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No new clothes challenge & other money saving tips

My no clothes challenge

The current situation of a global pandemic, lockdowns, and all sorts of difficulties due to Covid -19 do not fill with much optimism. However, if we focus on the positives coming out of the last year and a half I am sure we can find plenty.

For me and I guess for many others the pandemic allowed us to reflect more deeply on our lives (I actually have started in 2018 due to some really difficult times in my personal life…).

So what has changed? 

I always liked a minimalistic approach to life. Living for quite some time in flatshares I tried to ‘keep it simple’ in case of changing flats – and boy I did change them often…

Once we finally bought our family house I see that the trend is the same – I want to keep the place minimalistic and clean, once our renovation project is over.

As for post lockdown changes applied to my life in this regard, a changed approach to shopping including clothes shopping hence I came up with the clothes challenge idea for 2021.

Plus there is a huge environmental impact of mindless textile buying

Water Shortages in the future
Water Shortages in the future; source : UN report

Covid-19 and lockdowns changed my attitude to shopping

& I started the below:

  1. I plan my meals for at least 2 weeks!
  2. I order a big grocery shop every fortnight and load my american fridge-freezer the way the fruit and veg keeps fresh for about 2 weeks. I also cook as per expiration date priority 😉
  3. I buy some of the most used products in bulk as its cheaper long run so the initially bigger sum spent is well worth it
  4. I decided not to buy a single piece of clothing in 2021 and maybe even beyond!
  5. I always ask myself ‘do I REALLY NEED that’ ahead of any non-grocery purchase
  6. I try to buy from sustainable and eco-friendly brands where possible
  7. I try to limit my carbon footprint where possible (drive and ride less and cycle and walk where possible)
  8. I try to eliminate as much plastic from my life and house as possible (we already swapped to soap bars and shampoo bars) – they don’t come in plastic packages and use mostly natural ingredients and actually last longer so ultimately save us money in the long run!
  9. We started planting our own vegetables and plan to do it on a bigger scale next year when our DIY and garden will be ready for that 🙂
  10. In my quest to get rid of any plastic at home I am finally switching to using natural products to clean the house (vinegar and soda bicarbonate) aside from the plastic package they come in, I really do not want to inhale the chemicals as it does burden the liver and our endocrine system… 

Closer look at my no clothes buying challenge

I declared  2021 a ‘clothes shop free year’. 7 months in and I am on track! 

No single piece of clothing was bought for me. We did an exception with Luna as we got her dog UV protective vest this summer…

I am blessed to work from home, so I need a few T-shirts and leggings these days….also I am sure many of us walk/open our wardrobes and spot way too many clothes we haven’t had a chance to wear even pre-pandemic…scary but means one thing only ‘ LESS IS MORE.

The clothes shopping temptation is cut by lack of visits to any clothes shops and when avoiding online garment shopping as well. 

I actually never used retail as a therapy, so I am not feeling as if I was missing out on anything and I would like to believe that my action will help the planet. So there is no feeling of missing out on anything but a sense of gain and a positive change!

Why do I do it? 

It is simple – as I care about the planet and the world we leave for our kids…If you are not convinced and would feel deprived when trying to set up a similar challenge, how about checking the elbow facts to help you decide on the importance of this cause?

Water usage and textile production and usage in numbers
Water usage and textile production and usage in numbers [1], [3]

Shocking facts about clothing & water

  1. Consumers waste more than 11 million tons of textiles every year! [2]
  2. Water shortages may affect more than 63% of people by 2050, UN report warns
  3. Cotton uses 3% of water used in agriculture globally.
  4. About half of textiles are made of cotton!
  5. A large amount of water is used for the clothes dyeing process and it also causes a huge amount of pollution.
  6. Brands are working on eliminating pollution when washing clothes e.g. Nike invented a ColorDry process that eliminates “water from fabric dyeing.” Levi’s uses recycled water for its garment finishing process.
  7. 2 most recognisable bodies raising awareness of sustainable cotton-growing practices are: CottonConnect (supported by C&A Foundation) and the Better Cotton Initiative (supported by WWF)
  8. Consumers can reduce the impact of water  wastage when buying LESS. Fixing clothing is another thing that helps, brands such as Patagonia lead with that approach! To conserve water it’s also important to wash your item less, use cooler water and line-dry whenever possible to use less water to clean the item and extend the life of your clothes.
  9. Can’t wear it any longer? Resell unwanted clothes, donate or recycle! Observe companies such as Evrnu® [2]- a textile innovator that has invented an entirely new kind of engineered fiber made from discarded clothing where 3p this process uses 1 %of the water used in the original cotton garment process.
  10. If you can’t resist from buying clothes try to use ethical and eco friendly place such as ethical clothing
How to be more water friendly
How to be more water friendly

What is Ethical Clothing?

