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Fashion Revolution: Who Made My Clothes?

The Fashion Revolution movement launched the hashtag ‘who made my clothes’ in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza Tragedy in Bangladesh where an overcrowded, poorly built and maintained factory collapsed, killing 1,138 people, and injuring 2,500. The incident became symbolic of the behemoth that fast fashion has become and showed in clear and distressing terms that human rights, dignity, and even human lives had been subsumed to corporate greed and an insatiable drive for profit.

Rana Plaza Collapse

It is a simple question. Who made my clothes? We have come a long way from the village.

Increasingly mechanised and global ways of working take us further from nature and from source.  We have all heard untold examples of faceless corporations exploiting vulnerable third world workforces to produce a huge excess of ‘stuff’ that, more often than not, clutters the lives of the consumers in the so called ‘ developed’ world before ending up in the landfill.

“Capitalism’s grow-or-die imperative stands radically at odds with ecology’s imperative of interdependence and limit. The two imperatives can no longer coexist with each other; nor can any society founded on the myth that they can be reconciled, hope to survive.”

Ursula K Le Guin

But this is not a blog on the environmental aspects of the fashion industry, but on the human aspects, although they are obviously and intrinsically intertwined. People are an essential part of our ecology.

We live in a society whose values are in ever increasing danger of becoming dehumanised as algorithms and corporate machinations manipulate us on levels that we are barely even aware of and, in many ways, tacitly accept as we internalise these values. We tell ourselves we don’t even have time to think. People just don’t understand the pressure we are under. We have bills to pay! And meanwhile, as production skills decrease in our country, we depend on the ‘ invisible elves’ (my friend’s phrase) to ‘ magically’ produce many of the goods we buy . As real soul nourishment diminishes, we turn to a junk food fix of fast fashion and commodities.

At this point, for the sake of balance, I would like to include a quick aside to the experience of my Nepali friend Poonam  

Poonam and I first met back in 2007, she was running a small sampling and production unit in Kathmandu. In many ways, this was the birthplace of the Haruka label. We produced garments together in a range of fabrics. One of the highlights of this period was our adventures with hemp silk. However, that’s another story ….

My Good Friend, Poonam Rai from 2007 when we were working together in Kathmandu

More recently Poonam spent some time working free lance for a big company checking quality and compliance with health and safety standards and workers rights all over East Asia, India and Bangladesh. She pointed out to me from her extensive experience on the ground that it is a western fallacy to think that ALL big companies are bad. Although there are many horror stories, there are also instances where, although the wages look small by western standards they are good by local standards and big companies can provide regular income, a clean air conditioned working environment and good sanitation.

The tide is turning against mass, unfettered production. We are not robots. We love human stories and there is a growing demand for slow fashion, independent businesses and consuming less. It is human to desire beautiful things. But we want things with soul, things with stories , things with meaning, things that last, things that biodegrade, things that we know where they came from. We need to ask the question  #whomademyclothes ?

Myself, Amanda, with Ghanshayam. He is very important to the process. I use his technical knowledge a lot! He is my pattern cutter.

In the spirit of transparency I would like to share who made your Haruka clothes. What better place to start than myself as, I am the person whose idea it was to make them!

My name is Amanda. I am forty three years old. I have been designing clothes for eighteen years now. Blink and you are forty! This is a subject very close to my heart as people and textiles are two of my greatest loves. People have always been at the heart of my business. For me that is actually the centre of my business. I love what I do. 

People and beauty.  

I am very far from a corporate buyer. I am sitting here on a stool next to Ghanshayam (my pattern cutter’s) table typing skeleton notes for this blog. I am wearing the jumpsuit sample we made yesterday that I can’t take off because I love it, plus, I am testing our tweaked pattern for this garment. I am feeling dusty and dirty because I have been charging around the small factory in Rajasthan where I work as is my habit. If I need something I have already made it my business to know who to ask.

