Dressed to kill?
Dressed for goodwill.
Why slow and sustainable fashion will always be a better choice?
- team luxe List
Being an advocate of all things luxurious and conscious, we also promote it in how one dresses. While sustainability and slow fashion are topics forever seated on the debatable radar, here is our take on this concept…
In today’s day and age, everyone wants to lead an easy life, given the fact that technology and modern values have fully supported this cause. We want things to be quick and simple and that includes almost every aspect of our lives – relationships, work, health matters, daily chores, etc. Fashion is no exception. Most people think that buying cheap and trendy clothes is a smart choice, However, we are here to enlighten them.
With the constant rise followed by a swift decline in fast fashion trends in the last few years, people are becoming increasingly aware of their choices and investing in quality over quantity. Here, quality does not mean an established trend-sucking, ready-to-wear brand but instead, it means one that makes classic attires and chooses to support and invest in environmentally conscious production practices while caring about their workers and their sustenance.
Slow fashion, literally means an approach to fashion that is slower and mindful in the sense that it takes within its accountability, the sourcing of sustainable materials, inculcation of production steps that reduce environmental footprint and involve lower wastage, lesser use of toxins, creation of apparel collections in small batches, offering a safe and healthy work environment for their artisans, and finally, producing quality timeless pieces that reflect individuality and look elegant in all seasons. Sustainable fashion is a related concept that deals with the same ethics but takes environmental concerns even more staunchly. The primary aim of sustainable labels is to lower the harm to our surroundings by making clothes that are wearable for a longer lifespan as opposed to garments that eventually get dumped in landfills. Both these approaches stand for careful production and consumption that benefits the buyer as well as the seller. The parent of these concepts, the ‘slow movement’ is gaining momentum, especially among the new generation who is wiser in their approach to everyday fashion. They know that investing in sustainable brands is the need of the hour and while some are doing their individual bit, it still requires collective effort to go a long way.
What’s more, is that producers are also becoming cognizant of and realizing that slow fashion is a win-win for them too - if it means they can focus on crafting durable and well-made items leading to lower return rates and, ultimately saving on production costs, hold smaller production runs and leaner operations causing reduced overhead expenses, produce garments in smaller quantities with almost zero inventory costs, etc., then we don’t see a reason as to why a brand would still work on a fast-fashion model. A slower approach also gives producers and labels the flexibility to work around various designs and patterns since there is no inherent need to adapt to the ongoing trends; it allows them the creative freedom to push boundaries and step beyond the realm of conventionalism through bold patterns, intricate details, all-inclusive sizing, gender-fluid pieces, and so much more. These labels also make an effort to bridge the gap between consumers and local, skilled artisans by displaying their traditional craft molded into contemporary silhouettes. This endeavor ensures a strong relationship between them as well as with suppliers since at the end of the day, the local economy gets a boost and an opportunity to bring their work to the forefront. This is extremely essential to building the brand’s image and a loyal customer base.
As for consumers, there is an array of upsides like ensured quality in the collection of clothes, being able to adorn pieces holding centuries' worth of value through their traditional techniques, expressing their artsy inner self through made-to-order design pieces, and the fact that slow luxury items hold a lower cost per wear is the most paramount one. This advent of recognition is slowly but surely finding its place in the wardrobes of many out there.
We’re also witnessing a major rise in labels of such sort. A few of them worth noticing are Reformation, Sezane, Ellen Fisher, Stella McCartney, Rair & Fair, etc. Closer home, we have Aroka, Guapa, Hemant & Nandita, Raw Mango, Nappa Dori, etc. All these labels have stood out from the ordinary and created a space for themselves to explore, build, and cherish.
In an exclusive chat with Co-Founder & Creative Director, Shweta Agarwal and Co-Founder, Karan Ahuja at Aroka, an inclusive slow fashion brand, we got a great insight into how it is shifting perspectives through its feminine silhouettes, gorgeous patterns, and inclusivity in sizing…
What is your take on slow fashion?
Our brand foundation lies in slow fashion using conscious fabrics, devoid of synthetic fibers, to minimize environmental impact. By embracing small batch production and a made-to-order inclusive sizing model, we prioritize quality over quantity, ensuring that each piece we create is made with care and intention. This not only reduces waste but also allows us to cater to diverse body types, promoting inclusivity and reducing the pressure for constant new releases.
Also, producing everything in-house and sourcing from local weavers and fabric vendors is not only a nod to our commitment to supporting local communities but also ensures transparency and accountability in our supply chain.
2. Do you think such an approach will survive in the long run with the growing trend of ready-to-wear garments, poverty among rural workers, and their circumstances forcing them to give in to long hours of exploitation by big fast-fashion companies?
We firmly believe that slow fashion not only has the potential to survive but also to thrive in the long run.
First and foremost, creating awareness among consumers about the true cost of fast fashion and the environmental and ethical implications of its production is essential. Correct pricing, while remaining affordable for slow fashion products, is crucial to reach a wider consumer base. Additionally, slow fashion brands like us offer unique advantages that differentiate them from their fast fashion counterparts.
For example, our made-to-measure and alteration services, for instance, cater to individual preferences and inclusive body types, providing a personalized experience that fast fashion brands simply cannot replicate. This added value truly enhances our customer loyalty. Regarding the exploitation of rural workers, it's an unfortunate reality that needs to be addressed globally. By sourcing locally and supporting local weavers and fabric vendors, we make a positive impact on rural communities, providing fair employment opportunities and improving livelihoods. It is not just about fashion; it's about creating a fair and ethical ecosystem that benefits all involved. While fast fashion companies may continue to exploit cheap labor, we believe that consumer awareness of ethical practices will ultimately drive the shift toward slow fashion.
3. And how do your designs cater to the concept of sustainability with style?
At the heart of our brand is the fusion of ethical conscious production practices combined with style. We identified a gap in the Indian market for clothing that is both conscious and empowering in terms of self-expression. Our designs focus on feminine silhouettes that celebrate, flatter, and compliment the body. We create versatile separates that encourage customers to maximize their existing wardrobes, reducing overconsumption.
4. What are your brand expectations in the coming future?
In the coming future, we aspire to reach a wider audience of conscious consumers globally who appreciate both Indian crafts and conscious practices with modern style. This includes diversifying our product offerings while staying true to our core values.
Apart from producing ready-to-wear garments, they also support artists by way of selling their art forms on their website. This particularly impresses us because Aroka isn’t just another fashion label selling attires. Instead, it has an exhilarating dynamic feel to it by being very art-driven and promoting stories around women, normalizing the odds, social issues, and changing trends in fashion, etc.
We are truly amazed at how Aroka has been absorbed into the market as one of the most coveted labels for Indian women. Their collections are vibrant, feminine, and chic, and sit extremely well on the Indian body. One must certainly check them out here.
Slow luxury and sustainable fashion offer a path toward a more ethical and responsible future, where quality, craftsmanship, and eco-consciousness reign supreme. With each choice, we not only embrace a more meaningful approach to fashion but also contribute to the positive transformation of an industry poised for change. The time for it is now, and its impetus is undeniable.