Last week, while E was getting his hair cut, I had to entertain myself in the West End for a couple of hours. It was dry and mild, I fancied a bit of a walk and I love this city so I was quite happy to wander round Carnaby Street and Oxford Street on my own. I wasn’t really in a position to be spending too much money but I was fairly ambushed by the sale signs out front of all the shops.
Oxford Street and its sales are nothing new to me, I’ve worked pretty much right on top of Oxford Circus for the last 12 years, but for some reason I just found all the aggressive signage a bit too much. I just wanted to have a walk, I didn’t feel the need to justify being there by spending money I didn’t have on things I didn’t need. OK, maybe Carnaby Street and Oxford Street are not the best places to try to be anything BUT a consumer but still…. Looking around, there seems to be nowhere you can meet or just be without having to be forced into the role of consumer. It’s impossible to go out without spending money, it’s an unofficial 10 quid “leaving the house” tax.
Then I came across this sign.
And I thought, that’s it. Less. More or less 50% less but less nevertheless.
I’m not going to buy any more clothes for as long as I can manage. And anything I do buy, I’m going to post up here and justify so I can get an accurate idea of how much of what I buy is useful or necessary and how much of it is just a waste of space. I haven’t planned for this so it’s not like I have a surplus of clothes laying about. Truth be told, I’m actually quite low on socks and my jeans have seen much better days but it’s hardly a hardship.
I realise that sewing, by it’s very nature, is the process of creating yet more stuff that I may or may not need but it really is more than that. It’s creation, practising a set of skills and engaging the brain in a different way. Although I swear and curse at my machine and fabric, I find the whole process really relaxing. It’s a lot more enjoyable than shopping and the sense of pride and and satisfaction of finishing off a garment the way I want it to be is wonderful. Something as simple as being able to have pockets on my clothing is a particular joy and something lacking in most women’s clothing. Even my sewing failures bring me some kind of joy, a lesson learnt or, at the very least, a laugh. I don’t think I’ve ever found anything positive or joyful about shopping fails. Ever.
Sewing takes a lot more time than buying and that time investment means I’m a lot more mindful of what I choose to make. Also, the more I sew, the better I get at it and the more I want to sew. The more I sew, the less I want to buy.
Here’s George Carlin, taking the idea of stuff a little further (probably NSFW due to some small swears at the end)