Almost half a year has passed, since two Argentinian friends challenged each other to stop shopping for 12 months, in order to draw attention to the ever-increasing pace of consumerism.
Evangelina Himitian and Soledad Vallejos, both reporters for the Argentine daily La Nacion, decided to quit recreational shopping cold turkey on April 1.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Soledad Vallejos, Journalist
“Already 5 months and personally to me, the decision itself is ours. We both have a family, with husband and children. And I think that is where the biggest challenge is. Evangelina always repeat that the decision is ours, but our family is crossed by what we are doing.”
Stepped-up consumerism does not just encroach on your time and savings, but also leads to an “explosion in clandestine sweatshops,” where employees are underpaid and overworked, the pair of journalists warned.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Evangelina Himitian, Journalist
“Eating is to fill a space and I think we can do something that is much more productive and interesting and gives us more satisfaction than buying.”
Still, the experiment has led to a “great change in attitude” among friends and relatives, including the opening of an exhibit entitled “I’m Out of the Closet,” where an underground sweatshop recreates the “hostile conditions” that garment workers are often subjected to.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Fernanda Diaz, Artist
“What I came to realize here is an invitation to the viewer to have an inside look, while trying to think of consuming and why that happens when you eat.”
In the past two decades, an average Argentinean went from buying 9 articles of clothing a year to more than 20, according to the reporters’ statistics.
What’s more, “we only use 20 percent of the clothing in our closet,” the two discovered while researching consumer trends.