by Jet Manrho

I have always thought that fashion designers were trendsetting pioneers. When I think of haute couture, I envisage models on a catwalk showing the most futuristic creations, while the enthusiastic public looks on as if they are being presented with a box of chocolates which they will soon be invited to choose from.

But the beauty on display is no longer pure and natural: behind the window displays of the clothing industry the goods are dirty, and the cash registers ring to the sound of unfair trade.

In 1989 the Italian Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food movement and chose the snail as its symbol. He launched a culinary revolution. Cooking with heirloom vegetables, grown on a plot just around the corner. Meat also became a local product. Traditional recipes were given a makeover. Top-class chefs went a step further and began to experiment with extravagant recipes made using local, farm-fresh products. The chef and the farmer established a relationship: it is now the supply that determines the demand, and not the other way around. We have returned to the seasonal menu.

Cooking and baking have been a hype for years now. Every self-respecting restaurant has produced its own cookery book, top chefs are media heroes, and one cook inspires the other.

The snail’s pace of Slow Food has accelerated and spread across the world like wildfire.

The clothing sector is conservative and far from sustainable. Who would ever have thought that you would pay big money for a pair of tattered jeans? Natascha van der Velden obtained her doctorate with a thesis on sustainable fashion. It was she who taught me how to make my wardrobe more sustainable. To make it easier for myself, I have developed a ‘Slow fashion label’.

  • Material
    • material without additives
    • viscose instead of eco-cotton
  • Country of origin
    • avoid low-wage countries
  • Production
    • knitting is more sustainable than weaving
  • Quality
    • seam finishing: not just straight stitching, but overlock
  • Wearability
    • more than 31 times
    • can be combined with other clothing items

My wardrobe is filled with my winter clothes, and my favourite clothing store is showing the spring collection. Wearing something new makes me feel a little bit new myself. But even if it is a perfect fit, I no longer allow myself to be tempted to an impulse buy.
Slow Fashion: I’m ready for it.

Rhapsody of Ideas for Sustainable Fashion
For everyone who’s looking for simple tips and tricks to make their wardrobe more sustainable!
Until 8 February 2017
Exhibition in the TU Delft Library

Items uit de ecodesign collectie voor Peek & Cloppenburg van Natascha Van der Velden
Items from the ecodesign collection for Peek & Cloppenburg of Natascha Van der Velden. Foto: Jan van der Heul

See also: How sustainable is your wardrobe?