This morning I went round the factory taking the #whomademyclothes photos. In the factory, I work with all men. That’s the gig in rural Rajasthan where I work! I decided to go to the fabrics room and start with Pankaj, my new friend. He has been working in the factory for a year and he is 18. I showed him the Fashion Revolution website and explained my mission. Next was the finishing room where I recruited Raju as my interpreter and assistant. Soon I was on a roll.

All parts of the factory are an integral part of the whole and I make it my business to know my way around. To know who does which job. To know who knows where to find what. To know who to speak to about particular issues. And if I don’t know, I ask Ghanshayam or Chimu, the boss. I wander around everywhere, Chimu often doesn’t know I am there until we meet each other when the lift door opens or something. Chimu is in his factory every day and although he has an office, more often than not he is to be found somewhere in the factory checking how the work is going and generally keeping an eye on everything.

I work hard when I am there. Always thinking about the next design, how I can get something on the pattern cutting table. Standing persistently by Ghanshayam’s table asking ‘ is it time for the next one now ? can I give you this ?’ It has naturally occurred, with the flow of my life and with the work flow of the factory that the best time for me to come is after Holi ( the festival of colours https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi ) The factory is quieter then and it is very HOT. It is now approaching 40 degrees. I am used to it now, and I kind of love it in a crazy and extreme kind of way, although I am often to be seen red faced and slightly grubby as I squirrel around the factory hoarding things I need. Somehow over the years I have even managed to manifest my own small fabrics room in the factory. I am building up quite a collection.

A few years ago, approaching my forties, I had a ‘ moment’ that lasted perhaps a couple of years. I somehow convinced myself that to present myself as more professional, to progress in this economic reality/ culture, to be a ‘success’, I should look try and look more like a big company. That somehow, to present myself like that would make what I do look slicker, look more trusted, look better quality, look more acceptable. … Thankfully, I was unsuccessful! Now I am SO over that fleeting idea.

I am proud of my life and my work and of the high quality, limited edition clothes I produce. I have always worked from my instinct and my heart, although I do have to throw a hefty dose of logic and logistics at it all too. I am proud that I know who makes my clothes from the design stage to the fabrics room,to the cutting room, to the stitching room, to the finishing room. Sometimes I weave my own fabrics so I can trace the raw material back to there. It is only a handful of times that I have been able to trace my fabrics back to the raw materials but I am working on this.

In the factory I know everyone well. I feel comfortable, most mornings or afternoon I sit on floor by the stairs and drink chai with everyone on the cutting/sampling room floor. I love the playful culture of India. In terms of the prices I give for my pieces, I never bargain any price down in the factories I work with.

Chai time in the factory a couple of years ago, not much has changed! Except my friend Dilip has gone to work near Jodhpur. We keep in touch

In terms of the working day and conditions, there are no children working there. The day starts at 9am. Chai is at 10.30. Lunch is at 12.30 till 2pm. Chai is at 3.30 and finish for the day, when the electricity goes off ( do not be in the lift!) is at 6pm. There is no piece work, the workers are paid a salary. I notice that the same people and faces have been there since I have. There is not a quick staff turnover, people like their jobs here.

The patterns and understanding how fabrics fall are an integral part of my work. I make sure I work closely with Ghanshayam, my friend and pattern cutter. It is important to understand how a design will fit different body shapes or how the fabric will fall. I discuss things like this with Ghanshayam all the time, picking his brain for his skills and experience. sometimes he tells me something will not work. Occasionally I accept what he says. Many times, I disagree and insist we try it anyway and sometimes I am right and something new is born.

My Business is named after my son, Haruka. He used to come with me on every production trip. I would home educate him whilst I was working abroad. Many of my producers have watched him grow up

Over the years, I have learnt more and more about this business of making clothes. From my own trial and error and also gathering wisdom from those around me with more experience. Things like, what shapes fit which bodies, which fabrics I can stitch together and which I can’t, which grading is necessary for which designs, what quantities of fabric I need for mill dying or printing. There are endless things to think about.

