31st October 2014


There are 30 days in November. That equates to approximately 130 outfit changes for several occasions and timetabled routine such as; sleeping, working, gymming, partying, studying and cleaning. Yes, we all have ‘those’ particular clothes we wear when we are cleaning, painting and doing the DIY, these are usually the ‘worn out clothes that we are not too bothered about’.

So why is it that I am happy to reuse clothes that once had a twilight era for doing the chores but I will not reuse or up cycle other ‘out of date’ clothes for everyday use? This is just one of the questions I will be asking myself throughout #NothingNewNovember. This challenge has one simple rule I cannot buy anything new. (Apart from food, purchases from second hand stores and life’s necessities. No, Kurt Geiger shoes are no longer life’s necessities for this month).

Why am I doing this?

What lies beneath the price tag?

Alice Elliott, Head of Sustainability, Green Chester, has been bursting at the seams trying to educate me for the past two years about the damaging effects of my shopping habits, (not only on my bank balance) but the repercussions of fast fashion on the; environment, the damaging influence of capitalism and the use of child labour in making me look glam for a night on the town. I am now ready to take off my Dre Beats and listen to this wise owl of ethical wisdom!  

“I like my wage where I can see it. Hanging in my closet”. Carrie Bradshaw.

I am a self-confessed shopaholic. I shop 2-3 times per week, racking up a total of £250-£500 per month depending on what kind of month I have had, the more stress = the more I shop.

My overdraft is as bursting as my wardrobe and my dreams of saving and travelling the world in 2016 are dwindling with every pair of stiletto’s I buy. But hey, I am 23, I have no responsible offspring and I work hard right? Surely I can treat myself with a little trip down the high streets of Chester, Manchester, or London? For me there is no better feeling than …

the bright lights of the high street stores, teasing you in with their clever, colourful marketing …

the unique smell of each store ….

the butterflies in your belly when you snap up the last LBD just in your size … with student discount!

the soft touch of the pure leather boots…

the swift swipe of plastic through the card machine, shaking and sweating slightly as you panic that the payment will not go through …. But it does. Ahhhhh.     

the pleasurable pain of the 3 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of shoes, 2 handbags, 5 dresses, a coat and a ton of makeup stuffed into 2 bags hanging on the edges of your second and third fingers.

And then there is the last stop…

The comforting caffeine arms of Starbucks where I will pull out my new glossy book from Waterstones, and lose myself further in the ideological rhetoric of living in a cosmopolitan 21st century and the perceived importance of having; the clothes, the hair, the car, the experiences, and the Primani wardrobe.  

Is it important in the grand scheme of things? We live in a globalized 21st century where we should be educated about what is happening behind the glitz, the glam, the plastic and the price tags. Our globalized world should give us a direct telescope into the oppression behind the kaleidoscope of capitalism. Yet, the beauty and horror of globalization allows us to ‘turn off’ or ‘not tune in’ to the real story.

An alternative perspective

It is time; I (and whoever else would like to join me) remove our rose tinted Ray Bans and see the world of fast fashion for what it really is. An exploitive business where there are clear winners, losers and people like me, stuck in the middle, sucked in by the polished marketing and sculptured ideological perspectives overshadowing the harrowing stories behind the stores.

I am ready to embark on this challenge, and I would like you to join me too! Here are 3 easy ways to get involved with #NothingNewNovember

  1. Buy nothing new in November. (Vintage/charity stores and ebay are ok).
  2. Tell your friends about the alternative places you are shopping. You are now supporting local businesses as well as saving the world!
  3. Contact GreenChester and tell us about your experience!


You can follow my journey over the next month on the GreenChester website, GreenChester Facebook/Twitter and my blog at: http://beckylees20.wordpress.com/

Becky Lees