Slow fashion is slowly but surely gaining more popularity and attention day by day, but there’s still a way to go! As advocates for the greener path, we know that spreading awareness is so important in creating a more conscious world - after all, if you don’t know the realities behind the making of your clothing then you would never be able to understand the dire need for change.
And so, today, we share a few stories and news from the industry that may have passed you by but we think are integral to keep informed of or at least think more about.
40 years on from the initial creation of her self-named brand, Eileen Fisher is set to step down. A leader in creating conscious clothing, “she is a designer who built a fashion empire offering modern women comfortable yet empowering designs in natural fabrics that simplified busy lives” and made a pointed decision to make environmentalism a core value.
Interestingly, Fisher only took up a CEO position in 2020, in fact the position itself did not exist previously as she, rather, preferred “collaborative teams” making up the fabric of her company (pun intended). The decision to create the position was due to a disconnect she felt with the brand, that, at that moment, it was losing its way. And now, present day, she’s ready to step back again until she removes herself altogether, the intention being to “allow her to concentrate on formalizing her design philosophy so the brand might eventually exist without her”.
But with her eventual departure, there’s also news of her chosen successor, Lisa Williams, the current chief product officer at Patagonia, who shares many of her philosophies in how to approach fashion as a larger company.
One of the UK’s largest luxury department stores, Selfridges & Co, has announced goals to further their focus on sustainable goods. Since its launch of Project Earth, the store published its first impact report attesting that “Since 2020, Selfridges has increased sales of previously owned items by 240%... made more than 28,000 repairs, rented more than 2,000 items and sold more than 8,000 refills of beauty products and other goods since last year.”
- 45% of all transactions across its four stores and online will come from circular products and services by 2030.
- They aim to ensure 50% of director roles will be held by women by the year 2025 – in addition to closing the gender gap.
- They have committed themselves to reaching net-zero by 2040.
In more news of large companies going green, the globally known Spanish brand, Mango, has invested in Recovo, “a re-commerce platform for textile, yarn and production material waste. Through textile recovery, businesses may minimise their environmental effect while giving a second life to textile surpluses. Recovo offers a company strategy that uses technology, traceability and community involvement to promote a circular economy.”
With this development, it shows the brand’s continuing push towards carrying out their Strategic Sustainability Plan that aims to eliminate all emissions by 2050, other notable moves of theirs in recent years include these:
- 80% of all garments in 2021 were marketed under their Committed Label - one that promises garments for men and women created with sustainable materials.
- By 2025, due to continuing efforts to better their value chain, they forecast “100 per cent of the polyester used will be recycled, 100 per cent of the cellulose fibres used will be of controlled origin and traceable, and 100 per cent of the cotton used will be more sustainable.”
We can’t mention fashion without trends, and, in recent years, one particularly popular social media one has been fashion hauls - “The #haul hashtag has 24.4 billion views on TikTok, and has been used in 2.4 million Instagram posts and 347,000 YouTube videos. Many creators… will buy clothing with their own money, but sponsored hauls are becoming big business — creators can be paid up to £15,000 for a post, according to one agency source. Return on investment is tracked through views, engagement and conversion to sales.”
And so, it’s evident that, not only is it something many users enjoy seeing, it can be profitable for brands who want to make their names synonymous with the ‘it’ crowd. More likely than not, if you have ever come across a social media influencer with a prominent following, they have, at one point, featured a haul within their content. But of course, the glaring problem that comes with this trend is overconsumption and excess waste.
Fortunately, many Gen Z-ers are aware of our planet’s predicament and there seems to be a slight shift in a better direction as of late. A recent study in consumption habits found that 80% of users will often use social media to cite for inspiration rather than with any intention to overindulge later in their purchases. It’s a way for audiences to perhaps find those with similar body types and observe a fit of a piece before they buy a garment online, and hear an honest opinion that may not come directly from the brand. Thrift hauls have also become more popular in which the focus is on purchasing vintage or secondhand.
India has always had a rich textile history, one that we could still learn from today in terms of environmentally-friendly practices. The art of handicraft and love for fabrics runs deep through the nation and can be seen in each region that often has their own signature fibres and weaves.
Dyes, historically, were very much plant-based, the shades and hues came directly from nature and presents a way to create more vibrant fabrics in a resource efficient way. There’s so much potential in bringing this craft to the masses in our modern day and it’s encouraging to see that more and more conscious brands, like ourselves, are drawn to implementing the art in their designs.
As Anuradha Singh, head of Nila House says here: “You can’t industrialise natural dye. It’s a very slow, patient, beautiful process that takes time. So you can’t just do it in large quantities, which makes it sustainable… and in economic terms? If you hyper localise, you create small community-driven industry systems that are self-sustaining within each other.”
Another art that has the potential to foster interest in handicraft is crochet. A trend that first grew in early pandemic days in 2020, today, has bolstered many small fashion businesses to create clothing and accessories using the technique as well as encouraged individuals en-masse to try it out for themselves!
“Crocheted items used to primarily be found on Etsy, crafted and sold by artists directly. Unfortunately, when something becomes fashionable, cheaper and less ethical knockoffs always follow, and crochet is no exception. Fast fashion sites like SHEIN and large retailers like Target have hopped on the crochet trend, undercutting Etsy sellers by significant margins.” - unfortunately, like many trends that go viral, it is always met with those who want to capitalise on the demand but, we urge you, that if you ever were to purchase your own crocheted piece, that you look to smaller or at least more honest brands.
What’s more is that the crochet technique can’t be replicated by machines (at least not at this point) so, more likely than not, if you invest in a crocheted piece, you’re investing in more sustainable practices that do not contribute to creating carbon emissions.
We hope this was a helpful wrap-up of more recent slow fashion stories and news. Check out our Green Journal blog for more.