Priorities and things of value
Clothes and fashion are probably some of the lowest priorities in my life, but I'm still going to dedicate a whole long post to it. My philosophy on clothing these days is basically that I need them as it's too cold to go without. Would definitely choose to go naked if I could, and I do as much as I can when I can. I throw my clothes off as soon as I am in the comfort of my home as I dislike when fabrics and seams chafe in places where I like things to flow smoothly. I like feeling flexible and free, not restricted. An old t-shirt is perfectly fine as the only thing to wear in my world.
Other than that, clothes should be functional and not cost too much (since they are a low priority thing for me). Of course good quality lasts longer, but you don't have to spend that much to get good quality since there is so much competition. Finally, it doesn't hurt if they look good.
Living in winterland now + having a belly growing way out of proportions, I definitely needed to invest in a larger warmer jacket. I borrowed one from a friend for the first few weeks. But now that it's getting colder and she needed it back, I evaluated the cost of a new jacket as not having to exceed 500 kr (55 USD). The sales after Christmas you know.
Criteria: Warm + large enough to keep growing in for the rest of winter + decent looking. I live very near the second hand stores of Möllan so I headed down there yesterday and within five minutes search I found this old treasure for 200 kr - 50% = 100 kr. After having asked the girl in the store about their sourcing methods, and was informed that they get loads from their central distribution centre in Europe, I told my bf when walking out of Humana that I imagined the jacket being previously owned by a Romanian lady that outgrew the colourful thing. Funnily when investigating it closer at home, I noted that the jacket actually was made in, Romania.
What I love about buying things second hand is:
- you can't beat the price on good quality.
- rather than adding more funds into an industry that wastes resources when we already have more than we ever can make use of in this world, you invest in a shared economy where things are being reused rather than wasted. Someone's old becomes someone's new. Such intelligent use of resources.
- you can find unique pieces that not many other people have in your community.
- due to the low price it won't hurt too bad when you return them for someone else to use when you've gotten tired of them.
Priorities have shifted. Things weren't always this easy and obvious. Ten years ago, fashion was very important to me. I used to run a clothing store online that carried lots of, at the time, hot brands such as Alexander Wang, Luella, Cacharel, James Perse, Alexis Bittar etc. I wanted to have the newest of everything and I thought I was incredibly cool wearing the latest off the catwalk.
A couple years in on working in that field, I began questioning the industry. What sense does it make changing trends every fourth month? What kind of ambivalent person would you have to be to keep up with such a continuous schizophrenic shift? How wasteful is the business selling brands at super premium price, that are constantly pushing out new collections. Constantly having to find new innovative manipulative ways to sell more. Luring in clients by superficial and destructively photoshopped commercials. Making the less conscious buyer and admirer believe that hoarding loads of new things was the meaning of life. The realization that it was just a greedy money hungry business like so many others began exhausting me. Couldn't see any purposeful meaning with it. It was a creative world yet an industry full of stress, self judgement and anxiety.
Thinking back. There were young years of my life in which I faked that some of the clothes I wore were bigger brand names that what they were. And other times when I was ashamed to say how much things cost out of fear of being judged by my low budget. So much pretence. I suffer with young girls today who feel the pressure from the industry and that which media puts on them. It's a viscous world. Have to stay awake to not get lured into wasting our precious time, money and intelligence for others to make profit. There is no power in being used for someone else's benefit.
I remember myself blogging about new clothes of big brands and the pride I felt by finally after years of yearning being able to say something was from Chanel or Balenciaga (gifted to me or bought on sale or at outlet stores). Today I would seriously hesitate mentioning brands out loud, unless they were brands that were owned by friends of mine or brands that stand for something important. So many big labels are being promoted each second without the consumer getting paid for it. Only in the form of self gratification and the superficial attention they get from their peers. The greatest form of (free) marketing there is for a brand.
I remember once speaking to a customer at a restaurant outside of Boston that I worked at. An older lady that appeared much younger than the 80 she told me she was. I told her she looked beautiful. "Would you like to know my secret?", she whispered, "it's all thanks to Estée Lauder", she said with a proud smile. What a successful woman she was, Estée Lauder, I thought. Having women credit her for their looks even after her death. And what sadness simultaneously, I thought. A human being crediting her naturally beautiful looks to a beauty brand as money driven as others. A beauty brand full of destructive chemicals, and full of manipulative strategies to attract consumers to consume unnecessary products they never needed in the first place.
Imagining spending 5.000-10.000 kr on a pair of shoes or a bag today is seriously bananas to my mind. The same 550-1.100 USD would take you literally anywhere in the world. Could have you living like a king for a month in the most beautiful and remote of places. Think of the difference in lasting value. And the difference in psychological impact that has.
I believe that the values and ideals you grow up around will shape much of your future. Which is why it's important to me that my child grows up without the idea of material or a myriad of things, toys or clothes being important. But rather strive for an abundance of genuine connection, travel and exploration, conversations with depth, cooking and eating good food with healthy ingredients, the freedom of expression, love, and all those real things of real value. I would like my child to value and appreciate the real world, the natural world, the magical world that still exists, beyond the commerce and all that a twisted society excepts from him or her. I feel fortunate to have been given the greatest challenge in life.
We've said that we will try to not buy any clothes for our newborn at all, as we will be able to get used ones from family and friends. They grow out their clothes so quickly anyways. And that way we can save all the money for the baby's first big journey. Sun, surf, jungle and good food awaits.
My poor child will have to travel the world in inherited and gifted clothes and play with animals and jungle sticks instead of iPads. Hope she or he will love the sea as much as we do.