Giving up New Clothing for the Year…


“I really enjoyed it but I’m not going to lie – it was hard! It was good doing it together as we could ‘sponsor’ each other and we went to lots of vintage events to seek out unusual bits and bobs which is always fun.” 

The very first blog post we published was about giving up ‘New’ clothing for a year, our marketing maven Lauren completed this challenge last year. We love to see how our members wear and style their swaps, as well as exploring why they come to our events and what Sustainable Fashion means to them. So we wanted to find someone who we could follow throughout the year, meet meet Rebecca, aka Dreams of a Magpie.

She has kindly shared her thoughts about her experience so far, as well as her love of vintage fashions and why she attends Leeds Community Clothes Exchange.


What prompted you to give up ‘New’ Clothing in 2017? 

A few years ago one of my very good friends decided to cut out high street clothing for a year, only purchasing vintage, pre-loved or from small independent retailers, and I joined her. I really enjoyed it but I’m not going to lie – it was hard! It was good doing it together as we could ‘sponsor’ each other and we went to lots of vintage events to seek out unusual bits and bobs which is always fun. After that I went back to my normal buying and spending, but this year, I felt like I needed a bit of a break from consumerism so decided to do the challenge again but take it a step further and not buy any new clothes at all.

My only caveat to this is that I have been meaning to buy a new pair of trail/running shoes for several months, and haven’t quite got round to it yet. I still need a pair and this isn’t something which can really be bought pre-loved! So at some point this year I do intend to get myself those, but nothing else new.

Someone also asked me about underwear, which is a really good question – and I totally get that if you are in the position to, most people want to purchase their intimate garments new! Personally I have far too much underwear, half of which I never wear anyway, so I’m pretty sure I can go 12 months without buying any new. I would only be buying it because I want it and it’s pretty, not because I really need it. So no new undies for me.

How have you found it so far?

So far I am loving the challenge and *touch wood* finding it fairly easy. That might be because I over-bought last year though! Ask me again in a few months and we’ll see if I’m still enjoying it!
We love your vintage style, what first got you interested in Vintage Fashion?

I first got interested in vintage fashion when I went to university and went to one of Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs. I picked up a couple of Crimplene 60s shift dresses and straight away I was hooked!

I love the fact that each piece has a story behind it and that someone else had adventures in it and loved wearing it before me. I also used to find high street shopping really disheartening – I felt like I could never find anything I wanted or that looked any good on me.

With vintage you can find pieces that really stand out from the crowd and that no-one else will have. I also like the fact that you can just totally ignore the label, because vintage sizing was so different to modern sizing, the size on the label is usually irrelevant, so it’s better to judge a piece by looking at the shape and size to work out whether it is likely to fit you. 

What tips would you give to people who are thinking of giving up new clothing or attending a swapping event?

I’d say just go for it! Honestly what’s the worst that could happen? If you have never dabbled in pre-loved clothing before, it can be a little bit intimidating at first, but that is why something like a community clothes exchange is a great place to start. Everyone is really friendly, and it’s a lovely atmosphere. It’s also a great way of refreshing your wardrobe for free (and being kind to the environment at the same time).
Also get perusing those charity shops, you can find some amazing bargains and often the clothes have only been worn a couple of times.  Even before this year though you could often find me rummaging through the Headingley charity shops in search of my next bargain! 
Giving up new clothing entirely isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine. And I know that there are people out there who have taken the challenge even further than me and are not buying any clothes at all, or not spending any money other than on essentials! I’m not doing it to try and make anyone else feel guilty or to get all preachy – I have done my fair share of shopping for new clothes – this is just a personal choice and a personal challenge for 2017! So thank you for giving me this chance to share it with you guys.    

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