industry is the second greatest polluter of local freshwater in the world and it is responsible for 10% of the carbon footprint of the world.
- Almost 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make polyester fibre, the most frequently used fibre in clothing. And it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
- Cheap synthetic fibres also emit gasses like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
- Plastic microfibers shed from synthetic clothing account for 85% of the human-made material found on ocean shores.
Slow fashion has to be the way forward and that is my next sustainable lifestyle focus.
No shops has led us all to just make do. Yeah so the kid’s trousers are all a bit around their ankles now, Jake’s jeans are torn and some t-shirts are riding up but do you know what? It doesn’t matter. That would have bothered me so much before lockdown happened and they would have been marched to the shops to look for bigger items. But this time has meant that their clothes have got more wear out of them, I haven’t stressed at them rolling on the floor, rolling down hills, playing in the mud and so on because they no longer have nice new clothes. I will now be looking for more items for them on eBay over the high street.
Buying Only What Is Needed
We have made purchases but as these have all been online and we have only bought what we needed. I hate wasting my time scrolling through websites to find what I want which means I will only really do this when I know precisely what it is I’m looking for. Our purchases have included crafts for the kids, a skateboard for Jake, books for the kids, helmets for bike riding and a few things for home improvements. We have really cut back and when we have needed something that we have struggled to get online we turned to other ideas. I wanted a planter for our veg to go into and as we had the time, I made one out of a pallet we’d had in the garage for a year. I managed to buy a secondhand bike from Facebook Marketplace for a great price but I really struggled to find a child seat so I did something I would never ever usually do: I asked for help on my Facebook page. This would normally be way out of my comfort zone (I don’t do asking for help!) and yet it led to the perfect situation. An old friend had a seat she needed out of their house and offered it to us for free. It just goes to prove that a circular economy is also the way forward and we need to stop looking for new first when we already have items out there.
Lockdown has been a rollercoaster in many ways but I really do hope that some positive changes will come about from it all. I think our shopping habits as a society need to completely alter and shopping small, shopping secondhand, shopping sustainably and ethically are all in my future plans. No major shopping during lockdown has changed us, has it changed you?
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