**We are thrilled to have completed our 6-week, 6-item ‘fashion fast’ and have raised more than £600 for the labour rights NGO, Labour Behind the Label. If you would like to contribute to our fundraising efforts, please click here – thank you!**
by Rifka Fehr
The last six weeks were a roller coaster. Each day I felt differently, which made writing a blog post so hard. Whatever I wrote, my conclusion was incomplete or had already changed by the following day. Therefore I will briefly go through some of the emotions and thoughts that accompanied me.
In the first few days, I adjusted to being limited to six items of clothing. I was surprised how quickly this limitation became normality. I enjoyed not having to think about what to wear. Yet, after two weeks, I started to feel dull and bored with my never-changing look. I realised how much a change of clothes can freshen up my mind and spirit. When feeling sad, changing outfits can positively influence the way I feel. With no variety of clothes, I started to experiment with make-up. My consumerism just switched from clothes to beauty products. Realising this caused great frustration. Why is consumerism so indoctrinated in me? Yet, expressing myself through external means on a daily basis felt detrimental. So how could I experience change without feeling the need to consume? This question occupied my thoughts for the next couple of weeks.
Simultaneously I was annoyed at how closely ‘treating myself’ is linked to purchasing and possessing – my products, my wardrobe. More and more I felt the need to get away from purchasing and possessing, and focusing instead on sharing: e.g. by opening up my wardrobe to flatmates. In week four, three friends and I had the idea to organise a Sussex clothes swap: Clothes become new by swapping them. I recognized how experiencing variety and freshness is possible without buying new products.
This challenge has not just resulted in myself reflecting upon my role as a consumer but has also made me find another way of feeling newness by sharing and swapping instead of purchasing. The fashion fast has sparked countless discussions, which I wholeheartedly hope will carry on. Thanks to my fellow students and Rebecca, our lecturer, for making this challenge possible, for standing by my side in moments of doubt and for our many shared thoughts and reflections. Cheers to our final fast day!