I am currently preparing myself for lent. This is not for a religious reason but has been inspired by another motivation: a quest into the psychology behind our often too large and glutinous, ego-centred wardrobes.
I shall be trying to wear only 6 garments (this doesn’t include underwear, shoes or sportswear) for the next 6 weeks, a sponsored challenge that is organised yearly by campaign group Labour Behind the Label.
Above: the 6 items I have chosen - featuring Hemp On Toast Harem Style Trousers (left) and the Blouson Jacket (foreground peach jacket).
Fasting is fairly ubiquitous around the world, and is mostly linked to a religion and ideas of purification and psychological strength. It also often coincides with a period of food scarcity, like now in the UK when stocks are dwindling from last year’s harvest and new growth has not quite caught up to fill the gap.
These two things – close following of religious customs and scarcity - aren’t things we associate with modern life in the Western world. Nor with fashion. Yet this time of year might serve to remind us of the realities of both, and of how they could link quite closely to the fashion world too.
By only having 6 items to choose from, I’m interested how my wardrobe fast will give me insights into what my true needs are clothes wise. How much external pressure do I experience for changing my wardrobe, buying and wearing new things... ? Am I able to overcome this and appreciate what I have, focusing on gaining happiness and fulfilment through other means than my outward appearance?
I would recommend trying this yourself – whether it’s just for a week to start with (I may be being over-ambitious launching straight into 6 weeks!) and see what happens. I think there’s nothing better than an experiential experiment to begin to unpick the complex fashion world we’re living with today.