Slow fashion is turning the industry on its head. As we become wise to the waste created by fast fashion – in which trend-inspired garments are mass-produced then discarded as quickly as they are made – many of us are seeking to make more mindful wardrobe choices. This drive for change has resulted in a rising interest in the slow fashion movement, from designers, manufacturers, and consumers alike.
To mark The Campaign for Wool’s Wool Week 2021, we created a short film celebrating our commitment to slow fashion and exploring why wool is the perfect fibre for sustainable, responsible, long-lasting style. In the video we bring together some of our favourite UK slow fashion labels, showcasing their designs at our mill in West Yorkshire in a demonstration of the slow fashion production cycle – bringing the finished garments back to the place where the fabric was originally made. The result is a tribute to the versatility, wearability, and beauty of wool, and highlights why the slow fashion movement is so vital for the future of the industry.
Valdone Auksoriute of sustainable couture label VALDONE Au says, “To me as a consumer and as a brand, slow fashion means quality, longevity, minimised waste and mindful consumption. I believe one of the biggest challenges to producing slow fashion and bringing it to the mainstream is the mindset of our modern society: we are so used to fast fashion, to buying fast and discarding fast, that it has almost become our culture.”
Rachael Attwood Hamard, founder of luxury children’s clothing brand Britannical London, agreed: “If a garment is made with care and attention, if a lot of craftsmanship has gone into it, and if sustainable materials are used, then it’s going to last longer than something that has been knocked up very quickly in a factory abroad.”
At Hainsworth, we ensure that our care, attention and craftsmanship is visible in every roll of fabric that leaves our mill. Slow fashion is not a passing trend for us, but an integral part of our business. We genuinely believe that wool is nature’s wonder fibre, with numerous qualities that make it not only central to our business ethos but a slow fashion essential.
Wool is of course inherently renewable, as sheep grow a new fleece every year. In addition to this, it can be returned to the soil at the end of its life where it fully decomposes in a short time and releases important nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus back into the earth, making it a fully recyclable fibre.
Wool is also a naturally durable and long-lasting material that if cared for properly can be re-worn for decades. Used in pioneering designs by the earliest fashion houses and enduring on runways to this day, wool’s practicality and versatility make it the ultimate fibre for classic, timeless style.
“Wool is such a versatile fabric, and using natural materials sends a really valuable message that goes hand-in-hand with the slow fashion movement,” adds Rachael Attwood Hamard. “There are many excellent natural materials out there that should be used far more often in garments today.”
In a survey of UK fashion designers carried out by Hainsworth, over 70% of respondents agreed that fast fashion has had a negative impact on the environment. A further 70% said that the industry needs to urgently change in order to minimise its impact on the planet, while 80% said that it needs to be more transparent about its activities, indicating a desire for increased accountability throughout the industry.
Respondents were also asked what they thought were the most important characteristics of sustainable fashion. The most popular answers were ‘ethically made’ (66%), ‘socially responsible’ (55%), and ‘uses renewable or recycled components’ (45%) – all of which are key values of the slow fashion movement.
Hear more from Rachael and Valdone and see their designs in motion at our mill in our short film: