Imagine waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning and going to work, knowing you will not come home for another 14 hours, possibly longer. Spending your entire day choking on the fumes behind your section of the factory, lucky to have an inch of room between the machines were you can slide your small body and stand for hours to simply earn enough money to feed your family.
That is the reality of the fast fashion industry.
80% of garment workers are female, spending their days exactly like that. In a world telling you to fund this industry, knowingly or not, these are the women telling us not to.
These are the women of the slow fashion movement.
Rachel McMillan is an Award Winning Scottish Fashion Designer.
After launching her company in 2015, she has gone on to achieve ‘Best New Sustainable Online Business’ Herald Fashion Awards 2017, Fashion Foundry Designer 2016, Fashion Entrepreneur Finalist, Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2015 and Young Designer of The Year Finalist, Scottish Fashion Awards 2014.
With all of these and many other achievements, Rachel is flying the flag high for Scottish Designers but not only that, she is showing that it is possible to have a sustainable and ethical business that is successful and still be a woman! It’s unheard of!
Rachel’s business shows that not only does she clearly have a love and appreciation for fashion, but her ethics show she cares about much more than that. It is truly inspiring.
Olivia Rose The Label
Olivia Rose The Label is an independent British clothing label, founded at the beginning of 2017. Olivia Rose Havelock began the company on her own after studying textile design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.
Every single item is made completely by hand by Olivia herself from design to the fine detailing. All of Olivia’s items are made in very limited amounts, the epitome of slow fashion, accepting up to 30 orders a week and taking up to 4 hours to create each item.
By doing this, it means there is very little wasted fabric, all of which she sources personally from around the UK. All of the clothes are completely uniquely created with love and ready to be ordered from her website (which I personally think is the coolest website I have ever seen).
I was lucky enough to speak with Siobhan who founded ReJean Denim only a short while ago. The business is based in Glasgow and has had a lot of success so far for being such a young company.
Siobhan, who luckily has a background working with denim, created this clothing company that uses old jeans and discarded denim that Siobhan sources from charity stores among other places before putting it all together in beautifully handmade, unique denim jackets.
Since we last spoke, Siobhan has expanded to creating bucket hats and is looking into creating tote bags too! Yes, they are beautifully unique designs, but what makes them so much more special is the woman that creates them and she is nothing but talented and a joy to have spoken to.
Wholesome Culture was founded by Audrey Castonguay, who wanted to inspire people to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. This want grew into something much bigger and is now a massive community of people who want to create a more sustainable and ethical world for not just humans, but animals as well.
After promoting vegan lifestyle, Audrey created clothing as well. This clothing is sustainably sourced and is 100% vegan (and very cute).
As well as creating the cutest slogans for clothes ever, the messages are clear. The ‘shop by vibe’ section of the website has to be my favourite and the slogans match your vibe, ocean or vegan, just take your pick. Creating a movement is a phenomenal achievement, but to do it at such a young age is amazing. Audrey, you are my hero.
Love & Squalor
Founded in 2017 by Rebecca Coyle, Love & Squalor is based in Glasgow. Rebecca strives to create timeless clothing that suits women of any age. With two in house seamstresses, the clothes are completely handmade. With backgrounds in costume, the seamstresses are able to make beautiful clothing than will stand the test of time.
Not only is the clothing defining slow fashion, but Rebecca’s company tries to be mindful of the environment and the impact that the business has on it.
And as if the clothing she makes wasn’t good enough, Rebecca hold’s workshops were people who attend are taught how to make trousers and from scratch. Her want to share more than her creativity, but her knowledge too, makes her more than fitting for this list of amazing women.