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The Rife Team

Has lockdown turned into an online shopping spree for you, too?

Noah’s online clothes shopping has spiked during lockdown – and he’s not alone

The COVID-19 pandemic forcing us into lockdown has drastically increased our online spending habits. According to The Evening Standard, ASOS sales ‘jumped 23% to £1.3 billion in the four months to December 31, with a 36% rise in UK sales.’ Perhaps this rise in UK shopaholics has something to do with everybody saving money following the closure of pubs and restaurants, or the extended time spent on our devices that constantly pummel us with adverts specifically targeted at us by cookies.

It could be any number of things, but to tell the truth, it can be fun to be a bit ignorant in a time like this and buy things for the thrill of it – even when we know fashion production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions. Don’t get me wrong, buying a beautiful dress worth a lot of money that you won’t get wear out of in God knows how long is plain and simply dumb. But the excitement of searching for the dress, contemplating whether to buy it, eventually building up the courage to do so, waiting for it to come, and then finally the ecstatic moment when it arrives, makes it all worth it. In all fairness, there isn’t a lot else to excite us at the moment.

With very little do in the real world, we are filling our days with whatever we can, and online shopping has clearly become a popular way to pass the time and feel gratified. I myself am guilty on all charges of sneaker hoarding, despite the fact that slippers have been my only pair of essential footwear these past few weeks of following government protocol. I am not the only person guilty of needlessly spending in my household however –  my family are just as bad.

To prove my point, I decided to ask my family what clothes they have purchased during lockdown and photographed them in their new outfits. They agreed – of course, they won’t be seen by anybody otherwise…

First up, my mum Tanya.

My mum’s outfit consists of a new pair of Cubitt glasses and a Zara wool coat. She commented that she’s ‘finally accepted that I am too old to be without glasses’ and that it actually ‘felt like a beauty treatment sitting for forty-five minutes, having my eyes tested and talking to someone other than my immediate family’. The voguish Cubitt glasses have bi-focal lenses, meaning they cost a staggering £400. The wool coat is from the always reliable and affordable Zara. She says that the coat is ‘highly impractical for walking the dog – but will be so great when I can finally go out again.’

Secondly, my sister Romy, who is an Astrophysicist at the University of Bristol.

Romy’s outfit consists of a Comme Des Garcons stripey top, Levi’s jeans and a pair of Nike Air Jordan 4s. In an effort to be sustainable, Romy buys a lot of her clothes from various reselling websites. Romy managed to get her Comme Des Garcons top – normally priced around £70 – for a whopping £5 from the app Vinted, which she says is predominately used by ‘mums who are clueless of what anything is worth’. The top is as good as new, with no signs of wear and tear. Romy also managed to get her Levi’s jeans for only £30 from  Depop, which is another good place to bargain hunt for clothes, especially considering all of the charity shops and thrift stores are closed. Romy’s footwear, on the other hand, was acquired from Offspring for the standard price. The always fashionable Jordan brand is very popular with my family. It wouldn’t be a mistake to say we all want to be like Mike.

Finally, my brother Kip, who is in first year of college at BHASVIC.

Kip’s outfit consists of a Margaret Howell knitted cardigan over a plain white tee, a pair of Carhartt ‘simple pant’ trousers and Nike Air Jordan 1 Mochas. The cardigan comes from a family friend’s shop in Brighton called Peggs & Son – it’s always a bonus to support a friend’s business and look fresh at the same time! Kip is also a big fan of the various reselling apps available on his iPhone. He managed to get his Carhartt trousers for a tiny £35. He says ‘they are very stylish at the moment and they go with most outfits’. It is also important to include that they fit very well on him, which is often a problem when buying trousers because he is very fussy about how they sit on his trainers, which are none other than a pair of fresh Jordans also copped from Offspring. It would be an understatement to say that we were excited when Netflix’s The Last Dance came out in the first lockdown.  

It is clear to see that my family have not held back on spending money on their outfits this lockdown – just like the rest of the population if those statistics are anything to go by. Whether it’s a bargain or just the regular price, it can be exciting to succumb to the materialistic nature of our society. Endlessly scrolling through websites and mentally preparing outfits is a good way to procrastinate and evidently, as the statistics show, you’re probably at it too. Of course, we must think sustainably, as my sister always insists, but if it makes you happy spending your money on clothes then go ahead if it keeps your spirits high. Bonus: the economy will definitely benefit, too.

Have you been sweeping the online shops during lockdown? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

All photos by Noah Taylor.