Perhaps you have heard of the Slow Food Movement. Begun in Italy, in protest to a McDonalds opening in historic Piazza de Spagna in Rome in 1986, Italian food and wine expert Carlo Petrini led a global protest against fast food. Proponents of the slow food movement believe that food should be grown and bought locally, prepared with care, and consumed with appreciation while preserving traditional and regional cuisine.
Enter Slow Fashion. The term “Slow Fashion” was coined in a 2007 article by Kate Fletcher published in The Ecologist )where she states, “Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better. Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based (which has some time components). Slow is not the opposite of fast – there is no dualism – but a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities and ecosystems.”
VIDEO NARRATED BY ATRILLIA WILLIAMS
In an article by Madeleine Hill, Hill describes Slow Fashion as, “An awareness and approach to fashion, which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing, particularly focusing on sustainability. It involves buying better-quality garments that will last for longer and values fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.”
When you begin to look into the ramifications of “Fast Fashion” (defined by Google as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends”), the data is terrifying. An article posted on Edge Fashion Intelligence listed numerous fashion industry waste statistics. Some of the more alarming concerns include:
- Second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world.
- The fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production.
- 20,000 liters is the amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of cotton; equivalent to a single t-shirt and pair of jeans.
- Consumers throw away shoes and clothing (versus recycle), an average of 70 pounds per person, annually.
Furthermore, research collated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation suggests that global clothing production has doubled in the past 15 years, with garments on average being worn much less and discarded quicker than ever before.
Hold tight Buffalo, there’s hope, Slow Fashion has arrived in Western New York. One block east of Vidlers, at 650 Main Street in East Aurora sits an unassuming shop called August Market. With its unadulterated storefront, August Market might seem a bit unusual in Western New York, but in larger cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, minimalism and Slow Fashion reign.
Owners Tamara Tribula and Kwame Taylor-Hayford opened August Market over a year ago with a focus on providing a lifestyle choice to live in a more conscientious manner. Their retail concept is pretty simple – less product/higher quality. Tribula says, “You should feel good in what you buy and want to wear it over and over.” During my interview with her, Tribula wore a pretty, light-weight, classic summer dress; and referenced it saying, “I wear this dress about three times a week. I love wearing it. Sure I wear jeans and t-shirts a lot, but my wardrobe is small and I feel good about it.”
Walking in to the 1,200 square foot store, you might feel a bit out of sorts. We are a society accustomed to retailers pushing merchandise from every corner of a space, with signs abounding and loud music overwhelming our last sense, not allowing for relaxation or true enjoyment of the moment. At August Market however, the space is just that. Space. The open floor-plan invites you to browse the small selections of home goods, beauty products, and clothing. Their clothing selection may look sparse at first glance, however, only one size of each item is on the rack, inviting patrons to ask to see their size to try on. That is precisely the point of Slow Fashion, offer a few items of exceptional quality with an adherence to sustainability and the impact on our environment and community in an aesthetically pleasing and calm environment.
Both Tribula and Taylor-Hayford curate the impeccable space. Tribula’s background in the clothing industry in New York City opened her eyes to the Slow Fashion movement. She enjoys bringing independent designers to Western New York and introducing them to her clientele. Tribula states, “There are so many brands only found in NYC, I thought why not bring them here?” Some of their current brands include:
Rachel Comey based in NYC. Comey became known as a designer for musicians and artists in New York with a cult-like following. Her line is very architectural in nature and all made in the USA with the exception of leather goods and jewelry made in Italy.
No. 6 produces great cotton and silk garments out of NYC.
Aesop beauty products out of Australia focuses on natural elements.
Maison Louis Marie produces organic and toxin-free candles, fragrances, and lotions. The company is based in Los Angeles and their products are made in France.
Ace and Jig are based in NYC and Portland. They are a conscientious company that up-cycles materials whenever possible, and sources fabrics that are made in India from all-natural fibers.
A.P.C., featured in their men’s clothing line, is a French brand with timeless designs. A.P.C recently launched a “recycling program”, offering store credit in exchange for older A.P.C. items.
While these products cost more than a trip to a Fast Fashion store, consider the words of Kate Fletcher, “Of course, quality costs more. We will buy fewer products, but higher in value. A fairer distribution of the ticket price through the supply chain is an intrinsic part of the agenda. Jobs are preserved as workers spend longer on each piece. Slow design enables a richer interaction between designer and maker, maker and garment, garment and user. A strong bond of relationships is formed, which permeates far beyond the garment manufacturing chain.” Additionally, well-made garments and products will last considerably longer than poorly-constructed items of lesser quality.
In a recent trip to Ghana, Taylor-Hayford’s country of origin, the pair brought back hand-woven baskets and artisan jewelry, along with a bag of Puka shells that were crafted into unique jewelry by local jeweler Pegs Hardware. All are available at August Market along with a selection of men’s and women’s clothing, food products, and household goods such as bed linens and shower curtains, as well as a small sampling of live plants and pottery.
The serene and tranquil energy of August Market is an ideal atmosphere to relax and enjoy life’s fleeting moments. Tribula and Taylor-Hayford welcome visitors to sit at the oversized table and indulge in a cup of coffee and conversation. The space also lends itself as a perfect spot to host a business meeting, cocktail party, or wedding shower. Give them a call if you’re interested in hosting your next get-together in a hip store with a laid back feel.
August Market is open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Check out their Instagram to see their latest looks.