Archive for April 2012

wear it out

April 6, 2012

Wear it out‘ is a campaign directed at teenagers that I discovered a couple of days ago.  The idea is that instead of buying new clothes you put on the clothes you have and ‘wear them out’ (it says this nowhere in the literature but I assume the premis from the title).  The pledge is that you would abstain from buying any new clothes for 3 months.

It caught my eye (since i’m a youth worker and since I think I buy too much stuff too often) and so I clicked onto the link with the thought that probably I would post this link on the website for our youth group.

It’s a well laid out clear website with a lot of resources that seem helpful and challenging.

But a few things put me off a bit:

1) a website that is trying to get people to die to fashion has more pictures of fashionable, trendy hipster young people than a kays catalogue (does that still exist?).  It felt like I was being drawn into the campaign because it would be ‘fashionable’ to do so.

2) When I saw the ‘registration fee’ (£35 or £15) I thought huh? I wonder why encouraging people not to buy stuff would cost money or why it would require a registration at all?  And then I thought ‘ah well I guess printing flyers and advertising the campaign in the Presbyterian Herald costs money’ but then I kept reading and realised that actually my money is used to get me a ‘fashion fix’ at the end of the three months.

Now you can imagine my joy (aka disgust) when I discovered that the ‘fashion fix’ was either a T-shirt (£15 registration fee) OR wait for it… a pair of Tom’s (don’t get me started) shoes (£35 registration fee).

Suddenly I began to wonder if this was a holy campaign or an advertising campaign for Tom aka Blake.

The famous Tom’s shoes ‘barefoot walk’ takes place in Northern Ireland next week and they are hoping for over 3000 people to break the world record.  This is part of the ‘wear it out’ campaign.

Look, the bottom line is I think it would be a great thing for people and for the world if we didn’t buy new clothes that we don’t need.  I think it would be a great thing for those people and for the world if they gave the money that they would have spent on clothes away.  These are two great challenges from the ‘wear it out’ campaign.  But it just feels to me that in an attempt to help teenagers (and I don’t understand why not also adults) think more deeply and well about how we spend our money and what our addiction to fashion and our slavery to advertising and consumption does to us and people across the world they have sold out to exactly that.

We need to be people who radically change how we live and how we spend our money.  We need to be challenged on our felt need for a ‘fashion fix’ as if we somehow deserve it.  We do not need that desire to be fed, we need it to be obliterated.