SLOW FASHION MANIFESTO
We aim to spark a meaningful connection between you and our brand by celebrating the story behind each and every product we create. We believe our high quality, expertly made pieces should last for years to come, not just a single season. We ensure our collections are designed to align with both our personal style AND our core values. We are striving to grow a slow fashion, beach lifestyle brand that you can be proud to support.
For us, starting small and starting somewhere is better than not starting at all.
Some quotes that have helped shape our manifesto and inspired our core values…
“The average person buys 60% more items of clothing and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago” | Greenpeace
“Consumers are reaching their limit. While the pleasure of cheap fashion is neurologically very real, consumers are equally experiencing the mental exhaustion from the accumulation of all of this cheap clothing…. We have a broken system and a consumer that is hungry for change” | Greenpeace
“If you want to truly challenge the luxury fashion sector and propose a more sustainable future for the industry we need to look closely at our cultural values and where those values are represented in the brands from whom we buy. Are the right things being celebrated, are the right structures in place to achieve change, do the right people hold the power and is investment being made in the things that really matter? Only when these questions are addressed can a true culture shift towards sustainability start to happen.” | Alex McIntosh
OUR CORE VALUES
CREATING MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
USING SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
PROTECTING TRADITIONAL CRAFTS + SKILLS
EMBRACING CHANGE + GROWTH
1. CREATING MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
It’s no secret that the majority of us are buying more fashion items than ever before with many of these only being worn for a single season (or sometimes not at all!). With an increase in cheap, fast fashion, catwalks on-demand and short lived trends many of us have no longer have a meaningful connection with fashion. When we buy cheap, low quality items that are designed to last for a season rather than years we value it less and the thrill we often feel when we buy these items is quickly replaced with a feeling of inadequacy.
So how, as a brand, are we creating a meaningful connection?
THROUGH THE PEOPLE WHO CREATE OUR COLLECTIONS.
We believe it is so important to know who made your Soi 55 piece so we’ll always share the story behind all of our products. The majority of our products have been handmade by artisans in countries such as México, Indonesia and Portugal using skills unique to their region. We believe that when you can appreciate the people and work that has gone into a piece from our collection it fosters a meaningful connection between you and the artisan.
THROUGH THE MATERIALS WE USE
We work with natural, sustainable and recycled/recyclable materials where possible. Above all we source materials that are designed to last you for years and not a single season. We are positive that when you can see and feel the quality of the materials used to make your chosen piece that you will value it for a long time to come. We believe that when you are invest in a piece of clothing or accessory that will last you for many years it quickly becomes a wardrobe addition to treasure.
We encourage you to read up on our artisan and product stories to get a feel for who made your item and how they were created. We also invite you to learn about our personal brand story too. Let's create a connection between us and you.
2. USING SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
Sourcing more sustainable material options for our collections is something we are really passionate about. We still have a long way to go but we are already using recycled plastic for our Mexican beach bags, totes and pouches.
“The largest environmental impact generated by raw material production is greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for a significant contribution to man made climate change.” | Kering
One of the largest contributions to greenhouse gas emissions is the farming of animals (like cattle for leather). Sadly it is not only climate change bought about by the mass-production of meat and leather. Some other problems include the displacement of wild animals (to grow crops for cattle) and animal suffering within some farming practices around the world. We love our planet and it’s animals too so we have chosen to remove all leather and other animal products from all future collections.
Please note: You’ll notice our Rattan/Cantik bags currently feature leather straps as these are from past-collections. Once these have all been sold we will not be replacing them.
Using recycled materials and removing leather is a good start but we don’t want to stop there. We are deep in research and planning for a new collection made of a completely sustainable material that supports the cradle to cradle approach. We hope that moving forward we can continue to make small steps to ensure all our products can be repaired, reused or recycled at the end of use.
We are also striving to work with new manufacturers who share our passion for sustainability, both in Europe and further afield.
We have now ditched our plastic postage bags as single-use is no good for our planet. All orders from our UK warehouse are now sent in cardboard boxes which can be reused and then recycled at end of use. Our swing-tags, postcards and business cards are also recyclable. Please help us help the planet by recycling all of our packaging. You can find out more about recycling from your local council.
3. PROTECTING TRADITIONAL CRAFTS + SKILLS
As machine-led fashion manufacturing becomes faster and cheaper the need for hand-based skills has decreased and many traditional crafts around the world are becoming forgotten about. We believe it is incredibly important that these local crafts do not become lost and that the local artisans in these communities can continue to support their family with their skills. We feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with these amazing artisans and makers who practice traditional and regional techniques.
Our Mexican collection is created by inmates who have dedicated time to the traditional skill of basket weaving from the region of Oaxaca. Thanks to an increase in popularity the inmates have since turned into artisans and can now earn money independently for their families.
Our handwoven Portuguese basket bags are created using a traditional craft from the Minho region which has been passed down through many generations. Many replicates of basket bags have been machine-made around the world but none match the quality of the traditional baskets you can find in Portugal.
By choosing handmade pieces from communities such as those in México and Portugal not only are you are helping them protect their craft for future generations but you are also supporting the slow-fashion movement.
4. EMBRACING CHANGE + GROWTH
Thanks to an increased awareness of sustainability within fashion, the sector is constantly evolving. An increasing number of industries within the fashion world are joining the movement, innovative materials are constantly being produced and the processes and technology are ever-developing. We promise to remain in the loop and embrace sustainable changes to our brand within our means.
We see our business model as a live document. We will be open to change and growth whilst staying as true to our core values as possible.
As always we’ll keep you up to date with our developments.
Sadly we are in a time where we are constantly bombarded with articles making us feel guilty about our choices as a human. We have been given a long list of reasons why we as individuals are destroying our planet (plastic straws, disposable coffee cups, polyester clothing, tampons, nappies , eating meat, the list goes on….). Well we are here to reassure you that none of us are perfect, including many of the huge corporations and businesses out there.
This continuous stream of guilt that we are expected to bare is overwhelming and unnecessary. Instead of feeling guilty that you are not doing it all try to make changes within YOUR means. Make informed decisions before you purchase something, learn about the story of your item and avoid cheaply produced clothing where possible. Choose to educate yourself, join in the conversation and share your discoveries - we can all learn from each other. Most importantly don’t beat yourself up (or anyone else) for not being a perfect human!
So let’s be honest. We are not perfect and we do not pretend to have all the answers. As a small brand with little capital and limited connections, creating a slow-fashion brand with a sustainable approach is hugely challenging. What we can do is promise to be honest with you about every step of our slow fashion journey. By considering our core values and dedicating time to research and development we have been able to start making changes to our brand model so that we can continue to move forward with intention.
To the outsider these tiny changes may seem minuscule in the grand scale of what lies ahead but we believe it is better to start small and start somewhere than not start at all.
We wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same.