Producers & Collaborations

I have a new producer in Rajasthan. Sikander. Last year when we started working together we met at his farm house in the courtyard. This year he has opened one small shop on the outskirts of town. We sat there, drinking chai and discussing the new couple of very limited edition designs I am planning to produce with him this year and the concept of memento mori’s, which was, in this case actually relevant to the design we were discussing. Watch this space to see how it develops. My friend who also produces clothes and has worked with this tailor for many years gave me this contact.

I am part of a network, a tribe, a family of independent designers and we support each other.We ask each others advice and we sell each others clothes.

I am excited that I have just started to work with Rachel, a knitwear producer based in England who has set up her own production unit with the aim of specifically working with independent producers and designers and ,where possible, British yarns. We are currently at the sampling stage and I am very excited to share more about this as we progress, watch this space, I am very excited to be able to offer knitwear made and produced in the UK will share more about this in a separate post.

And finally, thank you for reading to the end of this epic post!


So, as you have seen work is integral part of my life and so are the people who produce my clothes. So are the incredible team of women who work with me in the Haruka shop in Glastonbury. Thanks, as ever, to Sarah, Wendy, Sophie H, Sophie J and Ambika for all their help and support

Thanks and Praises,

Amanda x

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Inspiring Women Who Wear Haruka – Andrea

Who are you?

I’m Andrea, I’m a 48 years young business owner and mother of two beautiful grown up children. I own Natural Roots ethical salon in Glastonbury.

How do you spend your time?

The salon keeps me busy most of the time, I feel blessed that after 18 years I still enjoy my work.. I get to spend my days being creative and holding space for people to share their stories. When I’m not at work I spend time catching up with friends and family, I enjoy walking our sacred land and appreciate any chance I get to be outside in my garden.. I’m a very lucky lady!

What inspires you?
People inspire me, in my work I meet lots of people from far and wide and their stories  inspire me, I often feel humbled.


What colour brings you joy?

So many colours bring me joy but for different reasons.. I love the combination of turquoise and gold, soft chocolate brown with warm copper.. a great combination for hi-lights!

What is your favourite item of clothing?

Andrea in her beloved Mustard Lambswool bolero with her daughter Rosie, also wearing a Haruka Flower Power Playsuit.

My favourite item of clothing is my Haruka mustard lambswool bolero cardigan.. I’m desperate for a new one (please make them again Amanda) followed closely by my collection of wool wide collar waistcoats, I wear them all the time.

How important to you is clothing as a medium of self expression?

Clothing has always been an important form of self expression to me…working in the fashion industry I have always felt that its important to set a good example, so looking good yet being comfortable is the key. It is also very important to me as an ethical business owner that I support other like minded businesses, shopping at Haruka covers all of my needs, ethical, stylish and comfortable.. perfect!

Links:

Website – http://www.naturalroots-salon.co.uk/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/naturalroots_salon/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/naturalroots.salon/

Andrea on the far right, her daughter Rosie wearing the red waistcoat, close friend Joanna in the red mermaid dress, and Joanna’s daughter Izzy wearing the “Eye Am” top. This was for a Mother and Daughter photo shoot.

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My Bubble Dress

Amanda in the original Moss Green ‘My Bubble’ Dress, at a fashion show in 2009!

The Bubble Dress has landed! It is available in the shop and online. All of us at Haruka LOVE it.

Designed by Amanda and Poonam in Kathmandu over a decade ago, the original bubble dress quickly became one of the key styles that defined the Haruka look. The first bubble dress was made of hemp silk fabric and was more of a sun dress than the latest incarnation of the bubble dress.

It’s a romantic dress – it’s feminine. You could wear it to a festival, a country walk, dress it up for a spring wedding.

The bubble dress is really easy to wear in different ways – it is really, truly a versatile piece of clothing. There are little ties underneath the skirt which create the ruched, bubble effect. A seriously funky style of dress.You can tie as few or as many as you like. You can also leave them undone for a more streamline, flowy, feminine look.

Wendy, who works on the Haruka team, is now known as the Bubble Dress expert in the shop. She saw a photo of it on Amanda in India, before it came to the shop and she knew it was her destiny. When it arrived, she fell in love with it.

