WITH the exception of a pair of trainers which she needed to take part in a charity run, Deborah Meaden hasn’t bought any new clothes for a year.

The Dragons’ Den star made a pledge at the beginning of last year to buy no new clothes, to make a small contribution to cutting consumerism, reducing waste and saving the planet.

Her efforts have attracted both bouquets and brickbats, with some critics saying it is an easy promise to fulfil when you’ve already amassed wardrobes full of clothing.

That’s very true and it may not be an enormous sacrifice on Deborah’s part, but at least her efforts are helping to get the message across - we shop far too much and don’t need a lot of the things we buy, clothing in particular.

There are countless surveys concluding that a large proportion of consumers buy clothes they never wear.

Nowadays clothing can be bought so cheaply that buyers, particularly young people, order stuff like there’s no tomorrow. Much of it they may wear only once or not at all.

Despite increasing awareness around the impact of fashion on the environment, attitudes towards buying clothes are far less sustainable in practice.

The need to constantly buy new garments is also part of this thing we call ‘retail therapy’, based on the apparent feelgood factor people get from splashing out on clothes and other goods.

But in reality, it gives us a short-lived high. Buying a new items and taking it home may bring pleasure, but it wanes and after removing the label and hanging it in the wardrobe we very soon need another shot in the arm.

I don’t remember society being so clothes-obsessed when I was young. My parents only bought new clothes when they needed to - as is still the case - and as a teenager I didn’t buy even a fraction of the clothing my daughters purchased.

The internet and our image-obsessed culture has fuelled the need to buy, buy, buy. Every time a celebrity wears a new top it pops up online, so everyone wants one.

I haven’t been sucked in to this world. I wouldn’t rush out and buy a pair of sweatpants just because Kim Kardashian has some. I’ve got a few GCSEs and am wise enough to realise that on me - especially with a few curry stains and bits of cat hair - they would give the impression that I’d reached lower than rock bottom.

I rarely buy new clothes - ‘That’s patently obvious’ I hear friends and colleagues cry - and am usually to be seen out and about in the same old cardigan and trousers. But I’m comfortable with that, and it must have saved me thousands over the years.

I don’t know how people afford to buy so many clothes - the average person in the UK spends £526.50 per year on clothes. One of the effects of lockdown has seen us shop less and save more, a trend which will hopefully stick with some.

Deborah Meaden is not the first well-known personality to bypass shopping for new clobber. Last year TV presenter Konnie Huq explained why she had not bought new clothes for a decade, having sufficient already and being a fan of make-do and mend.

Now that’s impressive. I doubt even I could go that long without needing to replenish, at the very least, my underwear drawer.

All is not lost, however, and even if you are a shopaholic you can help to save the planet. My daughters’ stockpile of clothing is now being recycled - sent to charity shops and finding new owners via eBay.

Now if I can just persuade them to not buy any more for a year…