This summer, the Primark store in Gent opened. Everyone was waiting for it to come, and now it was finally here. Now, we could finally buy all the clothing we want, because it is so cheap anyway. With Primark, came the critics. People were shouting about fair fashion and work conditions, while the lines in front of Primark were getting bigger. Because I am so interested in the subject, I followed all the articles and posts on social media. There was one article that grabbed my attention: the article of Murielle Scherre (la fille d’O). She was talking about the true cost of cheap clothing and about how much it hurt her to see all those people going to Primark. But the most important thing of her article was her positive note: there is a way of not buying extremely cheap clothing. There was one thing she said, that I just couldn’t forget: buy 10 items in one year and try to buy items you can combine easy. 10 items. That’s crazy. I buy 10 items only during the sale period.
When I got home that evening, I decided to count all the stuff I bought from Januari till August. I counted my shoes, clothing and bags. I put everything on the floor and looked at it. I didn’t even have to count, it looked pretty dramatic. But for those of you who wonder: I counted 41 pieces. I started to be really sad. How come that I want all that stuff? Do I really need it? I know what is going on in the sweatshop and I’m still buying? It was there in front of my closet that I made the decision: I was going to buy only 10 items in 2016. Why wait? Because 2016 starts right in sale. And that’s the hardest part of the year for me.
After that, I watched the documentary ‘The True Cost’. A documentary that asks one simple question: ‘What is the true cost of the clothes we wear?’. After I saw the movie, I was disgusted by myself. I was the consumer that they portrayed in the movie, the person that buys buys buys just to look good and just to have the coolest stuff. But do I need that stuff? No, not at all. Now, I am super convinced that I am going to succeed with my plan. I decided to go for the 10 items in 2016 at the beginning of August, and I haven’t bought anything since.
Today was truly crazy. I posted my little project on facebook this morning and the reactions I got were truly heartwarming: a lot of people told me they were going to join me. It gave me such a good feeling. I don’t have the intention to spread the ‘bad word about the big clothing shops’. Not at all, I even support the big clothing shops like H&M who have a lot of things to improve, but who are taking baby steps to a better clothing industry. I just want to be more concious about my shopping behaviour and the impact it has. 2016 is going to be very hard: it will be a total detox. But I’m so ready for it and I am so looking forward to share my experience with you.
Read the Murielle Scherre article here.