Slow Factory Review: More Than Just Fashion
On Thursday, March 30, 2017, sustainability and space merged. In the greatest single display of recycling ever achieved by the human race, SpaceX reused a rocket. The Falcon 9 delivered its payload about half an hour after its second successful launch, and history was made.
Because space inspires, it drives. It calls man to do better and be better and to simply be more than we are. It causes us to connect, to accomplish, to reach literal and figurative heights. The lofty goals and achievements of those who came before call for both quiet introspection and dramatic, overwrought prose.
My point is that space not only inspires, it reflects. Looking back upon the Earth, from either portal or photo, is looking at ourselves and seeing the connection that binds us. The desire to do better for the planet may exist in no more appropriate place than space. So, it should come as no surprise that Slow Factory’s mission is inspired by one of those very reflections, and that caring for our planet is evident in every approach they take.
Slow Factory embraces the notion of slow fashion. Just like slow food, it is about harnessing and appreciating the beauty of the simple life that exists around us and savoring every last detail. Their sustainable scarves are made in Italy of silk, cotton, and modal, with plans to create even more eco-friendly fabrics in the future. They have the same certifications that all the really cool kids have (except for being a BCorps – someone should get on that!). And, they are using their products to tell some of the most important stories still needing to be told.
Slow Factory may always have had sustainable ethics for the business in place, but it was not until founder Celine Semaan Vernon came across astronaut Alexander Gerst’s photo, Gaza By Night, with the tweeted caption, “the saddest image I took from space”, that the brand finally connected to its mission (control).
The space theme is now present all over the brand’s website: there are references, images, and musings about space, as well as two collections. The “Women Who Inspire” collection features archival photos of the pioneering females of flight and exploration. Another collection, called “You Are The Universe” showcases NASA images of and from space, with an extra, whimsical surprise that I’ll leave for you to discover…
After tackling the stars, Celine and the team brought the beauty back to land with the “We Are Home” collection, highlighting life on Earth and the spinning ball that binds us. By partnering with the World Wildlife Fund they were able to extend the concept to the “Petit Atlas” collection of volcanoes and shorelines made of rust and emerald and ash.
Whether you are attracted to the possibility of the stars, or the reality of the ground, the scarves, wrist-wraps, and neck-ties are stunning pieces of achievement in art, to be worn in reminder of how much more you could be. Reach higher, stand taller, do better, and never forget that the hard work that came before you is tied in inspiration around your neck.
One of the hardest aspects of the sustainable lifestyle is recognizing greenwashing. Perhaps it’s one of those things that you just know when you see it, or maybe you prefer to withhold judgement until research has been done, and you are satisfied that the company in question is all smoke and mirrors. I define greenwashing as the act of a brand using an eco-concept in their marketing, with no evidence of plans for further improvements. Slow Factory, though, has highlighted another sign of the true eco-warrior, by calling out the greenwashers.
You may remember the ill-planned (and frankly, offensive) campaign by H&M and M.I.A.? Well Slow Factory reacted by questioning the fast-fashion brand’s motives, and in that instant, I fell in love. Standing up to potential greenwashing is brave, needed, and shows where the sloth-paced brand’s allegiances truly lie.
If you’re still undecided about the giant H&M’s intent and whether they help or hinder the eco-fashion movement, just take this one example from the music video, Rewear It, as the lyrics sing out:
North, south, east, west
Water, water, water, water
Where me water there?
Need to breathe, need to breathe
This bubble needs some air
Need to get some air
Slightly over a minute into in the song, lyrics waxing poetic about the need for (clean?) water, you may notice some dancers in a river. But did you also notice the river is red? Industrial run-off from the fashion industry is a huge issue, and one would expect it to be especially so for the Sri Lankan (British-born) M.I.A. By featuring this issue in their video, the motive can only be one of two things –
- They did it on purpose. In flagrant disregard for their contribution to the problem, they purposely put dancers in a river of effluent, effectively spitting in the faces of their own employees, their manufacturers’ employees, and the Earth as well.
- It’s an accident and they are unforgivably unaware of the powerful image they’ve created.
Both of these options are inexcusable and, to be very honest, made me incredibly nauseated. I think I even cried a little.
Here are the most important points to take away: you can choose to do nothing, or you can choose to do something. But trying to look like you are doing something while actually doing nothing is dangerous to us all. Slow Factory’s BS Radar is finely honed and demonstrates well the company’s dedication to this cause, so I am highly recommending you check them out. Visit the website to learn, browse it like a gallery of art (because that’s what it is), or actually make a purchase. Whatever you do, you can feel good about your support as Slow Factory continues to knock it out of this world!
And I’m really sorry about all of the space puns. I promise I didn’t planet.