THE CLEAN START PROJECT
Blue7, a locally owned Oklahoma City gift and clothing boutique, is in the 6th year of their Clean Start Project.
They say, “It’s about a love of people and denim (They have an entire denim store within their shop and it’s fabulous!). It’s about the rawness and newness, watching the indigo fade during the movements and use of each individual’s life. The project brings a diverse group of people together to hang out and build a bond over our denim throughout the 7 months.”
THE RULES (simple yet complex): 1 pair of raw denim jeans for 7 months, running October 1 through April 30. Wear 6 of 7 days a week. No washing.
Think of it as a lab experiment. In a way I'm a Guinea pig. Take a quality garment, wear it every day and watch as it transforms in the most natural state fitting to the curves and movement of my body and lifestyle. I’m curious how they will look and feel at the end of the process.
"Buy less. Buy better." – Vivian Westwood
Part of the concept in this challenge is spending a little more on higher-quality garments and even supporting the designers and makers directly, many small business owners. Rather than consuming trendy fast-fashion, purchase well-made products with finer materials that last longer in the end and become staple and statement pieces to your wardrobe. It’s like splurging on those incredible Frye boots and wearing them for a lifetime, even though you have to resole, polish and treat the leather, they are treasures and worth the initial expense.
Yikes, you can’t wash the jeans! This was the hard one for me, but it's doable. The purpose in not washing and drying is to keep the integrity of the denim intact. It’s a big part of the experiment in seeing how the fabric works and changes with natural wear. If you throw it in the washer and dry it, it modifies the dynamic of the fibers and the shape that you are making which manipulates the outcome and will wear the jeans down quicker in the process as well. Raw denim takes on the characteristics and lifestyle of the wearer. As the months go by the denim stretches, dye fades, you lose weight, or rips in the knees appear, so things will need to be repaired. Patches, stitches and alterations will be built into the personality of the denim.
Some things of note to explain the concept for me personally:
1) This is a personal challenge...mental…a commitment to myself, start to finish.
2) It will curb spending. I won’t need to buy one stitch of clothing. I have everything I need and this will keep me in check. I have no reason to go into Target and walk into the women’s section and buy everything in the store, thank you very much…staying strong!
3) When I travel, I can take everything in a carry-on (I hope), which is a lifelong dream.
4) It will force me to look at the rest of my world in how to create more simplicity and ease of a minimal lifestyle.
THE NEXT 7 MONTHS
I’m in my first 10 days of the project and enjoying the process thus far. I’m so cautious not to let my environment make my jeans look too rugged quite yet. But, with 2 pugs who just love to rub their furry selves on my legs when I wear black and a rare spill or crumb I’ve had to spot clean once which, with raw denim, rubs some of the color off causing a fade. So, I have one little spot of transformation already but am doing great and loving my jeans.
Be sure to follow me further on my jeans journey as I share my experience in the project, frequent ensemble updates on Instagram and blog posts to come. Sign up for my emailings to get notices on the latest.
FUTURE POSTS INCLUDE : DETAILS ON MY JEANS OF CHOICE / CAPSULE WARDROBES / SLOW FASHION MOVEMENT