My ethical clothing brand, Haruka, has always been slow fashion, even before that was a concept. I believe in trans-seasonal clothes that can layer and last. Slow fashion is about really valuing clothing and having fun, finding your own expression through textile and colour, shape and style.
Clothes – like cars, technology, and so many other products in this consumerist society, are no longer designed to be cherished, to last or to be repaired. If you want to embrace a more ethical approach, then here are my ideas for making slow fashion part of your life.
One: Focus on what you love:
Slow fashion is not about never having new stuff; it is about having things that last and that are an investment; something to keep and love. Rather than feeling guilty about wanting new clothes, focus on what you’d really love to wear.
Buying from a smaller, independent designer or vintage shop that has things you love is so much more heart warming (and like finding treasure) than buying from a high street giant. Buying a beautiful hand woven textile or shawl gives me so much aesthetic and textural stimulation!
Two: Style over fashion
I love, and often use, the words ‘Unfold Your Own Myth’. This is one of the guiding concepts behind the Haruka label: Be yourself, unfold yourself, create your own story. Be strong in your power and your path. Whether that expression comes through as elegant, or quirky, earthy or funky, it’s about individual expression and empowerment rather than the corporate driven shallow tides of high street fashion. I want to provide tools to empower each woman to find what feels good for her, as she naturally is.
Gianni Versace said “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” Slow fashion is about embracing your personal style, more than that, it is about embracing your own spirit, self and what you believe is important in the world right now.
Three: Shop new and old
Slow fashion is about unearthing amazing pieces that you love. I love mixing beautiful slow fashion pieces alongside clothes bought second hand in charity shops (which, by the way, used to be so much more exciting before they, too, became filled with high street fast fashion AND before there were so many of them as the advent of supermarkets put many of our village food and hardware shops out of business). Slow fashion is about reusing and recycling including bringing new life to vintage or pre-loved clothes .
Charity shops not your thing? The younger generation is now heading to Depop for a more ethical and affordable shopping fix. The exponential growth of Depop ( https://www.depop.com/ ) is an indication of a growing trend towards re-usage and upcycling.
Four: Shop independent
The seasons and the time scales of fast fashion on the high street are insane! How on earth would I fit anything like that into my life? And why would I want to?
The high street is designed to make you shop, to make you believe that constant change and consumption is the only option. Independents have a whole different perspective.
I have had a shop in Glastonbury for over ten years now, run by myself and an incredible team of women. To me, slow fashion is about having some sense of community and connection. This brings value, significance and context to things. A community of women supporting women has always been a big part of the Haruka vibe.
My shop – like so many other independents – is filled not only with clothes but with soul, beauty and sisterhood. Buying clothes should be a delight, not a fast paced chore. If you want to love your clothes, and keep them for years, seek out independent shops that share your thrill in finding a gem.
If you aren’t lucky enough to live near Glastonbury or somewhere with quirky independents, then look online. Try Etsy, an incredible platform to find special things that people all over the world have put heart, care and attention into designing, making, producing, photographing, curating and selling.
Five: Shop quality
Greenpeace states that by ‘doubling the useful life of clothing from one year to two years reduces emissions over the year by 24%’. ( Black Friday: Greenpeace calls timeout for fast fashion ) Slow fashion has a strong environmental as well as ethical imperative. Rejecting the fast fashion mentality also means focusing on quality: buying clothes that are designed to last, that are made in fabrics that will wash and wear in.
To me slow fashion is a way of life: I love the clothes I wear, I buy things that express my personal style, I mix old and new, sourced in independent shops that nurture my soul and I buy great quality, beautiful garments that I’m going to love for years.
And the by product? A wardrobe of treasures, a slower pace of consumption and waste, and a more true sense of identity and self expression.
Thank you for reading
One love, Amanda X