6 years ago by

Slow fashion is something that we discuss in The Atelier rather frequently. How can we buy less? How can we waste less? It’s a conversation that encompasses a number of concerns, from our planet, to our wallets, to our state of mind when searching through our wardrobe for something to wear each morning.

One thing we can acknowledge pretty readily is that in our quest to consume less, none of us are perfect. As much as I would love to have an entire wardrobe of ethical clothing that’s handmade by artisans, I don’t. Let’s be honest, it can be pricey and I live in New York on an editor’s salary.

The best way that I can describe my commitment to slow fashion is that I am trying to make it work. I primarily buy classics and I want to keep my clothes and accessories alive for a long time. It’s something I’m constantly pushing myself to improve upon.

I had these sentiments in mind when choosing the brands that I wanted to highlight for this story. Their timeless aesthetic initially drew me to them, a quality that both aligns with my own personal style and makes shopping consciously a bit easier. All of these designers make easy items that let you shine. They are stylish but not trendy.

I’m excited to share a few brands with you that help me participate in the slow fashion movement, at my own speed…

J.Hannah is a jewelry brand founded by super cool girl, Jess Hannah. They are based in LA.

What is your brand ethos? When developing your brand, what principles were important to you?

The J. Hannah ethos from the get-go has been concerned with building a luxury experience that is accessible. By this I mean that instead of pricing our designs based on their trend value, we make pieces everyone can feel confident purchasing because they will (hopefully) be worn for a lifetime. It’s a genuine luxury item, not a luxury markup. They will never lose their value or go out of style.

Why do you think women are drawn to your products?

We make jewelry for everyone, not just women :) Originally the signet ring was considered men’s jewelry. It was used as a signature and would usually bear a family crest, which you could press into the wax that seals one’s letters or officiates a document. It’s our staple, and a design easily worn by any gender. Perhaps that blank slate is just what our customer was looking for, a piece they could inscribe (literally or figuratively) with their own significance.

Why are you drawn to producing classic pieces women can wear everyday over years?

All designers should be more focused on creating products their customers will love forever. We would never deliberately hand over something with an aesthetic or sartorial expiration date. We strive to not contribute to the excess noise that is permitted to exist and even encouraged by the confused priorities built into US capitalism.

At J. Hannah our chief ethical concerns are taking care of our employees and vendors by paying them a living wage and having all our production local. All our nail polish and jewelry is made in Los Angeles. This extends to our sourcing of materials as well — we work really hard to make sure our stones are recycled, or at least responsibly mined.

What are you excited about in the fashion world right now? How does your brand fit in?

We think it’s exciting to live in an age where we can communicate directly with our customers. Social media has really torn down the wall between consumers and businesses. We consider it a privilege to see how our customers style our jewelry, or wear our nail polish, to reach out to them and have them reach out to us. We have access to their candid feedback, and the ability to respond in a personal way. That’s a gift.

How did your background prior to starting your brand influence the products you’re making now?

I started down this path hand making jewelry, first learning in a retired jewelers’ garage, then in my college apartment on my own and later on as an apprentice. This informed my transition into design. My understanding of the construction of these pieces always predicates what I come up with in my collections. I’m very involved in the production line of every piece from its inception to its delivery to our stores and customers.

Paris Georgia is a New Zealand-based womenswear brand created by two extremely chic designers, Georgia Cherrie and Paris Mitchell.

What is your brand ethos?

Paris Georgia is all about female empowerment. We are so lucky to be surrounded by a community of such strong woman. When developing the brand we used them as our muse’s and created pieces around their lifestyles and values – we wanted to make them look as powerful as they feel.

Why do you think women are drawn to your products?

Our designs praise the female form. We love sculptured silhouettes and structured forms, we focus on creating flattering pieces that woman feel comfortable in.

We make everything in New Zealand, which has always played a big role in our eco practices. You know each and every person within the production process.

In the world of fast fashion and consumerism we were drawn to the idea of creating pieces that were made to last. Ever since we were in high school we’ve borrowed clothing from our mother’s wardrobes, we’ve always been drawn to the timeless aesthetic.

FEEL Studio Inc. is an ethically-sourced denim brand from one of my favorite stylists, Stevie Dance. They are based in L.A.

What is your brand ethos? When developing your brand, what principles were important to you?

The FEEL Studio Inc. all started from the desire to make a single perfect pair of pants, for myself and then in turn, for everyone. A pair of jeans that were aesthetically like an authentic vintage pair, without having to hunt on eBay and in thrift shops to find them, without having to repair the holes in them from wear and tear or take them to a tailor to get the length just right, but with a moral compass in making them as sustainable an option as their vintage predecessor is. And from there The FEEL Studio Inc. grew.

The most important thing to me for the jeans was their FIT. Making a pair of jeans that fit just right, for a bunch of people, for all different body types, that made you feel fantastic and in turn makes life easier.

I like the idea that one jean can appeal to people in different ways, like a perfect white t-shirt – because we all wear them differently. Such as some wear them tight, some wear them oversized, some wear their boyfriends, or their girlfriends, some cut them up, some want them big and relaxed. Others want to be zipped in and wear them with a heel.

So that is what we have tried to do at The FEEL Studio Inc. with our single cut, called The Genuine Jean and so far, people are responding.

Men are wearing them too. My fiancé wears his jeans, low and oversized and in the short length, so they appear boxy.

Of course, no two bodies are the same, but we believe the product can be adjusted to work silhouette wise, regardless. To help our customers choose the right size, we provide a Fit Quiz which takes you step by step, to carefully determine our suggestions for the best fit and size.

Now, due to demand, the next step is to increase the the size range we offer.

