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Jul 26, 2017

#FashRev ~ Will Save the World

Meet our Issue No. 3 Feature Slow Fashion Mogual Molly Worth

Slow fashion is a movement asking consumers to slow down and consider the lives of our clothing from beginning to end. Slow fashion asks questions like, how was it made, who made it, where, at what cost to humanity and the environment and what is the plan for the future of the garment.

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Slow fashion is a term said to be coined by Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the University of Arts London, professor Kate Fletcher, in the early 2000s.  Her work as a researcher, design activist, author and consultant aims to inspire individuals to think about sustainability as it pertains to the clothing industry in the same way we have started to think about sustainability as it pertains to our food, households and infrastructure.  Fast fashion as a concept, is spawned out of big box retailers turning over high-end, brand name fashion designer pieces quickly to affordable imitation pieces in mass.  While high end fashion houses and designers may have as few as one or two collections per year, fast fashion retailers turn out up to fifteen.

Second to oil, the clothing industry is the largest polluter in the world.

Second to oil, the clothing industry is the largest polluter in the world. There have been some accounts of big box retailers destroying clothes then throwing them away to make room for incoming clothing.  Greenpeace.org found, an ungodly 75% of the 80 billion garments produced worldwide per year will have the eventual fate of ending up in a landfill and “in Hong Kong alone residents throw away the equivalent of 1,400 tee shirts every minute.” According to Forbes Magazine, Americans will throw away some 70 pounds of clothing per person every year.

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The 2015 documentary, “Minimalism,” speaks to the extreme and profound unsustainability of the fast fashion industry and describes our collective mindset shifting towards fashionability over functionality when it comes to our clothing and beyond that, sociability versus functionality when it comes to our identities.  The whole, ‘what/ who are you wearing?’ really translates to our inherent need as human beings to want to belong.  “You can never get enough of what we really don’t want,” Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson quoted in the documentary, “In other words, we don’t really want more goodies, more toys, more cars, we want what they will bring us {or think they will bring us} we want to feel more whole we want to feel content.”

“in Hong Kong alone residents throw away the equivalent of 1,400 tee shirts every minute.”

Go into a Zara, Forever21, H&M or the like on a Monday morning, take a closer look and you will never be able to unsee. Feeling like a caged animal more on display than the items jammed throughout the store, several floor attendants attending to anything but you, almost like they all know something isn’t quite right, only this time you know it too. A knowing filled with unimaginable irreconcilable waste. A secret.  So dirty and so pervasive the employees themselves have resigned themselves to keep. A secret rolled away behind cracked side doors with carts six feet high mounded with shoes and bags. Where are they taking these items? The excitement of large-scale have-anything-you-want is awash with an anxious frenzy of ‘I better get this now,’ ‘I may never have the chance because it will be gone next week,’ with the next week bringing a whole slue/onslaught of new must-haves.  The cycle is never ending and it’s a cycle that is open to endless consumption and infinite waste.  

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Fortunately, slow fashion industry movers and shakers like Molly Worth, founder and owner of Once and For All Clothing, a contemporary womenswear clothing brand based out of Buffalo, NY are committed to changing up the landscape, life cycle and consumption of our clothes.  We had the opportunity to follow Molly around for a day and experience first hand her commitment to the entire process of how a garment is created.  From selecting the material, drawing sketches, hiring the seamstresses, renting factory space, being on the floor at the factory, to packaging the garments, Molly has a hand in the entire operation.  Something Molly and other slow fashion movement pioneers want to emphasize is, in becoming more minimal and being more intentional about what you are wearing it does not mean sacrificing style, but rather enhancing it.  It’s the idea of shaping what you wear to work for you and match your mold and life flow.  Not being bound by what you are wearing but rather freed by it.

It is more challenging to own a look, than a million tee shirts from the two for one pile.

As a positive trend, some companies are jumping on the sustainable fashion bandwagon in response to consumers demanding more statistics and initiatives about what they are doing to ensure safe and ethical labor practices and assuming environmental responsibility.  Companies like Urban Outfitters have launched lines like Rework in the UK where each garment is made from remnant materials, (“400 billion square meters of textiles are produced annually of which 60 billion are left on the cutting room floor,” Greenpeace.org).  Zara recently launched their first sustainable fashion line, #JoinLife and H&M has a Conscious line where they incorporate recycled materials into their garments. Levi’s recently teamed up with Seattle based startup Evrnu and created the first ever 100% closed-loop technology produced jeans.  While it’s hard to say if this will help, as it is not only the materials but the mass in which they are being produced and consumed, it is a start. With social media movements like #fashrev #slowmade #whomadeyourclothes and the like turning up, fast fashion industries are starting to feel the scrutiny of being under the lights themselves.

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In a 2015 Vogue article, “The Year In Fashion: Our Industry Has a Sustainability Problem, Here’s How to Solve It” by Maya Singer, Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer was quoted saying, “the holy grail for sustainability in fashion is closed-loop sourcing.  Reuse old materials. Make new materials out of old materials. Recapture the fibers.” There is some liberation in taking time to really figure out a few key pieces and outfits that you always feel amazing, comfortable and ready to do anything in. It is more challenging to own a look, than a million tee shirts from the two for one pile.

There is some liberation in taking time to really figure out a few key pieces and outfits that you always feel amazing, comfortable and ready to do anything in. 

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*All Rights Reserved Buffalo Black Book Magazine. This article is an excerpt from the full feature article in Issue No. 3 MOVEMENT available now for print and digital purchase. http://www.buffaloblackbook.co/shopAll photos are property of Buffalo Black Book Magazine.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Siematkowski, Editor in Chief
Instagram: @buffaloblackbook 
Email:thebuffaloblackbook@gmail.com

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