· By Zohre Acik Haines
Slow Fashion: What is it and how do we implement it at Zerya?
First things first, what is slow fashion?
Ethical fashion movements began in the 1960s – as consumer culture began to emerge, hippie communities preferred natural more sustainable fabrics. The general public became more aware of these movements and the cons of fast fashion in the 2010s following events such as the Rana Plaza collapse and general growing concerns for the environment.
The author, Kate Fletcher, is credited with creating the term “slow fashion.” She simply defines it as fashion that is quality based as opposed to time-based. The movement also encourages a slower production of clothing (often handmade by local artisans) and unity of sustainability and ethics.
What good does slow fashion do?
There are many benefits to slow fashion – for us, for the planet and for the people that make our clothes.
The customer gets a high-quality, timeless and often bespoke piece that will last them a lifetime. They also get a little bit of good karma and a pat on the back from mother nature!
The people that make slow fashion pieces are extremely talented and deserve to be paid a fair wage for their work. They put so much love and care into creating these unique garments that people will cherish for a lifetime. The slow fashion movement focuses on ethical practices and ensures these craftspeople get paid the wage they deserve.
The main aim of the slow fashion movement is to benefit the planet. There’s a huge number of worrying statistics in relation to fast fashion and the environment including:
“Three out of five fast fashion items end up in a landfill” (Clean Clothes Campaign, 2019)
“Fashion accounts for 20 to 35 percent of microplastic flows into the ocean.” The State of Fashion, McKinsey 2020
“Washing, solvents, and dyes used in manufacturing are responsible for one-fifth of industrial water pollution” (McKinsey, 2020)
The slow fashion movement strives to solve these problems by using only natural materials and dye and not producing low quality “trendy” garments that will be out of fashion in a month or so. They produce trendless or timeless pieces that will be worn and passed down for years to come.
What does the slow fashion movement look like at Zerya?
Every slow fashion brand is a little bit different and does things in its own creative way. This is part of the magic of the movement!
At Zerya, the slow fashion movement starts on the Mediterranean coast in Turkey. Zerya has strong ties to Turkish craftsmanship – our owner Zohre grew up in Turkey where her family hand weaved ornate carpets and rugs. She is passionate about supporting this local community. Artisans create our handmade dresses here by first looming threads of natural fabrics together to create high quality, breathable and blended materials. These are sewn into garments and then the felt artists begin their work. Using just soap, water and Merino wool, they create our signature intricate designs. These usually depict some of our favourite flowers – feminine pieces that fall outside the realm of the everchanging fast fashion trends we’re told we should admire. Once the piece is finished, it’s sent to Australia and hung with pride in our sustainable boutique. The whole process can take up to one week to create a single dress. We’re proud to be part of the ever-growing slow fashion movement and look forward to a world where we all cherish our clothes, the planet and each other.
A Brief History of Ethical and Sustainable Fashion — Solene Rauturier. “Solene Rauturier.” Solene Rauturier, 24 Apr. 2019, www.solenerauturier.com/blog/history-ethical-fashion.
Darmo, Jennifer. “20 Hard Facts about Fast Fashion.” Good on You, 26 July 2020, goodonyou.eco/fast-fashion-facts/.
Stanton, Audrey. “What Does Slow Fashion Actually Mean?” The Good Trade, www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-slow-fashion.