If you asked for my thoughts on slow fashion a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to form one coherent sentence on the subject. My awareness of sustainability was mostly concerned with plastics, water/ocean pollution and food security. I was oblivious of fast fashion’s huge negative ecological impact and horrific labour practices. I can no longer plead ignorance and that is why Belinda and I now choose to look for sustainable solutions to this industrial crisis.
We are just two normal women trying to live our lives as responsibly as we possibly can. Sometimes I do feel as if we are wailing against a super storm, but then I come across like-minded people and I feel excited about our journey again. Just this morning I discovered Twyg.
According to their website: “Twyg is a not-for-profit company inspiring and supporting a modern, eco-conscious and forward-thinking lifestyle. We recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and play a part in the solution. We create content about fashion, food and places that don’t harm the planet nor people”.
Not only do they inspire people to make sustainable and ethical lifestyle choices in general, they also launched the Twyg Sustainable Fashion awards last year. The awards celebrate and recognise sustainable fashion creations by local designers. This event was attended by more than a 100 designers, retailers and environmental activists.
Local designer Mzukise Mbane of Imprint ZA and textile designer Lesego Maloka of Pone Creatives textile design, came together to create a dress for the awards and it definitely was a showstopper. They used 100% cotton fabric, made from locally spun yarn containing South African cotton fibre. To create awareness of the attributes of cotton as a preferred raw fibre among local designers, Cotton SA sponsored the dress.
I love this. We are not alone. There are stunning South African brands that are also ethical and environmentally responsible. We have a wealth of cultures and creativity that can be utilised in fashion design and manufacture.
I know there is no easy and quick answer to all the fast fashion problems. I understand that most South Africans cannot afford slow fashion and that transformation also has to come from fast fashion brands. Choice is a luxury.
Pre-loved clothing, clothing for rent and clothing swaps, can help to make fashion affordable and accessible to more people. Belinda and I are excited to be a part of the solution by running a second hand clothing store. Even if we are still a very small business, our hearts and dreams are in the right place.