a consumption detox.
mari, tuesday montgomery and i are five weeks into our six-month mottainai challenge (for those of you that need a recap my friends and i have committed to going purchase-free from january 1 to june 30, 2013. this means buying no clothes, books, shoes, accessories, etc. food, toiletries, undergarments and wine is allowed. everything else has to be reused or made using existing resources). i’ve been slack at reporting about our progress because i’ve been counting the pennies i’m saving and spending any spare second i have hunched over a sewing machine.
so far i’ve altered a laura ashley dress that i bought in november at savers for $4. it was a size 14 (i’m a size 8). it was a floor length dress with sleeves and shoulder pads. i ripped out the pads — easy. cut and hemmed the pleated skirt part (somewhat easy although this was my first time hemming the dress and if you don’t look too closely you won’t noticed that i butchered it!). then i cut off the sleeves and tucked them in to give a tank-top finish. one sleeve is thinner than the other and the neckline is a bit crooked but it actually looks like it is supposed to be that way! ok, sewing machine 1, me 0.
this week i’ve moved on to another dress, again just focusing on shortening the hem and altering the sleeves. another savers purchase (last november i did a big shop of old dresses and wild patterns to play with over these next six months). i took this picture with it on as a ‘before’ shot. excited about the original fit i sent it to tuesday montgomery who suggested that i make it look a bit more modern. she’s got a knack for dresses and i think we share a similar taste in style so i asked her for her two cents. “sex it up a bit … take it to the knees and try a capped sleeve,” she advised. it took me two hours today at the thread den to do so but i did as i was told. the sleeves look horrible and the back butterfly overlay is shorter than the front. so i have to go back tomorrow and fix that. i’m also going to make the dress sleeveless. sorry tuesday but if i’m going to really “sex it up” bare shoulders for me baby! (i’ll post a picture of the completed dress in another post.)how are the other girls doing? well, mari has been a little tempted … by books! she digresses, “especially since [our] book club decided to read a novel by two-time booker prize winner hilary mantel–i’m number 26 on the waiting list at the library! but i’m more inspired than tempted to make a purchase.” and what about a sewing project — what can she reuse in her wardrobe? a bra. mari asks herself, “can i prolong the lifetime of my bra by replacing the bra straps when the elastic is gone?” after all, isn’t this when women retire their favourite bra for a new one? ladies, what do you think — when do you get rid of your favourite under-top piece?
one month down. five to go. any readers out there who want to join us? just let me know by posting a comment below or signing up to this blog.
in addition to giving up purchases, i’ve committed myself to an independent study on the art of mottainai, using this blog as a forum to share and comment on my findings. in finding a subject matter to compliment this entry’s theme – consumption detox – i thumbed through a pile of news clippings and came across an article about upcycling. here is an excerpt of the text published by adbusters:
Decide for yourself where the insanity lies. Four out of five Americans are on Adderall, Ritalin or Prozac. One in three are obese. People in the Congo are massacred to facilitate our latest smart phone upgrades. America, Europe, Canada, Australia, we are all living 5 planet lifestyles. If you still need a reason to stop consuming – consider that manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of the global carbon dioxide emissions. And if we heat up just 4 degrees more, we will witness a total and irreversible collapse of human civilization. We’re killing ourselves – and even as the denial about global warming is slowly breaking over us, we still choose – sheeplike – to join the throngs in the malls. Without significant rituals, we clamour to participate in the only ones we have, like the Christmas shopping binge, driven by our desire for meaning – of which our culture is devoid.
(Adbusters Magazine, A new way of being this Christmas, 15 December 2012)
i think i can speak for tuesday montgomery and mari that the insanity stops with our own conscience, our own wallet — our own indulgences. we’re lucky girls, we live a comfortable life. we work hard for our dollars, to enjoy good food, good company and good wine. but even for us we have to draw a line. it is so easy to take disposable income for granted. but what we were not aware of was the fact that we were splurging on disposable products. disposable waste. we were actively contributing to the consumption cycle.
until now. we’ve put on the breaks–no more waste. the mottainai challenge is all about recycling. all about upcycling–making good old things brand new again.
in closing you know what my favourite discovery has been so far? i love using my hands — i am getting so much pleasure from threading a bobbin than i ever did in swiping my debit card. and once i master a simple hem i’m moving onto some of these jewelry gems courtesy of upcycle magazine.
interested to see where mottainai takes mari, tuesday montgomery and me? receive updates by following this blog (scroll down and click on the ‘subscribe’ button) or leave a comment below. we’d love to have you upcycle alongside us!