Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ONE OUTFIT ONE YEAR

So many people have been asking me what I am going to do when I reach a year – “Aren’t you excited?” “What is the first thing you want to put on?” “You have to wear something crazy!” But the fact is that I have kind of just been dreading this point, because I don’t know how to proceed from here. I just know that this has influenced me much deeper than I could ever have imagined, it was maybe in the beginning just a month long experiment that would be over and would maybe give me a few answers to my curiosity – but the fact is that I don’t think that I can ever go just back to how it was before. So that is why I sit here, confused about what to do, still wearing the same clothes.

What I have come to realize is that if I would go straight back to wearing ‘all’ clothes, I would have a few problems.
Firstly, I have sold and given away most of the clothes that I owned before my year started. But even if I hadn’t done that a lot of them would not be relevant for me to wear today. This is because we are so fast influenced by trends and bombarded with new styles and options that most of my clothes from a year ago wouldn’t be as current as they were then.
Secondly, if I were super excited about ‘finally’ getting to wear something different, which is not the feeling that I have – although a lot of people don’t seem to understand that, and would go out and buy me something new and current and totally out there, it would go against everything that I have been standing for in the last 12 months.

So really, these options are not appealing to me at all.

I know that people talk about the fact that fashion and clothing is a way to express ourselves and be individual, but after having taken a step back – I don’t feel like this is as true to all of us as we would like to believe – and are encouraged to believe. I have actually in some ways felt the opposite. I have noticed that all around us, and especially in social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat we are so heavily exposed to pretty things and pretty people living their shiny lives. Even thought we don’t think we are or deny the fact that this has an influence on us – it does.
And I could see it clearly as I started my experiment. I completely stopped buying clothes, and things for that matter, and when I would get exposed to hidden advertisements that are lying all around us, I would just think “No, I don’t need this, it is not relevant to me anymore. I just have these few pieces of clothing and they are all I need right now.” And as time went by I could feel that I completely stopped seeing these things and thinking about stuff that I should buy or own. Everything that I had and all the things around me became so much more valuable to me and I felt that I really where using all my things to the fullest.
I started becoming more of an owner to my clothes and things – instead of a consumer, like we have in the past few years become.
If I got a stain in my shirt I would act out on it right away, and always got them out. I had some accidents, ripped my shirt, got a cigarette hole burnt in it and I just took care of it, mending my things instead of easily laying them in the closet until enough time had passed for me to throw them away. I washed and waxed and shined my shoes regularly, I hung my woolen sweater out to breath and I put my jeans in the freezer. I even started fixing the holes in my socks, which is something I had never done before. All of these things are something that I mostly had to do for them to survive this long, and now when I look back I just think that it is ridiculous that I hadn’t been taking this good care of all my things before. No matter how cheap they had been or how fast I could go out and replace it with a new one. And I think this is the biggest problem and the biggest fault on our side, the consumer side.
I am not saying that I haven’t bought a single thing in a year, I have bought some new underwear and make up, I just feel freer from constantly having to live up to a standard that is laid so secretively around us. Suddenly I felt like I had a free pass, I didn’t have to take part in all of this madness anymore.

It almost just feels like a privilege sometimes. And I think I need some more time to adjust and think this through.

So for today I will go out and celebrate wearing my one true outfit.



12 pictures representing 12 months of the same clothes








Berlin


New years eve



Thanks for reading, 
J

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Conscientious Consumer

It's obvious to me and the people around me that this little experiment has changed a lot about how I am and think. I have become so much more aware of the things around me and in my life. Not only when it come to clothes, but all things that surround me. And the great thing is that I can also feel the awareness being growing out there and that the discussions have started.
As a result of my project I decided in my BA thesis to take a closer look at the consumerism in fashion - and how the consumer can be or is able to make a difference.
To give you a little insight, I wanted to post two parts from it, the abstract and my conclusion, since the thesis in itself is around 20 pages.
The whole journey of writing and researching for this thesis was very inspiring, eye opening and so interesting to me. And since I have been floating around in all of these thoughts now for a long time it was a good thing to be able to pinpoint these things down and take a closer look.

