I know that I’m an asshole !
I know that some of my views are not popular, I know that the way I look at certain things makes people angry, I am referring in particular to when I talk about peoples spending habits, my perception of greed and waste and the guys who wear their denim like it’s a dress up costume. Well, these are my opinions and I don’t ask anyone to agree with me, or even acknowledge them, I state them in my own words and in my own little corner of the internet. The question which I know people ask, and I know because I have been told, is that some folks want to know if I can practice what I preach. I am aware that any new item which I acquire is met with derision by certain individuals who take it as a sign of me not having the courage of my convictions, so I’m going to set about showing that I live by what I say.
What I’ve been up to.
Over a period of the last 18 months I have gone through a process of trimming down my wardrobe, I have got rid of almost everything that I don’t wear regularly, of which the last remains are currently on eBay. I have sold expensive and unused items to fund more necessary things in my personal life such as household and car repairs, and family trips and I am almost at the point where the clothing I have left in my wardrobe is all regularly used, but nothing much else is required. It is filled with items that I love and firmly believe to be amongst the best available, as evidenced by the FWA posts, so I am almost satisfied that I have a wardrobe which is both functional and enjoyable and filled with items which are versatile and timeless. This has been done on purpose to get me to the point where I can begin my Denim Monk challenge.
The Denim Monk challenge
The Denim Monk challenge is something which has been going through my mind for over a year now, ever since I first provoked indignant response by suggesting that people who own 25 pairs of jeans and 40 shirts were perhaps behaving a little excessively. It is a simple challenge with a few built in caveats to make it eminently achievable and goes hand in hand with my FWA philosophy of owning and using the very best, timeless items I can lay my hands on. The challenge in its most basic form is that I will not be purchasing any new denim items, shirts, jackets, coats, leather goods or boots for a period of not shorter than 24 months, no new purchases on a whim, nothing brought in because it’s a bargain or because I just fancy a change, what I have will take me through this next two years, sort of.
Like I said, there are a couple of caveats, the first of which being that I won’t stopping my FWA leather jacket quest as I see that as an action already in motion not to mention it is an item which will see plenty of use, the next FWA’s I intend to investigate are for things not covered by the challenge (tee’s, sneakers etc..) so the FWA hunt will not have to stop. The second caveat is that for business purposes I might need to acquire a new pair of jeans at the end of the year if I decide to run another denim contest, at the moment I am undecided on that and even if I do I might stick to administrating it rather than competing, we will see. Lastly, if I manage to find gainful, full time employment in the industry with an employer who’s wares I need to use I will of course be doing so. Now, to be clear as to which items are included and which are not I have drawn up the following lists.
Included Not Included (consumables)
Jeans Tee Shirts
Flannel Shirts Sports wear (sneakers, jogging trousers etc..)
Denim Shirts Night wear
Shoes Hats (I’m bald!)
Boots Cheap, ethical knitwear basics (not loopwheeled expensive knitwear)
Is it really difficult?
You might be thinking that this sounds easy, or you might be thinking that I must be insane. For me personally it will only be difficult because I work retailing some really cool brands, who kindly give me discount on their products (and I really like their products), so I will have to negate that desire. I would guess that most folks wouldn’t think that this is a particularly tough challenge, indeed I don’t think it’s a tough challenge at all, which begs the question why don’t more people live like this? The answer is twofold and simple, firstly they simply don’t want to and secondly humans naturally ignore things which conflict with their ideal of how to live, think, act and look.
My contention is that the hoarding of expensive clothing misses the point of the clothing in the first place. This is clothing which is meant to be worn, used to its potential and enjoyed, having 20 of them all neatly in a drawer defeats the object, I know because I have done it myself. I recall reading an interview with Haraki San of Iron Heart which my friend Keat Chan did last year where Haraki said that he would prefer people to wear their clothes to their full potential (or words to that effect), he acknowledged that this presented him with a problem of selling things but wisely noted that perhaps the answer was to expand the market rather than to keep milking the same cow, this is key. I do not care about exclusivity, I think that everyone has the same right to own great jeans, jackets and shirts rather than a select few owning piles of them, this is my point and this why I will become a Denim Monk, no replication, no waste, no excess, use what you have and appreciate the privilege of doing so.
What I hope to gain
What I hope to gain is a closer understanding and relationship with the things that I love, I intend to own them rather than them owning me and through this I hope to gain a greater understanding as to what makes them so great. I will have to maintain them or have them maintained, repaired and regularly cleaned if I am going to be using them seriously regularly, this will bring me closer to understanding the functionality of the design and understanding how to strengthen and improve stress points. Far from being down about the prospective lack of new purchases I am excited, I am elated to have this opportunity to increase my understanding and to use what I have as it was designed to be used.