Telegraph Fashion – My Green Closet’s #haulternative guide for building a conscious wardrobe
Telegraph Fashion – Meet the YouTubers making #haulternative videos for Fashion Revolution Day
Edmonton Journal – Could you cut your wardrobe to 33 pieces?
Edmonton Journal – How to cut down your wardrobe to 33 items
Avenue Edmonton – Clothing with a Conscience
Apr. 12, 2013
By Marta Gold (excerpt)
Aspiring designer Erin Polowy believes in taking it slow when it comes to fashion, choosing local, sustainable and high-quality over fast, easy and cheap.
The “slow fashion” movement she espouses shares many of the same principles as the popular “slow food” movement, focusing on taking the time to create quality items in an environmentally conscious way. “It’s really just about thoughtful consumption; not just buying all the time,” says the 24-year-old, who is creating a slow fashion collection for her thesis project to complete her degree in fashion design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver.”It’s about thinking about what you’re buying, what you’re going to use it for and whether you really love it. It’s going against that whole ‘fast fashion’ idea of new trends, all the time – consume, consume, consume.”
That’s why she’s called her collection “Knead,” a reference to that thoughtful consumption – what do we truly need? – and to the slow and satisfying process of making bread. “Bread can be something that you can just pick up at the store, like fashion, or it can be something where there’s a lot of time and effort and love that’s put into it,” she explains.
Growing up, Polowy had the typical teenager’s fashion experience, largely centred around the giant mall, she says. But as she began making her own clothes and exploring the work of local designers, her interest in slow fashion principles grew. She studied arts management and business at university and eventually decided to pursue fashion as a career. Polowy wanted to integrate her love of clothing and design with her concern about where garments come from and how they’re produced.
But she also wanted to illustrate that “eco” can still be stylish. “If you care about the planet or care about how stuff is made, you don’t necessarily have to wear hippie, granola clothes,” she says. After a lot of research for her project, she discovered an organic farm that grew cotton and produced fabric on-site, in Texas, the closest to home she could find. She sourced her wool from naturally coloured, ethically raised sheep. To add colour to her cottons, she dyed them herself using local plants and food waste, like coffee grounds, onion skins and wild blackberries.
For the business plan that accompanies the Knead collection, she proposed an innovative model, a far cry from the “traditional I-make-something-you-buy-it business plan,” she says. Instead, customers would have a longer-term relationship with Polowy, working together on repurposing their purchases in the future. “You can give your clothes back to me and I’ll make a new dress out of it, or if you no longer like the colour, I can dye it for you, or I can teach you how to dye it yourself … It’s like co-creation.” She acknowledges the idea is the polar opposite of most fashion-related business with new collections every few weeks, where four yearly seasons each produce a completely new collection.
Much of the fledgling slow-fashion movement is based in Europe; here in Canada, it’s still very small. “A lot of the principles though are things that anyone can incorporate in their lives,” she says.
“Buy pieces that you know you’re going to use and that you’re going to have for a long time. Look at where it’s from and how it’s made.”
reprinted in the Vancouver Sun – Embracing ‘slow fashion’
reprinted in the Regina Leader – Designing eco-friendly clothes – slowly
Global Morning News BC – Kwantlen Fashion Show
By Tamara Povarchook
Three emerging designers launch slow fashion collections based on quality, craftsmanship and timelessness
Amroe Graham, Erin Polowy, and Sarah Fairweather want to make clothing more meaningful. Rather than producing cheap, disposable, trendy pieces, they’re all about designing long-lasting timeless creations that wearers can keep – and love – for decades.
The trio, graduating from Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Fashion Design and Technology program, have designed beautiful, sustainable collections they hope will reflect both their own and their customers’ desire for quality over quantity.
What is Slow Fashion?
Much like the slow food movement, which promotes care in growing and preparing food products, slow fashion is changing the way we create, consume, and dispose of clothing by taking environmental and ethical issues – including water pollution, resource use, and human rights – into consideration.
Designers use natural materials, which greatly reduces chemical production and waste. They also consider the entire life-cycle of a garment, making conscious production decisions around land use and farming, labour laws and manufacturing, as well as care and disposal of clothing.
Slow fashion does not conform to seasonal trends; while new garments are sold, business models focus on revamping existing pieces to ultimately decrease consumption and waste. Slow fashion can be produced locally or can involve working abroad with developing communities while supporting traditional techniques.
Is Slow Fashion Accessible to Everyone?
Although the fashion industry is shifting toward more conscious and sustainable garments, it is still difficult to find clothing that is 100% non-harmful and sustainable.
But with careful consideration, slow fashion ideas can be applied to any wardrobe:
– Shop for garments that suit your personality and body type; work with clothing you already own, and that you can see yourself wearing in the long run.
– Look for garments with good construction, as they will last much longer.
– Buy from companies that are transparent about their materials and practices.
– Shop in smaller boutiques and buy from local designers; you will have more access to information and can ask questions before you buy.
Slow fashion is about buying clothing that you not only need and will use, but that you truly love. Purchasing high-quality items may seem expensive at first, but the long-term wear and satisfaction you feel will balance the initial investment in these pieces.
Meet the Designers
On slow fashion:
“Slow fashion is about clothing that is fulfilling in its creation and use; looking back to a time when clothing was made with care, consideration and craftsmanship, which enhances the wearer’s experience with the garment. “I see slow fashion as the solution to over-consumption, thoughtless production, and the disregard for people, animals, and the planet which is currently an unfortunate part of the fashion industry.”
On her collection, Knead:
“My collection includes pieces made from North American organic cottons and wool.
The dress pictured is a lightweight organic cotton that has been hand-painted using natural dyes. The fabric is dyed using plants and food waste; the dyes on this dress include onion skins (yellow), madder root (pink), and coffee grounds (brown). Since the fabric is painted and not submerged, like most dyeing, multiple applications of a thickened dye paste have to be painted on to achieve the colours. The gathering detail at the top, along with the belted waist allows the dress to fit and be flattering on many different shapes and sizes because the neckline, armholes, and waist are completely adjustable.”
Clothes Line Finds – The Exhibit, The Event, The Show: The Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University