It is an ethical clothing search engine founded by two friends from Barcelona:  Ben and Jack.

Why did they build Ethical Clothing?

Jack and Ben realised it was surprisingly difficult to find genuine ethical and sustainable clothing, especially when you have something specific in mind. Even with the best intentions, shoppers can get suckered in by bigger brands that might appear ethical, but don’t live up to their green image behind the scenes.

Wait, aren’t the biggest brands becoming eco-friendly?

The fashion industry has become an expert at leading us to believe that all is fair, humane, and environmentally conscious. Many brands know exactly what to say, and how to ‘dress up’ their products with sustainable messaging, whilst falling so far short on the fundamentals, such as supply chain transparency, fabric choice, build quality, human rights, and recycling.

Behind the clever branding and carefully selected narratives, there are products, and what really matters is how these products are sourced, manufactured, and disposed of at the end of life. This is the part we almost never see, and there’s a reason for it..

Is fast fashion to blame?

I’d dare to say so and consumption culture. You see a piece of clothing for £5 and you buy it, you don’t care when it wears off way too quickly and get another one soon…You get the picture…

I still have clothes which I got in 2006 or maybe even earlier and yes they still look good as I do great take care of my fav pieces. It’s sad that these days most clothes are produced for a short period of time…However investing in maybe a bit more expensive but longer-lasting good brands may be a good tactic to be more sustainable.

Over the last 20 years, the explosion of fast fashion has led to a doubling of clothing production, and a shift in culture. We now consume and dispose of clothing faster than ever before. We want what we see, and we want it for a price that’s simply unsustainable.

But somewhere, someone or something always pays a price for our unrealistic demands. This aggressive consumerism has generated an industry that’s already stretching natural resources and people to their limits.

The fashion industry is broken. The worst is that not only our planet pays for this but also communities that are the poorest and least contributing to this damage!

That is something which I particularly oppose! It hurts me to believe that just because ‘we can’ we close an eye on the side-effects of our ‘consumption culture’ No, no, no!

We need to think about and respect the planet and the less privileged!

Fast fashion and climate change!

Fast fashion is now moving at such a pace that it creates 10% of global CO2 emissions, a figure that’s expected to reach 26% by 2050

Textile dying alone already accounts for 20% of global waste water. And cotton production uses 16% of the world’s pesticides. We could go on, but needless to say, we are sleepwalking into an environmental disaster.

Be the change in the ruthless world where no one seems to care!

Money Saving Girl

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the industry has put profit ahead of sustainability time and time again. As consumers, we have to lead the way, and our currency really does count. So, through conscientious purchasing decisions, we can help grow the small section of the industry that puts ethics at the top of their agenda.

If you buy clothes, go ethical!

Ethical brands do exist, and there are perhaps even more than you’d think. By supporting these brands, and neglecting those that are blatantly unsustainable, together we can make the incremental changes needed to drive a new, cleaner, conscientious fashion industry that’s fit for the future.

So, to help the conscientious consumer and authentic ethical brands alike, Ethical Clothing has begun putting all the ethical clothing products from across Europe in one place, so shoppers don’t have to scour the internet to ensure they’re making the right choices. Because of course, in order to make ethical purchase decisions we need to find authentic ethical options first. By the same token, the brands they feature are given a platform dedicated to helping them find more loyal customers.

Making ethical decisions easier

Ethical Clothing was founded to make ethical decisions easier when it comes to buying clothes and accessories. They’re also keen that consumers should receive honest and open information on the important issues relating to sustainability and ethics within the fashion industry. 

They’ve already covered issues like circular fashion, fast fashion, and controversial materials like bamboo & cotton. Their intention is to report it as is, providing an honest appraisal of the issues that matter, as it’s their firm belief that knowledge and understanding is the cornerstone of meaningful change in complex matters like sustainability.

Ultimately, Ben and Jack hope that ethical-clothing.com will connect more people with more ethical brands for a frictionless and sustainable shopping journey that helps stem our addiction to fast fashion and throw-away culture.

Other related posts on a subject:

How to store fruit and vegetables so they last longer

How to sell clothes online for cash?


[1] More Crop Per Drop – Water Report on The Cotton Industry

[2] Triple Pundit

[3] Euro Parlament

About admin

I am not Martin Lewis but Martyna aka Money Saving Girl. When I first came to the UK I was on a super tight budget, so I know how hard it is not to have money or how to get creative to get 'more for less'. I share with you my money saving tips about anything which worked for me. Be it free samples, shopping tricks, iTunes, various discount apps, websites and reward programs. Occasionally I write about traveling or insurance.

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