Nadine Marie - Bewildher
Slow Fashion Brand
What is something you wish people knew about slow fashion?
Slow fashion is a movement advocating for principles that include being environmentally friendly, ethical and fair to both consumers and producers. In manufacturing these values come at a higher cost and thus the movement is often felt to be exclusive, however this is not the case. Slow fashion is not about making and selling garments – it’s a mindset. It’s about thinking of creative ways to use and consume apparel in a more people and earth friendly way. Anyone can participate at any level, from massive corporations to individuals evaluating their own closets. One of those most sustainable choices is to repair and continue to wear our own clothes, or to consign and secondhand shop locally. There is felt to still be a stigma against shopping second hand and the only way for those with a lower income to be trendy is to shop fast-fashion. I don’t believe this, at all. I want those reading this to know I style ALL of my photoshoots with second hand finds, and I get asked all the time where items are from. If it looks like you bought your outfit off a mannequin, that’s being trendy, but if someone says I love your outfit and it takes you 10 minutes to explain where you scored everything over the last decade or so, that’s having style. Like fast-fashion, trends are fleeting. Like Slow Fashion, style is timeless.
What motivates you in your daily work?
Knowing that what I’m doing is serving a greater purpose. Every time I get deflated, burnt out, at the end of my rope, I imagine the greater impact my quitting would have on my suppliers and also on the growth of the slow fashion movement. When I began promoting slow fashion and the concept of pre-ordering in the activewear industry, no one else was doing it. Not a single activewear brand. I researched extensively! Now, there are at least a dozen activewear brands offering pre-orders and committing to a range of initiatives that I’ve been raising awareness for.
Can you recommend any educational sources to learn more about the slow fashion industry?
I have a dedicated slow fashion article on my website, which can be found under the about menu. My sources are linked at the bottom of the article. I also highly recommend checking out and supporting the work of non-profit organizations Remake and The Clean Clothes campaign. I’ve noted that the Clean Clothes Campaign website now specifies ‘Sportswear’ in their callout. It is time for the sportswear / activewear industry to be held accountable. It is the most harmful sector with the least amount of activism for change.
What would you say are the key things that make your brand sustainable?
It’s not a few things, it’s everything and how it all fits together. Slow fashion is about taking a system thinking approach to the way we use and consume clothing. As a brand, that translates to figuring out ways to make every material and process as ethical and sustainable as possible, and not turning a blind eye for the sake of making more profit. Some examples are that we only make what we know we’ll sell, we never risk overstocking – our inventory is so miniscule we don’t even have a warehouse. We do this by offering pre-orders, which subsequently gives our brand the financial security to prioritize other sustainability initiatives including the higher cost of recycled content materials and ensuring all of our fabric scraps are recycled. We also plant a tree per purchase to offset all associated manufacturing and shipping emissions and offer our customers recyclable and compostable packaging options.