It sounds like an oxymoron: Slow Fashion. The success of fast fashion retailers like Top Shop, Forever 21, and H&M are driven by the desire to keep up with the latest trends, and thrive on the notion that a wardrobe can be replaced each season. But the rising credit crunch, combined with an increasing awareness of the social and environmental impacts of the clothing industry, have given pause to emerging leaders in the fashion industry: a pause to think slow.
Designers like Adili, Alabama Chanins, and Makepiece each have different approaches to slow fashion:
Adili seeks to create “trans-seasonal” items that are made to last, crafted from high quality eco materials, and sourced from their own supply chain, to ensure the highest environmental and ethical integrity.
Makepiece takes vertical integration to a furry extreme. The company raises and rears their own sheep, and keeps all production close to home in the UK, ensuring that they are able to standby their environmental and ethical standards.
Alabama Chanins creates one of a kind garments hand stitched by local artisans in her hometown of Florence, Alabama, using the high quality organic cotton and vintage materials.
For all of these modern day artisans, fashion is less about the flash and hype of a catwalk show, and more about the quality of materials and craftsmanship. For their customers, high quality materials and unique craftsmanship appeal even in these tough times. As Adili’s chief executive Adam Smith explains in the Guardian, “I think people are thinking pretty hard about what they spend their money on and if it will last. Slow fashion is very real - our customers believe in it.”