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Interview: Becky Barnes’ Year Challenge

Interview: Becky Barnes’ Year Challenge

Would you be able to go a whole year without buying brand new clothes? Could you resist New Year sales or new season designs? Our stylist, Becky Barnes has done just that, setting herself a challenge to only buy from charity or vintage shops this year. We caught up with her to find out more…..

becky-barnesQ1. Can you explain what your challenge is?

A. The challenge is not to buy any clothes from new for a whole year. It doesn’t mean I can’t buy anything, it just means they need to be sourced from secondhand sources such as charity shops, vintage shops, eBay and local selling sites.

Q2. Why did you decide to do it?

 A. I did it because for me, 2018 is about trying to reduce waste. It started as a New Years Resolution to reduce my use of single use plastics but it soon grew into clothes too!

Q3. What are the benefits of the challenge?

A. Each year in the UK we send 235 million items of clothing to landfill and this breaks my heart, especially as most of those clothes will be made from man made fabrics and will take hundreds if not thousands of years to break down. By extending the life of garments, I will be reducing the number of items that end up in landfill and I won’t be using any valuable resources which go into making the clothes in the first place. Im also spending far less than normal and charities are benefiting from it too so it’s a win win win as far as I’m concerned!

 Q4. You are holding events and workshops linked to the cause, what dates and topics are these?

A. I’ve just held a series of workshops on how to charity shop like a professional in conjunction with Linda Thomas Eco Design and there are other workshops on the horizon too in conjunction with pre-loved designer boutiques. I’m also working on the finer details of a top secret project and I’ll share details as soon as I can!

 becky-barnesQ5. What has the response been like from friends, family and clients?

A. It’s been mixed! Some people think I’m mad and declared they could never do it themselves but others have embraced it with open arms. There are now over 70 of us trying to last the year and I hope this number will rise!

 Q6. You are in the second month now, how are you finding it?

A. When all the New Years sales were on it was so hard not to look for bargains and I also realised how many marketing emails I was subjected to but since then I’ve just not been bothered! I have bought a few new pieces from charity shops including a beautiful silk shirt so I don’t feel deprived at all.

 Q7. Has there been an item that you has really tempted you? 

A. Not yet and I’m dreading the moment when it does! It’s going to really test my willpower!

Q8. What would your three top tips be to someone who is thinking of taking up the challenge themselves?

1/ avoid temptation – unsubscribe from all the mailing lists that bombard you with marketing emails

2/ take a look at what you already have and make the most of it. I see very few women who actually need more clothes but we fall into the trap of wearing the same few items again and again so we feel like we don’t have a lot

becky-barnes3/ remember there are some amazing charity and pre-loved shops out there where you can get hold of some beautiful items for a fraction of the original cost


Q9. Are there any charity shops or vintage shops that you would recommend?

A. I love the Gloucester Road for charity shops, Village Green in Clifton Village for pre-loved designer and Rhubarb Jumble in Bedminster for vintage treasures.

 Q10. Do you think after the year you will continue?

A. Who knows if I will continue to source entirely from second hand shops but it’s certainly been easier than I thought so far!