11.19.2011

Re-working, re-cycling, re-thinking


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.



14 comments:

  1. good luck with no 4 and 5 !!! haha I'd love to see how long this lasts x

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  2. Totally on the same boat with you right now! Thank you so much for your feedback :)

    <3 from San Francisco

    http://petite-avenue.blogspot.com

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  3. Great post! I too am going towards the vintage clothing path, it's amazing what you will find if you put your mind to it. Good luck with being a conscious consumer!

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  4. Due to shopping diet I am going through right now, I came to the same conclusion. That is why number of diy projects has doubled in last few weeks...and that was my first intention when I was starting blog...I love sewing, currently I am without job and while I am looking I am going to sew. I love vintage too, I and I have few excellent pieces...that is priceless.
    As we are surrounded with all this cheap brands we a starting to look the same, loosing our uniques, walking around like clones. So I agree with you completely...think, rethink, ask yourself is it really necessary and how does it make you feel before you pull your card to pay.

    http://thebasicss.blogspot.com

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  5. I absolutely love this post! You are a brilliant writer and it's great to get an insight into your life and what has influenced your shopping. I go through phases of intense consumerism followed by no shopping at all for ages - I shop when I'm bored or feeling down about myself. I agree that blogging doesn't help curb that, other fashion bloggers I admire always seem to have different clothes in each outfit and so I feel like I need to do the same, and if I reuse clothes I'm doing the blogging world a disservice. I know it's ridiculous, but I can't seem to shake it! Argh!

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  6. so true! I was reading this on Sam's blog a few days ago and I couldn't agree more.
    I realized I'm the type who can't throw away clothes, regardless of how cheap or expensive they were. I need to keep everything. Because of this, I can't buy anymore, which also gives me better reason to shop with a keener eye and put more thought into it. Not good for "fashion blogging" or retailers, but I think there's enough people (aka fashion bloggers) out there who can compensate for my lack of buying ;p Plus, I'm broke as sh*t.
    Ughhh but I do really want these Isabel Marant wannabe Dicker boots by Report...hahaha
    xoxo Diana

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  7. My first time posting, though I'm a regular reader. Thank you for this insightful post that summarises 2011 in a nutshell. Lots of food for thought. You're a very good writer and I'll be tuning in to see what new directions you go towards.

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  8. This post has made me rethink so many things! Thank you :) plus your blog is lovely! x

    http://aj-desea.blogspot.com/

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  9. Awesome! I hope your future posts rub off on me and stop me from shopping too much too!!

    ~ Clare x

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  10. We have similar history - growing up in USSR and the post-USSR and stuff. The only difference I didn't leave the place I was born. :)
    I live by those rules you write about, all of them, OK, I try to. :) It's not hard actually. I shop my own closet in those desperate moments but not very often. If you have clear plan & clear ming it's pretty easy. What's important - don't follow those rules blindly if you have a craving, give in as in dieting if you prohibit something drastically it does more harm than good.

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  11. Tania! I really love this post and the way you painted your history with consumption and fashion. While the first commenter wonders how long you can keep this up for, I think it's totally feasible. It's true that we live in an overstimulated culture and I think it's time to wean ourselves off of the expectation of getting things cheap at the prices they don't deserve.

    Please more blog posts like these!!!!

    -Sam
    http://www.samishome.com

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  12. I like the bakcpack!! cute!
    xx
    http://laventanadegogo.blogspot.com/

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  13. i may be a bit late to comment but I do feel your sentiments exactly after I survived on bare minimums in Paris. I was accepted for a creative residency at Parsons Paris, and living in the dodgy dorms (but no complaints there as my windows opened up to the Eiffel) and eating bland food, i came back appreciating what i have so much more. i reconsidered my habits and my closet, and haven't shopped for months. going away really opens your mind and eyes, and if i could do it all over again, i definitely would.

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  14. Hi Tania,

    I can totally relate to this post! I haven't done a post since Nov and that doesn't count because I was advertising an event and the one before that was in Oct!

    I can't even bring myself to read other blogs as well that I use to read religiously (even yours which I love!)

    Living my life away from fashion blogs has given me a reality check that it was bringing out the consumerist monster within and was slightly pointless.

    Fashion blogging will be around forever but our lives will disappear underneath us ;)

    P.S I'll be going to HK in April, if you have any tips on where to go/eat that would be fantastic!

    Heidy x

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