Lets Start Fresh

Updated: May 24, 2019

I have a problem. I’m 22 years old living a middle-class life in Edmonton and I am broke. Don’t get me wrong, I have a full-time job and I make enough to easily get by, that is not the main issue at all. My problem is that I live well beyond my means and I am having a very difficult time cutting back. I have an addiction to spending money, mainly to shopping for clothes.



I have a problem. I’m 22 years old living a middle-class life in Edmonton and I am broke. Don’t get me wrong, I have a full-time job and I make enough to easily get by, that is not the main issue at all. My problem is that I live well beyond my means and I am having a very difficult time cutting back. I have an addiction to spending money, mainly to shopping for clothes.


It all started when I was in elementary school. I remember getting an allowance for doing my chores. I would take that money and head straight to the mall to buy some crappy $5 t-shirt from Stitches or Urban Planet. My buying habits kept up well into Highschool when I had a job working 20 hours a week and had no savings to show for it.


When University began, I didn’t work during the year, only over the summers when I would go out to bars and spend a gross amount of my paycheque as soon as it came through. My buying habits began to change when I became intensely aware of fast fashion and its impact on people and the planet. For a year I cut myself off from shopping all fast fashion retailers and focused mainly on thrifting with the occasional Everlane purchase.


When my Fast Fashion Fast was up there was no going back. I couldn’t buy from stores like H&M or Zara every again. Even the thought of it made me feel guilt and shame; I had moved on to purchasing smarter and supporting those who deserved my support.


For years now, I have advocated sustainable and ethical purchasing in terms of clothing. It has become a large part of who I am as a person and who I wish to become both in my career and in general. I like to think I inspire others to make better choices with their dollar and show them how simple it really is to make this transition.


After attending the 3rd annual Sustainable Fashion Forum Conference in Portland, my sister and I decided to go out for dinner and mull over all of the amazing conversations that were had just hours before around the topic of sustainability. As we sat their talking about business and sustainability I found myself going in a bit of a loop when talking about the true nature of consumption. How hypocritical is it to promote brands and consumption, even if it is from ethical or local brands, when the one thing that is at the core of this issue is over consumption.


I sat there going back and forth in my mind about this discovery and began experiencing this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. “I don’t shop ethically at all. I have just taken my buying habits and transferred them to a different market. I overconsume constantly and have a thirst for something new even if it comes from a better source.” I’ve thought about it before now and again, about how I need to stop spending so much money and I need to make my closet lean like those seen on The Minimalist Wardrobe.


I always wondered why people used the excuse of money for not shopping ethically. My answer was always the same, “sustainable fashion is not ment to be consumed in the same way as fast fashion. You need to slow your consumption and hone in your buying habits to afford this. Less is more, quality over quantity, etc.” All of this reighns true, but was I following this mantra? Not at all. In my case, I turned a blind eye to my spending and the numbers behind the clothes and purchased anyways.


What am I trying to get at here you may be wondering? Let me tell you. I need to stop shopping. I need to stop consuming. I can no longer go on spending like I do and saying that I am purchasing ethically. The excuse “at least its local” is no longer enough to satisfy me. Starting today I am doing a no buy on clothing for 3 months. This may not seem like a long time for you, but cutting myself off cold turkey like that gives me huge anxiety just thinking about but it is something that I need to do to truly embody my values.


I would love for you to follow me on this journey and encourage me through this process. I will be making use out of what I have and trying to be inventive in a way I have not been bound to for a long time. I hope I can also encourage you to think more seriously about your buying habits and think twice before you consume items that are not meant to be consumed.




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