A few weeks/ weekends away from Hong Kong in places with no shopping malls or WIFI led me to a stark realization that I became this crazy consumer machine. Being a fashion blogger makes you constantly buy/want/talk clothes, living and working in Hong Kong makes the buying an easy life necessity.
Extreme consumerism, why? I have been conditioned to consume since I was a little kid. Growing up in post-communist Russia spending was good. A sign of happiness and stability was a house with all things plenty: food, chocolates, clothes, videos, magazines.
In Spain, my favourite times with my mom involved food shopping in a local department store el Corte Ingles followed by a little bit of magazines and clothes shopping, followed by a drive home, during which we would always open a box of fresh berries or fruits (we just bought) and chit chat about all and nothing.
London was all about what you wore, the clothes defined you, they gave a sense of belonging, gave you the illusion of being part of a fashion tribe: the EURO - brown riding boots, skinnies and blazer, the Notting Hill Paul&Joe wearing yummy mommy crowd, the Chelsea UGG, parka, jeans skirt, sweats wearing crowd and most of us secretly wanting to be first Kate Moss then Sienna Miller.
Afterwards, as I graduated uni, kids became hipsters: skinny coloured jeans, keds, raybans, side parting and the East End, a new more grungy, pretty, dirty cool sense of belonging emerged. The new queen of cut off jeans shorts and Barbours - Miss Alexa Chung was crowned. Spending was still good.
Then the recession hit and people in London had to reign in their shopping habits, "recessionista" was the new word coined by Grazia (don't you hate all words that finish with -ista) people spent less, forced by the circumstances though not mindful realisations. I was also shopping much less, forced to shop less by the gruelling work scheduele.
Then I moved to Hong Kong and a year after I discovered fashion blogging. Blogging equals showing off new clothes, wanting more, buying more, composing endless wish lists. In Hong Kong (insert your city here) living tends to equal eating & shopping.
Clothes clothes clothes, I was buying things that I would never wear, just for the sake of buying. Browsing online stores in times of boredom, shopping during lunch hour (my office is on top of a shopping mall, how fitting?). My mind overstimulated by work, blogging, tumbrl, twitter, instagram, wanted more, over-inspired, over stimulated, but somehow empty. Things stopped to matter. Cheap, cheery, clothes with no story create little attachment, owning them gives a short gratification that is followed by the desire for the next best thing.
Being away from computers, blogs, shops, was a real eye opener. It all seemed too much. My first impulse when I came back was to resign, quit blogging, pack my bags and move to somewhere rural, take up creative writing and finally dedicate all my time to yoga. I am rather extreme in my desires at times :)
Ofcourse I didn't do that but I did realize that I wanted to change my blog, that have seemed to lost any sign of direction. I also wanted to try and be a better more mindful person, shopper and blogger. Aware, awake, without tunnel visions. No I am not going to turn all crazy hippy on you, I am just going to implement some changes.
So the principles of being a minimalist/mindful shopper that I am going to try and follow are:
1. Quality over quantity: less high street, no synthetic materials, learning about how clothes are made and manufactured.
2. Vintage. I always had this inhibiton about vintage (you know the whole idea that it has been worn by someone before), but it's time to rethink my attitude, why buy something brand new, when you can find something special and unique, with a story and probably better quality. (I don't think I am still confortable with the idea of vintage shoes though, maybe with time)
3. Re-descovering my wardrobe. How often do we say I have nothing to wear? How often do I wear 5% of my wardrobe, because I am bored of old clothes, forgot what I have, or have not found new ways of wearing them.
4. Buy things you really Love and Need. ofcourse I am not claiming I will never shop again, but I will think about why I want this jacket. Does it fit in my wardrobe? Is it a timeless piece? What is the material, where was it manufactured?
5. No boredom/impulse shopping when bored I will go to a bookstore, call my friends/mom/boyfriend, find a cool art gallery, go for a walk, wonder around street of Hong Kong documenting fun things I find on my instagram.
P.S. If you are still reading this and are interested in more thoughts on minimalist + mindful shopping. Check out the article by Sam and the blogs by:
Wearing: DYI shorts (a tutorial coming up) made from H&M boyfriend jeans, last year's boots Massimo Dutti, waffle jumper from Massimo Dutti (made in Rumania doubt that's a good sign though) and a vintage backpack from the late 90's I found in a small store off Aberdeen Street.