Home truth...I am a 30 year old female, living in a modern society, who will drink from a takeaway coffee cup, who loves purchasing online and the occasional binge trip to Kmart. I use disposable nappies for my children (big thumbs up to ladies who use cloth, I wish I was more organized and could keep up with the washing) I like the smell of brand new shoes, and quite like meat. I am human and I certainly have a carbon foot print. However the most important thing is that I try, I am trying to leave the world a better place for my children, I am trying to do my bit for the planet.
BUT...To be frankly honest the "No Brand New" challenge wasn't about saving the planet, it was about saving myself...a young first time mum who had just sold her creative business, a mum drowning in a modern world and all its expectations. I was foggy and lost, I longed for creative outlet, I longed for connection, and I wanted to contribute financially to our family (like all modern women have been taught to do, have the babies and have a good career...thanks feminism it maybe did more harm than good for some of us) So I decided to start the No Brand New challenge, I wanted to clear my mind and focus on the important things , a re connection to creativity and mother nature, a wanted to do something I loved other than raising my little boy (in my case it was the love of second hand shopping, fashion, the reinvention process, styling, vintage and writing all merged) We needed to live a more sustainable life, and I needed to learn how to slow down If I was going to live out my passionate desire to remain a stay at home mum in this "more is better" society. If I could help save the planet at the same time then that was a huge huge bonus, but sorry planet you were kind of an after thought!!
I recently gave birth to my second baby, a delightful little girl and have once again have found myself in the miraculous yet overwhelming world of a new born. I should mention that second time has been a much more relaxed & enjoyable experience however as all mothers know you still experience a feeling that I can only describe as losing yourself. With the birth of a baby, you are also born again as a mother. My very own mother once told me in her wisdom, that the old version of yourself is gone, its good to openly mourn that loss but it's time to reinvent yourself. That statement made so much sense to me & my love for reinvention was rekindled once again.
My little girl is 12 weeks tomorrow, 3 months, and technically only classed as a new born for 1 more week. So its perfect time to start the reinvention process yet again. On the 1st of September, the first day of spring (a perfect time for new beginnings) I am kicking into another "No Brand New Challenge" or should I call it the "Brand New You" challenge...It's not only about saving the planet & saving your pennies and it's certainly not about frowning on those of you who love binge trips to Kmart (I love Kmart) It's about connection & clarity, reinvention and creativity and last but not least slowing down. Its a 3 month challenge that's more for the soul. Someone said to me "but shopping is therapy for my soul"... In which I replied "don't worry you can still shop on this challenge. The way you shop, and what you buy will suddenly have more meaning than ever before. As I have experienced its the love, passion and creativity that goes into the reinvention process that gives an object more value. It carries all the charm of the past and can suddenly reinvent it self into the future. Call it reinventing the wheel or recasting old ideas, but these contemporary versions have a spirit and style all on their own.
So you are intriguided... but want to know the rules of the challenge?
- Buy nothing "brand new" for 3 months. There are exceptions to the "no brand new" of course which in our health & safety mad world can't be avoided, including consumables, toiletries and underwear.
- What does consumables mean? "a commodity that is intended to be used up relatively quickly...such as food, medicine, certain items of stationery such as printer ink, paint, nails...you get the idea.
- The purchase of secondhand, vintage, upcycled, recycled, and re loved items are permitted... "Items that are reused (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original."
This blog and the "No Brand New" directory featuring some of New Zealand's best upcycling businesses was created to capture the magic of reinvention in all of its shapes and forms, into your home, and out to your garden, from gifts, to your children, to fashion. Hopefully I can ease the pressure of this modern world...prepared to be amazed and inspired and join me on my "no brand new" challenge.