2010 Canadian Weblog Awards Exclusive Nominee Interview with Alison Dunn and Perdy Andrews of 365 Fashion Rehab

Alison Dunn and Perdy (Perdita) Andrews author 365 Fashion Rehab, which is nominated in the Fashion & Style, Group Weblog, and People's Choice categories of the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Why blogging?

We both have always had a passion for writing and thought that blogging about our experiences would be a great way to share our thoughts with each other and the rest of the world. We also thought that it upped the ante of the project by holding ourselves accountable and being accountable to those following our journey. When we launched 365 Fashion Rehab, over half the people polled said that they thought we wouldn't make it past three months! We showed them, right?

You have committed yourselves to give up shopping for clothes or shoes or other pretty things for an entire year and are more than two-thirds of the way through. Was it your ridiculously burgeoning closets that pushed you to do it?

Partially, yes! And, at this point in our lives we thought we would have more traditional assets (a home, a retirement fund, etc...), but we realized that so many of our hard earned dollars were found hanging in our closets. When we lived together in Toronto, we used to have "Shopping Saturdays" every week so we would have something new to wear that night.

We love shopping so much, but between buying duplicate items and excessive bingeing and purging, we knew it was time to put our credit cards on ice!

Surely you have not given up on buying everything altogether. How do you decide which shopping is necessary?

The rules of the project are no buying clothes, accessories, make-up, or frivolous home decor. This includes basic items like underwear and lip balm. We just have to make do with what we have and be creative. It's extreme, but, for us former shopaholics, it had to be. The rules and regulations don't include supplies and services; we can still get our hair cut, and if our toaster breaks we can buy a new one.

What have you learned about yourselves now that such a large part of your lives has been effectively removed?

We have learned that we don't need to own the latest pair of jeans in order to feel good about ourselves.

When you can't shop, blogging about it is almost as good! Most of our free time has been spent building our site and learning how to become multi-media experts, but we still allow ourselves time to catch up with each other, as old friends should.

Is this shopping diet going to continue in a less severe form when the 365 days are over, or are you going to go on fashion bender?

On May 15th (the end of the project), we hope to meet in New York to celebrate our year of not shopping, but we don't know yet what our first purchases will be. At this point, after all of our hard work and self discovery, we are hoping that we will be more conscious shoppers. Otherwise, this year of misery will have been in vain!

What are your must-reads?

For a laugh we read Dooce or Go Fug Yourself, for financial tips we love Fabulously Broke in the City, and for style we go to Oh So Coco and Who What Wear.

If you were to impart knowledge to an aspiring blogger, what would you tell them?

It can be a lot of work, so you need to be committed. Try to give something back to your readers, whether it is advice or a laugh. As long as you know your audience, you will do great! And even though it's a cliche; have fun! It's a cliche for reason!

Love, A&P

Alison Dunn & Perdy (Perdita) Andrews of 365 Fashion Rehab have known each other since they were "tweens". They grew up together in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but they have lived all over the world: Stockbridge, MA; Lagos, Portugal; and Vancouver, NYC, Toronto and San Francisco. These best friends (now Rehab Sisters) honed their mean retail skills in their 20s when they both worked in the fashion industry as a sales rep and assistant buyer. Both graduated from institutes of higher learning dedicated to creative mediums: Perdy from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and Alison from The International Academy of Design in Toronto.

After almost 20 years of shopping together, Perdy & Alison have taken on what some say is the impossible: No frivolous shopping for 365 days. No clothes, no accessories, no make-up and no home décor. They can't even accept gifts. These shopaholics knew it was time to take a break from their reckless spending and start to wear what they had spent years accumulating. Tackling this experiment from two major metropolitan cities (San Francisco & Toronto) in two different countries, these longtime friends are ready to face it head on! Will this experiment change their lives? Who knows? Keep following to see how it all turns out in the end!


Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They have been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health, Woman's Day, and Flow magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.