© Veja

Slow fashion

Posted on 06 November 2014.

“Less, but better” summarizes the slow fashion philosophy. An eco-friendly approach that offers an alternative to the frantic mass production of fast fashion that has dominated the textile industry since the 1990s.

Slow fashion means taking the time to invent new ways of doing things at each stage in the manufacturing process, establishing sound partnerships, and building a short production chain that is as ethical as possible. It's also about taking the time to create quality garments that have value and a story to tell, and about letting the season’s trends go and so focus on timeless pieces that have been made to last. Slow fashion includes standard practices as varied as using only green materials and processes, small scale and local production, using recycled materials, upcycling and DIY... demonstrating that the circular economy is also at work in a world of fashion where nothing is lost and anything can be transformed.

Slow fashion brands for consuming less but better – with style!

VEJA: Ethical sneakers


Organic cotton from northeastern Brazil, wild Amazonian rubber, acacia tanned leather... Launched in 2004 by Sébastien Kopp and Ghislain Morillion, Veja aims to "create a positive chain from producer to consumer." The French brand pays producers a fair price and opts for environmentally friendly materials where possible. It is now providing a living for several associations in Brazil. Their sneakers are transported by ship to Ateliers sans Frontières (French) in France which stores and delivers them. Veja does not advertise, and uses Enercoop (French) to supply electricity to its premises. It is a serious commitment, accompanied by transparency about their raw materials, processes, and even the limits of their approach.

© Veja (http://www.veja-store.com)
© Veja (http://www.veja-store.com)


STUDY: zero waste fashion


In conventional production processes between 10 and 20% of the cloth used to make a garment is discarded. A huge amount! Study aims to reduce this waste through "zero waste design". The Tara St. James brand, whose motto is "Making Fashion Without Making Waste", uses different cutting, sewing, and assembly techniques in order to waste as little cloth as possible. Its garments are made to last, both because they use high quality raw materials - in this case sustainable (organic cotton, hemp, linen and even banana fiber) - and are designed wisely. Study doesn’t subscribe to the traditional calendar imposed by the fashion world, and in addition designs timeless pieces that can be worn in lots of different ways.

© Mathieu Fortin (http://www.mfortinphotographer.com)
© Mathieu Fortin (http://www.mfortinphotographer.com)


CUYANA: less is more


Following a similar philosophy, Cuyana offers essentials that are designed to last a lifetime and adapt to any outfit. The American brand founded by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah is part of the famous minimalist movement, which advocates a lifestyle with fewer but better things. At the heart of this less is more philosophy as applied to fashion is a belief in quality not quantity, and style not fashion. Cuyana has limited collections that are inspired by a destination and the craftsmanship and materials found locally. The pieces are classic but modern, simple but elegant, made from high quality, exclusive raw materials, unearthed from the four corners of the world.

EKYOG: positive fashion


Founded in 2003 by Nathalie and Louis-Marie Vautier, the Ekyog brand has become a standard bearer in the world of ethical ready-to-wear clothing. It promotes an optimistic view of fashion that it describes as "positive" - both sustainable and feminine. It took several years for the couple to establish partnerships that meet Ekyog’s strict specifications! Recycled polyester made from plastic bottles is the only synthetic material used in their clothing. In addition, in partnership with local NGOs in India and Madagascar, the Terre d’EKYOG association (French) finances projects that take concrete action to protect the environment and improve the living conditions of disadvantaged people.

© Ekyog (http://www.ekyog.com)
© Ekyog (http://www.ekyog.com)


ANTIFORM: the local food movement and upcycling


Antiform, the English brand created in 2007 by Lizzie Harrison, uses recycled materials recovered from local producers and British artisans. Most of the products sold are 100% made in Yorkshire, near Antiform’s studio-store.

For further information:

- What is Slow Fashion?
- An essay on slow fashion
- Why fast fashion is slow death for the planet