It is the details Wendy loves – the peek shoulders, the thumbs, the fabrics, the colours, the way it can be loose and cool on a hot spring day, or snuggley with leggings and legwarmers and a scarf on a cold Imbolc day in February. Wendy loves that it is a single statement item – you just put it on and it feels creative and fun and amazing just like that without having to think too much. She wears hers on walks up the Tor in Glastonbury in the mornings before working in the shop.

The dress is part of the new collection made in our new brushed cotton marl which is a slightly heavier weight cotton jersey than our regular cotton lycra. The fabric is knitted so it has stretch without having lycra. It feels absolutely amazing against the skin

The dress is perfect to wear during spring and autumn. It is good for through the winter too but be sure to layer! It’s too thick and cosy for a summers day, but an English summer evening beach barbecue it would be great.

Link to the Bubble Dress on the Haruka website.

Above – Gabby, in the Bubble dress styled by Amanda with statement jewellery, a thick leather belt (models own, although one of our Haruka Obi belts could work well!) and a white petticoat – there’s a warrior goddess feeling to the shoot totally different from the pixie-like style the dress can portray in some of the other photos – it’s fun to wear a dress that is so versatile!

I think you can tell, we are all very excited by the new Bubble Dress, and we hope to see how you are loving it too!

Please send us your photos of how you wear yours – whether that is bubbled, un-bubbled, casual or dressed up for an occasion! All photos can be sent to [email protected] or to our instagram.

Sending much love and gratitude for your support!

Sophie Jenna x

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Inspiring Women Who Wear Haruka – Dorrie Joy

Who are you?

My name is Dorrie Joy. I am an artist and craftswoman.

How do you spend your time?

I work with paint, clay, wood, stone, textiles, skin and feathers. I live on the land in a magic hand made house with my family, milking goat, hens and bees. I love gardening, growing food, flowers, herbs and trees. 

What inspires you?
I am inspired by courage, kindness, the translation of journeys of human hearts across landscapes, what moves us to create art, beauty, poetry, music… rituals of belonging and acts of wild rebellion.

What colour brings you joy?
The colours that bring me joy are hawthorn reds, deep scarlettes, rich reds, the colour of our life blood. 
Also greens, the colour of leaves, of spring, of the earth, of the heart.
And deep browns are a comfort to me. The colour of my hair, of soil.

Do you have a favourite item of clothing?
I have a few favourite items of clothing in these colours. They are all lambswool and come from Haruka.
The Rhiannon dress…I’ve worn it to a wedding, to work, as weekend long pyjamas, as ceremonial thermals, it’s so beautiful and cosy.
The cowl neck jumper… sooo snuggley yet not too bulky. I’ve lived in this, inside and outside, all winter.
And the Tara wrap around cardigan, because I can fit my children and grandchildren into its soft folds, wrap them up on my lap.

How important to you is clothing as a medium of self expression?
Clothing as a medium of self expression is important to me as an expression of self care, dressing my body in natural fabrics, in colours that warm me, is a nourishment. The ethical sourcing of my clothes is very important to me. The fast fashion industry is criminal in all ethical and sustainable terms, a huge pollutant. Third world workers exploited, cheap acrylic fabrics…so investing in clothes from local designers who are ethically responsible and environmentally considerate using quality fabrics is really important to me.
I love having fewer clothes, but ones that will last me many years. I love how long-wearing good wool is, how it self cleans and retains colour and softness and quality. 
I love buying and wearing clothes made by my friends. In this way we celebrate and support each other, strengthen our community 💕

Links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dorriejoyartist/

Website: https://www.dorriejoy.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DorrieJoyArtist/

Images above are some examples of Dorrie’s art, please see the link to her website to see more of her work.

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The Haruka Models Through the Years.

