My small brand’s big principle: why slow fashion is at the heart of my business
Whether you are flicking through a magazine, or reading a newspaper there are a number of buzzwords that are dominating the fashion industry. Words like sustainability; slow fashion and ethical fashion are so overused at the moment that I wonder if their meanings are becoming diluted.
As a fashion designer being transparent both creatively and in a business sense is paramount for me. This is why slow fashion has always been front and centre of my brand ethos.
I believe that your clothes should have value. They shouldn’t be purchased and worn a few times, and then tossed aside next season.
When I began designing, I wanted to make clothes that would last - which meant creating longevity in both a sense of material and style. For one, I love working with high quality fabrics. Pure silk, wool - natural fabrics that are not only wonderful to wear but also durable and will survive years of wearing, washing and loving. Secondly, I want my pieces to last beyond a season, or two or three. This means that my designs have to be classic to a degree, with a strong focus on cut. As much as there are elements throughout each of my collections that have a contemporary edge, there’s still timelessness within them. This has always been my intention as a designer.
Long before the environmental and ethical benefits of slow fashion were in the spotlight, I was advocating it because it encourages an appreciation of what we wear and what we own. This is one of the main reasons why it is so important to my brand. When starting a business, you have to know what you want your brand to stand for. Slow fashion has always been at the heart of Amanda Thompson Couture, and now as I learn more about the movement I am increasingly proud to be small scale and a slow fashion brand.
And even though I am a small business, it is important for me to be aware of my impact. I have an interest in sustainability and ethical practices and I try to do what I can to improve my own carbon footprint. Luckily one of the benefits of my small-scale production is that I have complete control over how things are done. I know where my fabrics come from, I know the seamstresses who help me create my collections and I know that my customers won’t be throwing this season’s pieces out come next year.
A few weeks ago, I watched a documentary on the BBC, Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, (maybe you watched it too?). It is one of many films and news reports about the negative effects the production of fashion has on the environment, which is of course increased by the growth of fast fashion.
It was reported a few years ago that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow the cotton that produces just one pair of jeans. Dooley brought this up again in the documentary and pointed out that this enormous usage of water has contributed to the emptying of the Aral Sea. The documentary also recounted examples of contaminated water sources due to mass clothing production – water local people rely on to bathe in and drink from. For me, the fact that this is still happening is appalling.
I’m well aware that these stories come in and out of the press from time to time. I find it positive that even fast fashion names like H&M are making conscious choices and implementing steps towards sustainability.
I know there is a mountain to climb when it comes to changing the way a lot of fashion is produced but when I watch things like the BBC documentary it reinforces my slow fashion ethos and reminds me to be accountable every step of the way.