Abstract

Without consumerism there would be no fashion industry. But with increasing awareness about the environmental issues that we are facing, buying to satisfy our longings isn’t as relevant as it once was. The consumer needs to start taking responsibility and stop hiding behind the statement that big companies are the ones doing all the harm.
With conscientious decision-making and relevant information seeking, the consumer can make a difference: voting with their dollars. There are many different ways of being a conscientious consumer, and the reasons and focuses differ from person to person. You might care for the environment or the welfare of animals. You might want to fight for human rights and buy only Fairtrade or take a more drastic change and start living a zero-waste lifestyle. Maybe you make the switch to a minimalistic lifestyle and follow the slow fashion movement. And some might even try to do it all. That said there are countless different approaches to being and becoming a conscientious consumer, but the place to begin is to start taking responsibility and stepping back to see the bigger picture. Fast fashion being one of the biggest issues, being unsustainable in almost every aspect, as consumers we need to set pressure on brands, demanding more ethical and sustainable products for what ever reason one might find conscientious.


 Conclusion


Our planet is running out of water and oil, our icebergs are melting and we have permanently altered our climate. By treating clothes as though they were disposable, buying too much of them adds a tremendous amount of weight on the environment while we are at the same time simply being unsustainable. [1]
Consider this: all the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass greater than that of humans. Ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years. Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn't have a design problem. People do.[2]
Looking at the diverse perspective of possibly being conscientious there is a clear pattern of social responsibility. People are driven by their own believes, aesthetics, opinions and moral values to make better choices in their lives. Conscientiousness is not presented in a single right definition; it is presented in countless different manifestos. Whether it might be because you care for the planet, the oceans, the animals, your family, the economy, politics, other people or yourself, it is conscientious. If you feel what is the better thing to do, for whatever reason you might imply - and consume accordingly, then you are a conscientious consumer. While not being a totally established sector inside of the fashion world today, the conscientious consumer does exist; getting a long way with consumer activism and increased talk about the need for a more sustainable world.
 With the building of more informative and transparent platforms designed for easy access for the consumer, we work our way towards a much more ethical fashion industry. With demand comes supply, so with increasing demand from the conscientious consumers out there; putting pressure on design labels and fashion companies to act more ethically, we could see a drastic change inside within the industry. We have made the world as it is today, and we should just as easily be able to change it.



[1] Elizabeth L. Cline, “Seven Pairs of $7 Shoes,” Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2012), e-book, 
[2] William McDonoguh and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: remaking the way we make things, 16.


Have a good one, 

J

Saturday, February 27, 2016

DAY 300

I have never in this whole period thought about checking how many days there have been since I started wearing my one outfit. Today I randomly got the thought to do it, which was a pleasant surprise, because today marked my 300th day. Just randomly like that.
What started as only a 30 day project has become ten times that. Funny. Time has passed and I almost haven't felt it, so already come this far I am heading for one year. Only 65 days to go. (!)

This period has evolved me even more than I ever thought it would. My everyday life, my consumer patterns, my standards, values and focuses. As a result I wrote my BA thesis about conscientious consumerism - and right now I am working on my bachelor project in school, where I come in on things that I have learned and found out during this time. 
I want to write more about that all later. 

Thinking there are only 65 days left to go I get a little nervous. What will I do then? How should I move on from this? I have already sold and given away most of my clothes, and things for that matter so of course things will never go back to how they used to be. I've stopped thinking about this as a project or something that I have to do, this is just me, right now. A lot of things have happened in the last few months, events, christmas, new years, parties, festivals and not once have I felt the urge or the pressure to wear something else or something more appropriate. And I love it. 
A short one for today, but a promise of more to come.

I'll include this year's favorite christmas photo for y'all: 



Until next time, 

J



Thursday, August 13, 2015

End of an era. The trial era.

