After watching Andrew Morgan’s chocking documentary, The True Cost, Jessica Smith intended to reflect on her own power over the fashion industry’s social and environmental impact by committing to not buying clothes for a whole year.
That’s right. 365 days without purchasing any new items of clothing. We had the chance to ask her a few questions on her journey and her motives behind the undertaking of such a big challenge.
With a tendency towards fashion - that, she admits, resembles a serious shopping addiction - Jessica has, over time, filled her closet with hundreds of clothes, some of them still with the tags on. « I moved to the city at the age of 17 and began full time work, I earned fairly good money for my age and was in a position to buy a lot of clothes for a 17 year old. The more I earned the more I spent, the more I spent, the more I wanted », she says.
However, moving to Abu Dhabi, a region in the Middle East well known for its luxurious lifestyle, coincided with the raising of her awareness over the scandalous conditions under which the fashion industry workers are living. Throughout the course of this year, she will be visiting fair trade clothes factories, as she already did in India in March, to meet with the workers and learn about their conditions.
« Living somewhere so glamorous like the UAE, it is easy to get caught up in the expat lifestyle. I think it is important to travel and see how other people live. It keeps you open minded, grateful and makes you appreciate what you have. » Jessica somehow decided to explore the possibilities of her own wardrobe, donating some unused items, composing new outfits with what she already had in hand and mostly learning to play with accessories. « I think I probably wear stuff that suits me more, as opposed to just wearing stuff I have bought meaninglessly. I am probably more adventurous now as I have to combine different garments to make an outfit from what I have left since I can't buy anything! »
In a world where people largely prefer to buy brand new clothes over second hand pieces, Jessica also decided to reflect on the stigma that stays around used clothes. « I think it is a mindset thing too, some people want something brand new as opposed to second hand and in good condition, just because it is brand new. It is a behaviour thing. »
Influencers like Jessica Smith, who also runs her own personal blog, set the tone for a dramatic change in the industry. Citizen-consumers not only buy products to satisfy a random set of desires, they buy mindfully, according to their values and beliefs. As a fair trade and sustainable bag company, we are dreaming of a fair global economy where businesses are competing against each other to provide families with the best sustainable options. At Foxtrot, we are building change in the industry.
We asked Jessica if she would run off to the mall after her shopping-free year: « I won't relapse, no way. I know too much about the fast fashion industry, I have learned a lot. Travelling to places and seeing people much happier with less… » We believe that change is available to the ones who keep their eyes open to the world around them.
When it comes to families, sustainable options are available. To learn more about our city bag and our mission, go to www.foxtrotfamily.com .