Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Say no to new!

Struggling to find a new year's resolution? How about pledging not to buy new clothes for a year?

Our obsession with buying cheap new clothes and throwing them away has fostered a shocking culture of waste.

However, Newbury mother-of-two Victoria Lochhead is at the forefront of a national campaign to challenge customers to say no to new outfits and spend 2014 only buying vintage and second-hand clothes.

Victoria, owner of image consultancy Victoria’s Wardrobe, said the idea behind the campaign is to encourage people to think more carefully about where they spend their money, and about reducing waste.

According to recent figures, thanks to the low prices enjoyed by clothing consumers in the UK, 10,000 items of clothing are sent to landfill every five minutes, adding up to a shocking 1bn tonnes of textiles a year.

Victoria is organising a series of events throughout the year that she hopes will inspire people to turn their backs on fast fashion and to “say no to new”.

She said: “We’re asking people to join us by pledging not to buy new clothes throughout 2014 on our “say no to new” facebook page. The idea is to highlight how much is wasted by our attitudes to fast fashion.

“In my work as an image consultant, I’m regularly asked to help people who are overwhelmed by their wardrobes. I often find the same item in there seven or eight times.

“As well as the cost of buying new clothes, if you buy second hand, from charity shops, eBay and clothes recycling outlets, then you’re more likely to buy good quality pieces.

“People who have 70-80 pairs of shoes are not uncommon and I recently helped a lady who had 16 pairs of identical trousers, some with the tags still attached. Half of a woman’s clothes in her wardrobe don’t suit her, don’t fit or don’t make her feel great. It’s said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.

There are some exceptions to Victoria’s challenge including underwear and swim wear.

“It’s the rise of fast fashion in recent years that has enabled people to buy something cheaply, wear it once and then throw it away.”
Along with her business partner Jo Marshall, with whom Victoria shares a market stall on Saturdays in Newbury, the pair run revamping workshops to encourage people to make the most of clothes that they might have considered throwing away.
“We like to encourage people to share, swap and revamp,” Victoria continued. “I recently heard about a lady who bought a jacket from a high street store, and the button came off, so instead of sewing another one back on, she threw away the jacket and bought an identical one.
“That kind of behaviour is just not sustainable. If you pay £4 for a top, then you have to consider how much the person who made it got paid and under what conditions.
“My vision is to see a fashion industry in which people waste less and love what they have.”


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