What started out as a month-long project quickly became three months.
I wore the same outfit day in and day out for 12 weeks straight, that's 84 consecutive days. 
In this time period I had to make some small adjustments, like for example when I went to Berlin and the temperature went up to almost 30 degrees, I used a pair of shorts that I had made from some old jeans. And when we drove around Iceland and slept in tents in 5 degrees and rain, some outerwear and hunting gear was added to the wardrobe. But apart from those rare cases, I have worn the exact same thing every single day. 
No jewelry added, no nail polish, no high heels, nothing extra, just the same 6 items.

And these 12 weeks ended three weeks ago. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. 
After less then two months of constant wearing the pants started to show some signs of wear and tear. The fabric had gotten extremely thin in the crotch area, where the thighs tend to rub together when walking (unless you have a massive thigh gap, which I apparently don't) and quickly after that they broke. From this point on I just had to suck it up and wear the pants despite the fact that I had a holes growing larger with every day, since I had set my mind to a specific date to finish this on. I want to point out that the shirt is really long, going down to my knees so nobody would ever know. (unless I sat with my legs open - which for obvious reasons I was conscious about not doing) 
And to be honest I just couldn't imagine stopping - I couldn't just go back to wearing my old clothes like nothing ever happened - because so much happened, and the effect was too big.

Pants after 12 weeks

Pants after 12 weeks
Here you can see how one of the pairs looked like after these 12 weeks. And I want to note that I had two of them, worn equally much. So actually I wore each pair for 6 weeks. That's only 42 days! And note that most of the time I hand washed them and hung up to dry. This is the quality we get for cheap clothing.

Another story for the shirt thought - both of them made it through alive with no visible stains, tears, odors or anything. Of course clothes on the upper body - especially if they are wide, don't go through as much rubbing like pants, and therefore they are easier to take good care of.
Shoes, jacket and sweater also made it through, with normal wear and tear - nothing drastic.

Even thought the trial era officially ended for me at this point - now three weeks ago - I still haven't gone back to my other clothes. I have been in Spain and in Norway with my family and only just wear the shirt and my shorts when I am not in my bikini, work-out clothes or my pyjamas.

Right now I am deciding how to proceed with this in the fall and winter back home in Iceland. I have decided that I wan't to adapt this lifestyle to my every day, all days. But what to wear and what to do has been harder to figure out than I expected. And durable or sustainable clothes are not so easy to find - I have found out.
I will keep you updated when I have figured out more.

Lastly, I want to point out that today is earth's 'overshoot day', meaning that today we have used up all our planet's resources, that it is able to regenerate, this year. This day is six days earlier then last year, but we are currently living like we would have access to 1,6 earths. This is just something that we all should really think about and try our best to contribute to making a difference, because we only have this one planet. Read more about it in The Guardian.


J

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A month has passed already!

I can't believe this. I don't understand how time flew away like this.
After a week and a half this whole thing started feeling so natural to me that I totally forgot to think about it. It just became a part of me and my everyday and here I am now, amazed that time has gone so fast and surprised that I haven't blogged more.
But, I think that is a good sign. I am so not ready to start wearing all kinds of clothes yet. I kind of can't imagine doing it. And with major holiday plans ahead the thought of having only these 6 garments and some underwear in my backpack is just too tempting, so simple. So with out any promises I think that I would like to keep this going, at least until end of July. I know it sounds a little crazy, but since time has gone so fast this last month I think that almost two more won't be a problem at all.

I have begun noticing recently that people are starting to recognize that I am always wearing the same. I get these looks, not bad at all, just you know when people look at you in general - only that they stop their glare a second more and I can just feel that they are thinking that now I have been wearing this for quite some time. I like these looks. I couldn't feel it in the first two weeks, but now it has been long enough. Now people have started to recognize my "costume" or "uniform". And it's nice, I kind of get this feeling of provocation, but in a good way.