From the beginning it’s been about strong empowered women who shine in our clothing, rather than trying to choose models that fit with a contemporary mainstream sense of aesthetic that does not reflect real life or real women in their incredible diversity. The models that we choose so far have always been our customers, women that work on the Haruka team, our friends, or women that live in this community. These are real women who really wear our clothes, not professional models. An integral part of the Haruka ethos and way of being is to celebrate women. This is reflected in the collections we offer, that are designed to fit all different body shapes. Women from all walks of life and all over the globe come into our shop here in Glastonbury. We could go on, but we think the pictures speak for themselves…

Here is a gallery of every single Haruka model and a sentence or two about who they are. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed curating it. It was so hard to narrow it down to just one image of everyone.

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The Soul of Haruka

Above from left to right: My son Haruka and I, in Varanasi – in the early days. I am wearing the Ladak dress in raw silk. In the centre, Liddie Holt modelling the same dress. Finally, a more recent photo in Jaipur looking at veg dye swatches for future collections on my hotel balcony.

Clothes and fabrics are a form of expression and creativity. Textiles are an old, old language. Woven in homes and villages for thousands of years to signify expression and belonging as well as, obviously, for practical use. 

I started my journey producing clothing more than fifteen years ago. At the time, I was living in Varanasi (India) a magical place of pilgrimage and prayer, also famous for hand woven silks and other incredible hand loom fabrics. I had made a friend, Kamu, a tailor who had inherited his father’s small shop in an alleyway called Bengali Tola that runs all the way behind the Ghats, parallel to the river Ganga. I started to explore designing and producing the clothes that I could see in my head and really wanted to wear, but could not find either in India or in the shops I knew back in England. 

It turned out that other women, upon seeing the clothes I had made for myself, also wanted to wear the earthy, natural, well-tailored but feminine and minimalist, style of clothing that I was developing. So, Kamu and I embarked on making my first collection a reality. I sent it to my friend’s shop in Nottingham. The label I put on them was ‘Jasmine Fish,’ named after a goldfish I once had (don’t ask me why, I really don’t know!) 

My vision has always been that the current clothes in the Haruka range fit together with the colours and shapes of those from previous and future years. But not as a totally fixed plan. I source a lot of my fabrics (not all) hunting and gathering in the fabric surplus market in Delhi. This is for a multitude of reasons. I love a good treasure hunt and I love the challenge. But also, I am using up fabrics that have already been created and discarded which means I am using what is already there. Re using and recycling. It also means I never know what I am going to find so it keeps me creating and it means the pieces that I make from these fabrics are all limited-edition pieces. They will not be made again. I design them to last. 

Above from left to right: An Indian market scene, taken whilst hunting and gathering fabrics. In the centre, our new cotton knitted jersey, finally made it to the cutting table after being commissioned especially for Haruka. Lastly, Dot in the “My Bubble Dress”; one of the designs in our new transeasonal collection available now. https://haruka.co.uk/product-category/new-in/

Above from left to right: Ghanshayam, my friend and pattern cutter, working on the first sample of the Boho Dress, which is currently available in Hawthorn Red and Moss Green. https://haruka.co.uk/product/boho-maxi-dress-cotton-hawthorn-red/

In the centre, a shot of the factory where I make the Haruka bags. In this picture I am working with the pattern cutter there to lay the pattern on the fabric for each individual bag. Finally, Ambika modelling the final outcome, one of our classic Haruka bags in a Tribal design. The production of which…. is a whole other story!

To be honest, I rarely know what is ‘in fashion’ from season to season. Haruka takes inspiration from women’s bodies and women’s stories; tribal style and the hand feel and drape of the fabrics I find. They have their own story to reveal, just as the women who wear my clothes do. I want the clothes that I design to encourage and inspire women to express themselves. 

Above from left to right: the Moss Green cotton jersey on the cutting table in the small family run factory I work with in Rajasthan. In the centre, Gabby wearing one of the designs from this fabric; the swirl top. And finally Dot wearing the Blue Butterfly Trouser with Dorje Waistcoat in Desert Nomad. This is made from one of the fabrics I sourced in the Delhi surplus markets. I have a small amount of this fabric left in India; and will make a few more pieces but after that, there will never be any more as I will never be able to get that exact fabric again. That’s one of the reasons my clothing is unique.

