My eyes pried away from my pink iPhone and gazed over at all the 160 shops at the Camarillo Outlet north of Los Angeles. Shopping in bright sunshine under palm trees is one of my favorite things to do within the first two days after arriving at LAX airport. I’ve been on Instagram for exactly one year now and going shopping has become so much more fun since I can feature myself and receive a lot of appreciation for my outfits. I have become a walking clothes rack. A studied clothes rack of course.
Once I sent my location via Whatsapp to a friend in Hamburg. By coincidence, we always text exactly when I’m browsing through the shops. He responded with an eye rolling sign signaling that he doesn’t like shopping. But I don’t care, I always just put my phone back into my purse to continue shopping looking at all the dresses, skirts and shoes.
I stopped at these shops to look around. I realized I sold my soul to Instagram, to my followers, and to all the labels around me. Only two years ago I was deeply engaged in research of the scientific study on the production of fair clothing production. Pink shoes and lace dresses have made it so easy for me to fall in love with them that I didn’t care where they are coming from and whether little children’s hands could have sewn them. I was ashamed of myself. There was no one there judging me and yet it was unbelievably embarrassing how I acted. Without sense and reason.
A few weeks later I flew back to Germany with far fewer purchases than usual during my visits to LA. Once home I didn’t really know what to do with these feelings. I love my followers on Instagram but should I continue as before? Or should I just not post more outfits? Or should I not feature myself? I just wanted to be myself again so I started searching in my studio for the literature of two years ago. I found books with titles like;
“Deathly Chic – Noble Labels, Cheap Fashion – Inhumane Produced,”
“Wearing three times, throw Away- What’s the Real Price of T-shirts, Jeans and Co?” and
“Overdressed – The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion”
They reminded me of the beginnings of my research on fashion. The following weekend I watched some documentaries like “Fashion beats morality” about fashion and horrible working conditions. With tears in my eyes I watched a documentary about a 12-year-old girl working 16 hours a day in a factory where she was not allowed to sit. She couldn’t go to school because her family had too little money.
I am at a point where I know that I have to change something about myself. I read that even the market for second-hand clothing is already saturated so that some institutions no longer accept that clothing. The world is in a total consumption frenzy. As I open the doors of my wardrobe I notice:
I have enough clothing to open a store!
Shocking! I would like to test this by conducting a self-experiment. For one year, I will live only from the contents of this cabinet and keep a diary about it. No new clothes and no second-hand clothes. How much potential is there in my closet? Do I buy so much because I need it, or does it give me a kind of satisfaction? This year, I will continue to learn more about fair trade clothes and about labels and working conditions that are unacceptable. All this will be read on my blog. What comes after the year? I do not know at this point. The beginning is the most important part of the work.
On the 1st of December I´ll start. I will open my closet doors and reveal the contents on new blog posts and on Instagram. And do you know what has already happened today in this moment? As I´m writing this, I feel relieved. Relieved that I do not need to support this anymore. My first step.