In this month I think this outfit has seen it all. I have taken it to multiple parties, dinners, school hours, walks and talks and never in all this time have I felt uncomfortable or out of place with the clothes that I am wearing. I have never felt under- or overdressed, never felt the urge to be wearing something else and never felt any pressure from other people about my choice of clothing. And I am a person that likes to dress to impress.
The only complaints that I can possibly have was the two times it was raining, and I had just straightened my hair, cursing my jacket for not having a hood.

Another thing I would also like to mention that I have observed in this time is the fact that I can feel that I am taking much more care of my clothing. I know that I only have the possibility to wear these two blouses, these two trousers, one sweater, one jacket and one pair of shoes. And that makes me be aware of taking good care of them. And there is of course extra caution around the light blue shirt and for example food and paint. But all the items are, after having been worn for 31 days in a row, in very good condition, which I am very proud to say and also a little bit encouraged. Even though we don't buy top quality stuff we can still take care of it and use it to their fullest. Washing on lower temperatures with low spinning, not tumble drying or even just washing our clothes by hand (which I promise you takes no time nor effort at all, well at least not for me since I only wash two items at a time (while I am wearing the other set)) can expand their lifecycle a lot and give them more meaning. But all of that doesn't matter of course if we just buy things to buy them or let them hang unused and unseen in our closest. This experiment has opened my eyes so much to this.

Well to round it up I am shocked how fast this has gone and how easy and good it has been, sorry about that it slipped my mind and that I haven't blogged more. But at the same time I think it is a good sign of great success of this challenge and a hint that this will keep on going for some while. So by saying that I promise that I will write down some of the things that I have been wanting to say before I start wearing something else again.

31 days and counting,

J


Ahh, and P.s. there was a little article about all of this in the online Icelandic newspaper, unfortunately in Icelandic, but feel free to check it out here!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week one - recap

I’ve got a lot of questions about my experiment and how it works from all over.
A friend of my parent’s called my dad and shockingly asked if I was wearing just one outfit for a month without washing it.
And I feel like I have to get these things straight. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in my first post, maybe I was too excited and trying to say everything at once.

My main focus is trying to live as simple as I can when it comes to clothes and accessories. Trying out how such a limited wardrobe, as limited as it can get, will influence me and my everyday life.

After just one week I can feel a huge difference. I don’t have to use time nor energy on thinking about what I should wear at each given occasion. Do these things go together? Am I overdressing? Are for example questions that I don’t have to ask myself any more, I just know what I am wearing and it gives me such a piece of mind. My time in the mornings getting ready is so much shorter and less worrying. I can feel after just one week that I would like to get rid of most of my stuff and take this on for real, for good. It has opened my eyes for how much stuff and things, clothes and accessories I have lying around, and that in most cases are just unnecessary.
The outfit has grown well on me in this past week, I am not conscious about it at all– it all feels very natural to me. Shout-out to the sweetest Nanna Graversen for saying that I looked cute on the first day, without knowing that I would be wearing the same for the next month. It was a good start, a good boost, thank you for that Nanna!

This weekend I went for an overnight trip up north in Jylland, Denmark, where my nephew was getting confirmed on Sunday. I packed my toothbrush, toiletries and a pair of underwear. It felt so liberating. There was no fuss. I didn’t have to over think which dress I was wearing in the confirmation itself, did I need a pair of tights to it, would my jacket fit too? Where the shoes matching? The silver necklace goes better with that dress, but then again the zipper on my jacket is gold.. Do any of you know these kinds of thoughts? Well, I didn’t have to have any of them. I know it sounds weird, I know people like to dress up – but damn this felt so good. Just a touch of lipstick and I felt totally appropriate for an event like this. I am seriously a little bit nervous about this being over, because right now I don’t want to stop.

But let’s see how I’ll feel in 4 weeks.


Me and my mom had slightly different dress codes at the confirmation,
but she is wearing my beautiful Icelandic national costume

One week done and on I go,

J