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Buying nothing new

07 29 11

Saw a TED talk called ‘Wearing Nothing New’, by Jessi Arrington.

The talk itself was nicely punchy, although a bit predictable – about finding all necessary items of clothing second-hand.

One problem is that she appears to advocate for saving resources, but doesn’t acknowledge an obvious contradiction: fashionistas shop for way more clothes than they need – quite a wasteful starting point for a tree-hugger. Ok, she gives them back to the store in the end – and I like the statement ‘It’s OK to let go’, to a certain extent. But then, you’d have to be pretty loaded on the long term to buy new clothes for a week, then give them all up and start again.

However, if you disregard the bobo incoherence, the idea contained in the title is pretty great.

Often I wonder if we could achieve this and for how long: living in a society where all available ‘things’ are visible / tradeable, and our first move would be to buy objects already ‘in the world’, instead of getting everything new.

Why do we need and end up getting NEW stuff?
Undoubtedly there is something about our psychological approach to self, wanting to be the first to use/wear something, associating NEW with a certain idea of CLEAN, good old-fashioned social pride to be able to afford NEW, etc.
But also, it still seems easier to buy NEW than USED, doesn’t it – just compare the IKEA online catalog and the sexy Craigslist of results if you type ‘wardrobe’.

More on this later.