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Fifteen Fashion Addicts Quit Shopping for One Year

For the Free Fashion Challenge, 15 unlikely anti-consumers will refrain from buying clothes for one year.

For the past few years, Buy Nothing Day has served as a quiet rejoinder to a day (and a season) marred by the worst of consumer culture. Even if Black Friday isn't the year's biggest shopping day, it is a nice occasion for staging a widespread effort of non-participation. But what happens afterward? Might there be a better way to transform our shopping habits?

Indeed there might. Back on November 11, a group of unlikely anti-consumers launched the Free Fashion Challenge, in which 15 self-described "fashion addicts" pledged to refrain from buying clothes for an entire year. For the next 12 months, participants will blog about their experiences, hold swap parties, and engage in all sorts of "assignments" online.

Whereas Buy Nothing Day's (non)participants are generally predisposed toward counter cultural trends from the get-go, the Free Fashion Challenge involves big spenders, meaning their actions are fairly life-altering. Clearly, the abstinence of 15 former shoppers won't put a dent in the impact of the global industry, but it will serve as an object lesson for everyone who visits the site. Seeing as the garment industry is notoriously wasteful, guilty of widespread labor abuses, and built on planned obsolescence produced by fickle trends—and seeing as we all need to clothe ourselves—we should all take note.

Perhaps one day we'll brag about how small our closets are.

Photo: An inventory of one participant's wardrobe revealed 351 pieces.

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