The soul of Haruka clothing is to Unfold Your Own Myth.

Thanks and Praises

Amanda

LINKS TO THE NEW COLLECTION:

https://haruka.co.uk/product-category/new-in/

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Behind the Scenes – New Collection Photoshoot

The space, all set up and ready to shoot.

Last week we had a photoshoot of the Haruka New Collection for the website. The shoot focused on our new jersey fabric. A thick, knitted cotton. We have three colours; heather, indigo blue, and moss green. The weave is a marl, so it’s not a flat colour. We all love the gentle colour palette – Amanda says it reminds her of Scottish highland landscapes. Nature is always a big inspiration. It’s the first time we’ve used this fabric and it took two years to get it from concept to production to the shop floor! Now it’s finally here, this fabric is super high quality and will last a long time. We love the softness and the gorgeous earthy colours. It washes brilliantly, Wendy can testify to this – she has only taken her jersey bubble dress of to wash! It’s snuggley fabric (and a big bonus – it doesn’t need ironing! It’s amazing for that – it made the photo shoot so easy). I think it’s clear that all of us at Haruka are very excited.

The styles are gorgeous – we have brought back the swirl top with an exaggerated cowl to go over the head. And the most exciting – the Haruka bubble dress is back in a new form!   

Planning the photo shoot firstly involved choosing models. Amanda has never used professional models for Haruka – only ever been friends, and women from the community. There’s this way that Haruka is an ever-growing family of women supporting each other and it means that there’s always a lot of gorgeous women of all ages to invite to model the clothes. There has never been a temptation to pigeon hole the Haruka look into one age group or body type – diversity is key!  Amanda chose Dot and Gabby as the models this time, because they are polar opposite in many ways. Opposite age groups, different ethnicity, but they are both really funky women, and then it turns out they have the same birthday! Part of doing the shoot is to show that Haruka clothes are for all women.   

Before the shoot day Amanda is always there putting the outfits together for a week beforehand, trying out combinations and colour matches. Dot came in to try on the clothes before the photo shoot to check for sizing, and she really reminded Amanda of what her job is as a designer. Dot looked so amazing in the clothes when she came for her trial, that Amanda remembered why she does what she does, and felt inspired all over again by her designs.

The photo shoot team was Amanda, Sophie Harrison helping, Luana was doing the hair and makeup, Gabby – model and DJ, and Dimitrius, photographer and artist. Dot was modelling, she is a seamstress so really understands textiles. Sophie Jenna was working in the shop downstairs but popping up to help with the shoot, and as a team of creatives and artists the day was full of fun and laughter and music – we hope it comes across how much fun we were having. We try to make the Haruka photo shoot a fun day with lots of work hard play hard and we try to show that in the photos.

 

Amanda and Sophie were styling the shoot but the models too, were choosing how to style their own outfits, and adding accessories that they feel suits the clothing or represents themselves. Individuality is celebrated! With the photo shoot, and with the Haruka brand in general, it feels really important to empower women to be themselves, to enjoy their bodies and their personalities and really own being who they are. The photo shoots we do for the clothes are an opportunity to be creative and to celebrate women! We really want to embrace the diversity of women who wear Haruka and celebrate each other and our differences!

If you have any photos of yourself in your favourite Haruka outfit, please send them to us at [email protected] as we would love to see them and share them on our social platforms!   

Thank you for reading

Unfold your own myth 

Sophie Jenna and Amanda x 

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Five Ways To Embrace Slow Fashion

Images from our ‘Mother and Daughter’ shoot at the Red Brick Building.

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

Tiger Lily wearing our iconic Viva Jumpsuit.

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.

Mollie modelling our Harem Trousers made from our limited edition granite silk cotton fabric – sourced in the fabric surplus markets of New Delhi.

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.

My son, Haruka and I on a recent production trip to India.

Thank you for reading

One love, Amanda X

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