Friday, 30 September 2011

Why Do The Project? Part 1: Anti-Consumerism

One thing I hear from new participants is that they're not sure what to tell people when they're asked why they're doing the Project. While there are a lot of reasons why you might do it (more than I could think of to include) and many of them will be quite personal, I'm going to do a little mini-series on the motto of the Dress Project to help clarify for people what, exactly, we mean when we say 'anti-consumerism, pro-simplicity, anti-conformity, pro-imagination.' I'm going to start off with the first phrase, 'anti-consumerism.'

First of all, I think it's important to understand that doing the Dress Project doesn't really indicate your habits one way or the other as far as shopping, spending, and consuming. Maybe you're the kind of person who maxes out credit cards on shoe shopping. Maybe you can't stand malls. Maybe you've always had enough money to buy whatever clothes you want or maybe you're pining after clothes you can't afford. Maybe you already feel strongly that we should be more frugal and less wasteful in how we buy our clothes, or maybe it's only just come onto your radar. The point is not that you are or are not living in a way that challenges typical consumer behaviour before the start of the Project. The point is that as you embark on the Project, whether in a small way or a big way, you are helping yourself and those around you to question and explore those behaviours.

As well, I do want to specify what the phrase 'anti-consumerism' does not mean, so we can avoid any confusion. It does not mean 'anti-shopping', 'anti-clothes', or 'anti-spending'. So what does it mean? I think consumerism is a mind-set where you consider yourself entitled to waste if it makes you feel good. Wikipedia calls it "a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts." If you find yourself buying to make yourself feel good, buying so much that you get rid of things that are perfectly functional just because they're taking up too much space, or buying more than you can afford, than the October Dress Project might be a good practice for you to help wean you of these habits and make you think about your purchasing decisions. If, on the other hand, you find that the above descriptions of anti-consumerism already resonate with how you live your life, then the October Dress Project would be a good way for you to open up conversations and raise awareness about your beliefs.

In summary, the 'anti-consumerism' portion of the ODP motto comes down to helping women of all stripes spend less money, use what they have more wisely, and raise awareness about how we can evaluate our desires and needs in the area of spending.

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Flickr, Twitter and Other Stories

Hi all,
Just wanted to make you aware of a couple ways you can stay in touch with the larger community of fellow October Dress Project-ers.

Facebook-- If you don't have a Flickr account or blog, the Facebook group is a good place to share pictures of your dress and keep in touch with everyone.
Flickr-- You can also share your dress photos here. Most ODP participants keep a daily record of their outfits to help keep each other inspired and document the process.
Tweeting your dress project? Use the hashtag #ODP11.
If you're planning on blogging your project, let me know at finally.vinyl(a) and I can link the blog with your name on The Roster so other participants can keep track of you.

I'll be posting up a picture of my dress tomorrow, since I'll be without internet access October 1st and 2nd. We're about to begin, friends!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Finding a Dress

The Project starts in four days! I am excited. I hope, however, that my belly doesn't decide to blossom this month. After missing last year's project for my wedding and honeymoon, I get to experience this one in my fifth month of pregnancy. I wanted to offer some quick advice for getting an October Dress if its getting down to the wire and you still don't have one.

Obviously, running to the mall and spending a few hours trying on new dresses doesn't exactly encourage the qualities the ODP is about. Here are some alternative methods if you stare into your closet and don't see a single potential dress.

-Visit a thrift or charity store. Not only will your dress be less expensive than buying it new, it will also be recycled.
-Sew something. Not, at this point, for the faint-of-heart, but if your sewing skills are equal to putting together a dress in four days, go for it!
-Make a trade. If you have a friend/friends to do the project with, maybe you could organize a closet swap. Everyone brings the clothes (not just dresses) that they are not using from their closets, and hopefully everyone comes away with some new-to-them clothes. It's a good way to find a dress that needs a good home and it will feel new to you which will help you through the doldrums of mid-October.
-Buy new with conscience. If you can't find a dress through any of the above methods, opt for a retailers that gives back in some way. KNO Clothing will give free buttons/stickers to anyone opting to wear a KNO dress for the project (contact Jessica Yu via the Facebook group) and is committed to ending homelessness. Support a local designer. Buy a dress that was sustainably made. Use your money for something a little more important or creative than just a cheap garment from a big store.

Any other ideas or plans? Post them in the comments.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Welcome To the New Site!

Hello October Dress Project-ers, Both Previous and Prospective!

We are glad to see you. Please browse around a bit, read what we're all about, and if you decide that you'd like to participate, email finally.vinyl(a) to get your name (and contact website if so desired) added to the roster. Over the course of the month, you can provide photos for the gallery, keep up with blog posts, and share your experiences here and in the Facebook group. Looking forward to dress-projecting with you.

--Tala and Avery