What is Slow Fashion?
Slow Fashion is a term that gets thrown around the room without much explanation. And I've see a few labels use Slow Fashion as a greenwashing tool so I thought I'd lay out some of my ideas of what slow fashion means to me, and what Dreamers and Drifters is doing to be a better fashion label:
1. Slow Fashion is the opposite of Fast Fashion, and it's easier to explain by telling you what it is "not". Fast Fashion is a machine, they don't care about the clothes or the design or the creative process - they copy designs they see in the market and rush out the copies as cheaply and as quickly as possible.
Designs come in weekly (if you can believe it) they order in bulk to keep the cost as cheap as possible and it just keep repeating and coming like waves. As you can imagine, they can't sell everything so the excess either gets discounted or sent to landfill.
The fast fashion business model is competitive (not everyone can design a beautiful dress but anyone can copy one) so there are loads of businesses copying and sweating to get their knock off to the market first. Margins are tight so they squeeze their workers and take penalties if the stock is late. This means workers getting forced to do overtime to meet unrealistic deliveries - it's pretty awful.
2. Slow Fashion supports their makers to deliver within a realistic timeframe. When I place an order I ask my tailor when he thinks he can deliver, we always add in a buffer for unforeseen circumstances (Like the one time my delivery was going to run late and I just couldn't understand why, my guy said, I'm sorry Verity but all the ladies are on their menstruation and have to rest. You just can't argue with that!) And if he cannot make the delivery we talk about it and rearrange things, because I respect that we are all just people living our lives.
3. Slow Fashion does not over-produce. I am fortunate to work with a small factory (it's more of a collective as the sewing ladies mostly work from home) and only order what I think I can sell, my goal is to sell-out of styles, not bulk order for a cheap price and then put excess on sale.
"when I put a style on sale, I feel like I've failed as a designer" - this is a very purist view and I know as a business there will always be a small percentage that needs to go on sale to make space for the new collection, we don't have a crystal ball BUT I am proud to say it's usually only a few pieces or last sizes.
4. I pay more to order less. Read that one again! Factories need to make a certain amount to run their businesses, so if the units are low they will add a levy on top to make up the gap. My preference has always been a well-made garment at a slightly higher cost than "rushed + cheap" which leads to a garment that gets worn once, falls apart and is then sent to landfill.
5. Slow Fashion is considered. That may seem like a broad view but in fact when you look at the fast paced nature of the industry and big companies driving huge stock to meet huge targets, you understand that slow fashion is such a drastically different approach.
You can then appreciate the effort it takes to make decisions based on ethics and sustainability, and not massive profits.
6. Slow Fashion is small business. In comparison to the general fashion industry, especially chains, when you support a label making sustainable choices you're probably supporting a small business. You're supporting a business dealing directly with a smaller factory.
7. Slow Fashion loves design, and the design process. I can only speak for myself, but I honestly love the creation process and have no need to rush it, I can linger in the finer details because it's about the garment and not about the scramble to market.
Dreamers and Drifters is a small, independent slow fashion label based in Byron Bay, Australia. We offer small batch collections in considered fabrics, our linen clothing is designed to be worn through the seasons. Shop our sustainable collections online or in our Byron Bay Boutique.
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If you're on the hunt for a Clothes shop in Byron Bay, our collections of boho clothing is perfect for your next holiday, we have bohemian dresses, linen clothes, beach cover-ups and so much more on offer at our colourful boutique, we can't wait to welcome you on your next shopping trip.