I hope women are drawn to our denim because they sense we are open to them and that the premise of the entire brand is thoughtful; genuine dressing with an investment in the craftsmanship of the product.

But they aren't just for women, men are buying them too, which is such a dream to me. To create a genderless product is really the ideal.

The idea that anyone can translate it for their own persona and sex and energy is super appealing to me.

Why are you drawn to producing classic pieces women can wear everyday over years?

I like experimenting with fashion but at the heart of what I believe in, is expressing ones own quintessential style. I have always personally been drawn to style that feels democratic, easy, sensual, relaxed and nonchalant. All the qualities jeans represent to me.

Do ethical concerns play a role in your business? Which ones?

Yes, we are trying our very best to work as sustainably as possible. For now, that means side-stepping the trend cycle. These are classic jeans built to last. To further minimize our footprint, each pair is sustainably washed in ozone machines and responsibly crafted in small batches, locally in California, while denim off-cuts are up-cycled into building insulation via the Blue Jean Go Green initiative. Great care has been taken to ensure our packaging is environmentally friendly: the jeans come in a reusable and biodegradable plastic bag and have just a single garment tag crafted from recycled paper. But we are of course continually trying to improve this as our resources allow it. It is a work in progress.

By Far is a Bulgarian accessories brand founded by twin sisters, Valentina and Sabina, and their best friend, Denitsa. They are totally adorable and their shoes are too!

What is your brand ethos? When developing your brand, what principles were important to you?

When we launched BY FAR, we wanted to create shoes that are cool in a subtle way, without overpowering the girl who is wearing our shoes. Comfort and discretion of the brand will remain the core value of our brand, but now we’re much braver to use bold colours and textures to bring more joy to our collections.

We produce consciously and locally in Europe (Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain) where all workers are payed fairly and the factories comply with all ecological requirements implied by the European Union. We also try to integrate up to 30% of our production using dead-stock leathers which have been rescued from premium Italian factories.

Why do you think women are drawn to your products?

Because girls can imagine themselves wearing our shoes and bags from day to night, feeling confident and comfortable.

Why are you drawn to producing classic pieces women can wear everyday over years?

I guess we’re a bit nostalgic in that sense as we’re obsessed with the aesthetics from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. We don’t consider if the customer is going to wear what we create over the years, rather we’re just focused on what we’re passionate about now and if it’s comfortable and wearable.

What are you excited about in the fashion world right now? How does you brand fit?

One can definitely see the expansion of “No Label Label” and affordable luxury independent brands. Before girls would look for either very expensive bag with big logo of the company or very cheap product that you don’t give it much thought when purchasing. Now more and more, girls want to be identified with who they are instead of the brand that they’re wearing so they want cool shoes that don’t scream the LOGO of the brand. They’re also more conscious of the price point as they’re becoming more aware that cheap items might mean that someone is not getting their fair share along the way. In that sense, we fit in that middle line.

How did your background prior to starting your brand influence the products you’re making now?

We had no background in fashion prior to starting BY FAR. I believe that is one of our biggest strengths, because we came into the industry open to mentoring from our customer, editors, buyers and influencers.

Image 1: Tank and Pants, Paris Georgia; Jewelry, J.Hannah

Image 2: Earrings and Necklace, J.Hannah

Image 3: Tank and Pants, Paris Georgia

Image 4: Jeans, The FEEL Studio, Inc.

Image 5: Dress, Stylist’s Own; All Shoes, By Far



Add yours
  • Good article and good brands too, but, as I wrote before, how a mother of two with a clerk salary can efford dresses that are 750 $ ?
    Sorry, but I think that you should do some post of more effortable clothes.

  • Hey Frederica!
    I hear your struggle! While I don’t personally have kids, but, just as Kristina said in this post, it’s really not easy to afford good quality sustainable pieces. Even though it’s often said that the more you pay, the longer you’re going to use it, so it’s a money-saver in the long run, it’s not usually the case in reality. Unless you buy very little, very rarely.
    Off the top of my head, Everlane has pretty affordable prices. Just check the quality of pieces when you try them on, they have ups and downs on this front.
    Also, resellers like Poshmark or Tradesy are great. You can often find new pieces with tags. You just need to know exactly what to look for, otherwise it’s a black hole of shopping.
    Perfection doesn’t exist, and even if somebody claims they live 100% sustainably, it most likely isn’t true. So any small step is a big win!
    No matter where you shop, try to pick up less harmful textiles like organic cotton, hemp and linen instead of polyester or viscose, and you’ll do a HUGE favor to your body and our environment.
    And we will continue working on discovering and highlighting more brands that do good!
    Big hug,

  • Great that you look into sustainable fashion!
    @ Federica: fortunately sustainable fashion doesn’t need to be super expensive. The workers’ wage is such a small part of any price build up (max 5%), that even paying a living wage wouldnt make an item much more expensive. You can check out which brands are members of Fair Wear Foundation, an organisation that works with their brands towards better working conditions for the people who make our clothes. So that’s sustainability from a labour rights perspective, but many of those brands are also environmentally conscious. Members include Acne (for the 750$ dress ;-), but also Nudie Jeans, Armed Angels and so many more in every budget range.

  • Thank you for your answer Niki, I will have a look and I hope I can find something for my poor budget!

  • Stunning model!! And love the helpful brand education.

  • Patricia Rey September, 15 2018, 7:51 / Reply

    I really like that at the Atelier you show à great interest in slow fashion !
    Your values are why i keep reading !
    Also check out the Cradle to Cradle products by Wolford ! Totally engaged in a circular economy and respectful of the environment…

  • Love this article and love encouraging people how to shop their own closet while thinking strategically about what to purchase to add more dimension to what they already own! xx

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