Out with my old approach to fashion and in with the new. So what changed?
After recently launching The Eighty Twenty Collection, which is based on achieving a simplified and mindfully curated wardrobe, I have received many questions from family, friends, mums and work colleagues wondering how on earth this all came about!
To some, this venture seems to have come out of left field, and I can see why. After all, I fell off the social radar for a few months to develop the concept, the content and the website. If I’m completely honest though, I kept cards pretty close to my chest for fear of judgement and fear of failure. I’m not sure where that came from, but I’m now living by the motto ‘fearlessly be yourself’.
So back to the question as to how this all came about!
The answer is ‘life happened’. Everyone has their own journey through life and it’s our experiences, triumphs and tribulations, and an openness to learn new things and think differently that continue to shape us. I have come to the realisation that I have been on a gradual journey towards simplification for just over 10 years, without even knowing or acknowledging it.
Let’s get one thing clear. I have always liked good quality, stylish fashion. In my early professional years I had disposable income! I bought what I wanted with no real regard for whether I really needed it, the price, how often I’d wear it, coordination with other wardrobe items, who made it, or how it was made.
After marrying my hubby, we moved to London with a backpack and the intention of staying for one year which turned into three. Unbeknownst to me, this was the catalyst for change. Relocating to another country, living in a small space, resisting the urge to accumulate, prioritising spending for travel adventures, packing limited items for regular holidays, and backpacking for four months on our return to Australia (including through developing countries) redefines your priorities, teaches you a thing or two about minimising your material possessions, and allows you to experience contentment with less.
We moved back to Australia with different financial goals. We saved up and bought a car, we made a tiny 1950’s post war house feel like a home, and made plans to spruce it up. During this period, I was largely able to keep my wardrobe spending at bay because I had more than what I needed and was focused on goals of greater value to me.
A couple of years later I was blessed with becoming a mother. Like many families we had a significant reduction in family income during this period of our lives (maternity leave, and then returning to part-time work). Oh, and at this time we decided to renovate our house (face palm). We were comfortable, but higher expenses and lower income naturally further shaped my purchasing decisions.
The general busy-ness of being a working mum was exacerbated by a crippling neurological disease that took a firm grip on my mum’s life. I wanted to be there to help make her days, as well as support my dad when I could. Simultaneously, my husband was battling some health problems impacting on home and family life. To cut a long story short, my daughter is now four, my mother passed and I have healed, my husband is well, and family life is on an even kilter (happy dance).
It was the combination and timing of these significant life events that pushed me to my limit and led me more wholeheartedly towards the desire for a simplified life. I stumbled across The Minimalists, who have been a source of inspiration in numerous areas of my life.
I eventually tackled the task of decluttering what was now my very tired, worn out wardrobe. Needless to say, during that tough period, I had no time or headspace for seemingly trivial things like maintaining my wardrobe. I didn’t buy much, and when I did I sadly turned to convenient, cheaper options. Having been a person who always enjoyed being well dressed, I felt crap.
The desire grew to achieve a small but perfectly curated wardrobe with the right amount of flexibility, and on this quest I was further inspired by the five piece French wardrobe, the capsule wardrobe, as well as the devastating environmental impacts related to over production and consumption of fast fashion. I was excited to be on a path towards mindfully revamping my wardrobe. I knew I didn’t need a lot, I just needed the right stuff! But I continued to struggle finding the time to do the research.
After a lightbulb moment and two sleepless nights, The Eight Twenty Collection was born! I wanted to take the hard work out of it by providing women with the inspiration, tools and shopping experience to easily achieve a simple, conscious and effortlessly stylish wardrobe. The Collection is based on building a quality over quantity wardrobe whereby 80% consists of lasting, versatile essentials worn 80% of the time, and 20% for adding personality, flexibility and fun.
So there you have it, ‘life happened’, and I couldn’t be happier where it has led me.
“Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful’ – Joshua J Marine