Slow Fashion

Bringing back the passion to independent fashion design…

Slow fashion is as much about lifestyle choice as visiting independent shops. Slow Fashion designers opt out of the constraints of producing 6 plus collections every year, leaving instead more time for genuine inspiration and design. They also tend to develop a unique closeness to the materials. It’s like cooking with unprocessed foods – everything is done by hand (the slow part) and with passion.

slippers for children in organic felt
Organic felt slippers

Fair Trade Fashion
In the same way as the slow food movement encourages us to think about where our food comes from, Slow Fashion asks us to consider where/ how our clothes are made. From the origin of the materials, to design and production, sustainability and fair trade are essential.

Much of this process has resulted in a growing demand for organic clothing – particularly when it comes to our children – from Mynerva specialists in organic woollen vests to organic baby mattresses from independent retail specialists.

That’s why slow fashion is a concept that appeals to not only to artisan designers but also to independent fashion designers, many of whom do not have access to the resources of big multinationals. There is usually no-one to delegate to, it’s all about just doing it yourself. This fosters a deep a relationship with the materials, textiles and producers.

Artisan Designers
At elegant concept store Wolf & Badger on London’s Westbourne Grove, you can discover just how sophisticated slow fashion can be.  Check out Scottish fashion designer Iona Crawford, whose latest collection is a stunning Scottish-Japanese fusion inspired by contemporary Japanese art and traditional Scottish design and fabrics.

Discover handmade shoes from CarréDucker, who make beautiful bespoke footwear for men and women.
TIP: There has been so much interest in the skill of their craft that CarréDucker are now offering courses in shoe making (96 hours) – no machines, all hand produced!  Anyone can sign up.

The Indigo felt collection at Shirdak
Indigo Collection at Shirdak

Working with Felt
Designers who work with felt tend also to naturally favour the slow fashion approach. Many of these are showcased at the Shirdak Silk Road Gallery in Amsterdam.

Take for example the stunning work of Marga de Leest. Of her handcrafted collection ‘Waisted’, inspired by the 19th Century fashion silhouette, she says ‘I try to give my clothes a soul. I love experimenting and exploring and this results in a kind of ‘slow fashion’, not tailored for the hectic pace of the regular fashion world.’

Shirdak also brings us the exotic range of blue indigo hand woven boots from the Miao minorities of China, handmade linen from Enosis and stunning clothing in silks and felts from Dagmar Binder and  hats from Zsofia Marx.

Phylène Lemans, who produces stunning one-of-a-kind jackets in felts and silks, works with her head, her heart and her hands. Her love of producing her own fashion in her own time has led to a special relationship with the materials – something as a designer she is keen to share. So she decided to start a felt making workshop, where you can learn to make your own felt – a great idea especially if you don’t like knitting!!!

Jacket in felt & silk, Artwear Jordaan
Jacket in felt & silk, Artwear Jordaan

TIP: More info on the workshops from Artwear Jordaan a collection of independent artisan designers, slow producing beautiful garments and jewellery.

That is the essence of Slow Fashion – rather like the clothes it produces, Slow fashion is for life!

Through the passion of the designer, the beauty of the garment, we develop a relationship with the fabric that could lead anywhere! You may end up making your own jacket or silk scarf or even shoes. Why not? Most of us have by now mastered the challenge of growing our own potatoes. Having proudly served them to our dinner guests last year, we’ll now be serving them on our beautiful home made felt table mats.

Coming up next, we’ll be talking about London’s most vibrant flower market. You know the one I mean – right?