I've seen a lot of posts trying to examine why we buy and why we buy so much. Reason or emotion, it used to be a badge of honor that you could make what you needed and were self-sufficient. That pioneer spirit is supposed to be the underpinning of our culture in the U.S., but what happened to it? It seems like now we are supposed to buy buy buy.
Now, buying is the symbolism for the ability to buy. Having bought things proves we could do it, that we are successful enough to buy what we want. The whole "keeping up with the Jones" mentality. If you make things that must mean you aren't successful. The whole point of our working lives seems to be to buy things so that others will know we can buy things. Making things is an activity for people who have to, because who would want to go through the trouble when you can just go to the store and pick something up on sale for a low low price.
It seems like we're not supposed to take pride in what our possessions say about our personality. It is only what they say about how much we have and how successful we are that matters. Labels and who wore it matter more than what the item actually looks like. How many pictures do you see of celebrities and fashion models wearing things we think "no normal person would want to wear" and yet there we go, following the next trend no matter how strange or unflattering.
I was introduced to this really interesting website The Story of Stuff from Ali's blog. It was a real eye-opener in that it articulated perfectly the feeling I'd had for a while but couldn't quite put my finger on. Why should our stuff define us, not as interesting people with values but simply as people who own stuff? Our clothes should be evidence of our style, not the driver of our style. People should define style, not clothes. We should be proud of clothes we make because they look good and are what we wanted. How many people who only shop RTW get to wear exactly what they want? Your style doesn't have to be bound by what the shops have for you to buy.
Reading all the wonderful blogs out there written by so many talented people making their own clothes from scratch or refashioned so they have what they want, not what company executives decided they should want, is so inspiring. These are the blogs I read most frequently, but there is so much creativity out there I couldn't begin to catalogue it all.