This last week as we celebrated Labor Day here in the US, which pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers, it made me think about my team in Kenya and Ghana that I work with and thought of taking a moment, to share about a movement that over the years I have been educating myself on, embodying it not only in my life ( baby steps) AND significantly a core part of my business model, SLOW FASHION!
You may ask, what has slow fashion got to do with Labor day?, well as a business that employs
artisans in Kenya and one that is working tirelessly to make sure that we pay fair wages, treat each artisan as part of our community and family, provide good working conditions, use every part of our fabrics and materials, reduce waste and recycle, there is no better time than the present to share what slow fashion is, and why as a brand it is important to us.
WTF(USS) is ALL About.
100 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide each year and more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated in the United States alone. As a response to a trend-crazy world overwhelmed by the impacts of consumerism, slow fashion aims to refocus our energy towards shopping smarter, becoming more informed, and more mindful. Vivienne Westwood said it best: ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last.’ Simply put, slow fashion is a much-needed reaction to fast fashion.
FACT: The average American consumer throws around 65pounds of clothes per year. - pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report
What Does Slow Fashion Mean?
Slow fashion is a concept that opposes fast fashion. The movement advocates for conscious production, distribution, as well as mindful consumerism, as a response to the fashion industry that is polluting and wasteful.
Why Is Slow Fashion Important?
As opposed to fast fashion, slow fashion encourages initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint, child labor and other unethical industry practices. Moreover, sustainable fashion advocates for fair treatment, fair wages, good working conditions and fair trade. The use of sustainable and natural fabrics and conscious consumerism is encouraged.
FACT: 75% of fashion supply chain materials end up in landfills. This amounts to “the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles per second,”
Is Slow Fashion Better Quality?
Slow fashion garments predominantly come in natural and organic materials. The fabrics and the cuts are designed to last longer. In general, manufacturing slow fashion garments and accessories takes longer and the workers are paid fair wages, so the results are better quality-wise.
FACT: The average woman spends almost 400 hours a year shopping, which means 8.5 years shopping during a lifetime.
Some Characteristics of a slow fashion brand.
Ø Garments are more timeless than trendy
Ø Locally sourced, produced and sold garments/ accessories.
Ø Made from high quality, sustainable materials.
Ø Often sold in smaller(local) stores rather than huge chain enterprises.
Ø Often made to order to reduce unnecessary production.
Ø Few, specific styles per collection, which are released twice or maximum 3 times per year, or a permanent season less collection.
Malkia E Boutique is doing its part to make sure that we embody the characteristics above but also be transparent with you as our consumer on our business practices when we fail to uphold them.
Many times, I have been asked by individuals why I don’t take my production to China so we can have more sizes and variations produced at a much faster & lower price rate than in Africa. Many of the reasons have been highlighted, but to add to them, is the need to support my country and the talented artisans who would not have a “rich and abundant life”, families that we pay tuition for, medical bills, and we take care of as a community through your purchases would not happen.
The topic of slow fashion is deep’ and this is barely scratching the surface. I urge you to read more about it (google has a tons of articles) and educated yourself as I am, to keep learning more about the topic.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will cover a few best practices as a consumer to guide you through being conscious of your buying habits and how you can support the slow fashion movement.
This is not a one day done deal, it takes being Intentional and takes practice. We are in this together.
Let me know your thoughts on slow fashion, is this something that peaks your interest? Share in the comments section below.