Probably the most powerful consumer choice I have made recently is NOT to buy things.
So far this year, my only clothing-related High Street (online) purchase has been a scarf from Uniqlo's Laura Ashley collaboration, pictured in this post. A small percentage of the proceeds went to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I would love to tell you that I knew this before I pressed "Purchase", but I didn't. It was a moment of blind consumerism, which turned out to have ethical credentials - lucky fluke, eh?!
I have been reading a lot about ethics and fashion in recent weeks. I am particularly enjoying the intelligent analysis to be found over at Empty Emptor.
Just this morning, FL commented on how I may not be buying clothes but I was certainly accumulating stuff. He didn't mean it as a criticism, and let's face it, he has no room to talk about hoarding in light of his newsprint addiction, but it brought me up short. I don't enjoy the heavy feeling that having too many possessions induces. Time for another paring-down session I think.
That Etsy pattern shop is on its way!
I also intend to cull my fabric stash. Why am I holding on to fabric that I don't love? I may eventually sew it up into clothes I don't like... and then what? What a waste of energy!
I have been operating on a principle of "one out, one in" in terms of books. I recently sold a dud knitting book and purchased a Japanese sewing book to take its place. That feels OK: a balanced approach.
Ali recently wrote about her own feelings of guilt and the desire to live with less, here. I commented that I needed to think more about "longing". Ali viewed "longing" as a negative concept, and this startled me. "Longing" is such a wonderfully evocative word, conjuring images of a Victorian heroine. Lucy Snowe in Villette comes to mind. For me, "longing" has connotations of secret love, repressed aspirations, and inner fire. It is about building up inspiration and imaginative resources in the face of adversity, so that one day, I will be ready to... be myself, to seize the day.
But perhaps I ought to be seizing the day right now! I could be ME... now! Really?!
Meanwhile, I found another source of ethical fabrics. Go and have a look. I am thinking.