The concept of slow living is living slowly, simply & more intentionally.
As a slow fashion brand and beloved travellers, we want to explain how we can apply this concept to the Travel & Fashion industries.
But first, why is it important?
The fashion and tourism industries combined, produce approximately 18% of global carbon emissions. Fashion is also a wasteful industry, producing 20% of global wastewater, while 85% of all fashion items produced end up in landfills each year. This is the equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes going to landfill each second! Clothes shouldn’t be this disposable, the constant availability of the latest trends plays a huge role in driving and supporting a high consumption lifestyle, which is damaging for our mental health as well as our planet.
Applying the concept of ‘slowness’ to these industries, can be beneficial to ourselves, our minds, and our home, planet Earth. So to start, here are the 5 pillars of slow living.
This is about choosing what you do with your time. Who you spend your time with. What will you get out of your next project or your next trip? It’s about being clear & honest with yourself.
2. Being Content
Being happy with what we currently have, and choosing to consume less, especially choosing quality over quantity.
3. Embracing Change
It is always important to be able to embrace change, the world is constantly changing, such as our emotions, our bank balances, and even the tectonic plates below us. Accept where you are in this moment and to know that tomorrow is just another day.
Be patient with yourself & each other, this can be particularly challenging at the beginning, try to respond to people mindfully, reflect on your actions and correspondence. Do try to have some stillness in your days and just have some time to take a few deep breaths.
Gratitude helps us be content with what we have and with less overall. It helps us to thankful for our current situation. Cultivating gratitude also helps us to be kinder with ourselves and each other.
How we can apply this ‘slow’ concept to travel specifically?
We like to call this slow travelling, and when our schedules allow, we love to spend a longer time in one destination to understand the culture deeper, rather than rushing to see all tourist landmarks in just a few days, and missing out from having any authentic local experiences. This way we can learn more about our destination and the culture, applying this intention to our trip makes us clear for our wants and needs, it forces us to think deeply about what we can achieve and how it could benefit us. Then applying the contentment pillar of slow living, reminds us to be content with the experiences, content for being able to take a trip, even locally, or the length of our trip. Particularly at present, we could be experiencing a lot of change, perhaps we cannot go where we initially wanted, but we should try to accept it and to learn from it. Patience helps us to deal with any of these changes, and applying gratitude helps us to appreciate and to have better journeys and experiences.
What can travellers do?
As responsible travellers we also need to understand that our journeys can have a negative effect on the world. Taking these small steps can help to be a responsible traveller.
Make sure to pack light to reduce carbon emissions.
Offset our carbon emissions after every trip.
Try other modes of transport that don’t involve flying.
Don’t ride wild animals.
Don’t give money to exploited children.
Always try to support ecotourism projects.
Always carry a reusable water bottle with you to avoid plastic wastage.
How we can apply this ‘slow’ concept to fashion specifically?
Intention make us clear for our wants & needs, it challenges us, to reconsider if we really do need yet another party dress? It also can help us reinforce any decisions we have made, such as making a decision to buy from ethical or sustainable brands. Being content helps us to be happy with our current wardrobes, with the possibility of rediscovering old purchases and restyling old outfits. Embracing change allows us to discover new brands, socially responsible products, products not tested on animals, or even buying from second hand/thift stores, we should embrace it. Patience helps us to deal with any changes and applying gratitude helps us to live with content, appreciation and to live better lives and be better to our planet.
What can fashion consumers do?
To make the garment industry more sustainable, we all need to be involved. Without consumers making a change, the efforts are in vain. It is important to be aware of what you buy. Here are some tips to follow to be a responsible consumer.
Before buying, ask the brand if they use a sustainable criteria to make the clothing.
Reinvent and Restyle your looks to get more wear out of older garments.
Donate what you no longer use.
Buy only what you need.
Consider quality over quantity. Every additional year a garment is worn means less pollution.
Buy second-hand clothing.
What we do differently at Voya
Design process - We try to design clothes that people need. We call ourselves travel fashion, or travel inspired fashion, and we really do think about the journey. We design smaller capsule collections, and use natural fibres to help regulate our body temperatures, crease proof treatments on garments, we also love multi-wearables which help you to travel abit lighter. We use natural fibres and recyclable fabrics and we invest in quality fabrics that will last beyond one or two seasons.
Producing ethically - Slow fashion enterprises, such as ourselves at Voya, also place a premium on sustainable supply chains, ethical conditions for workers, and embody a commitment to continuous improvement. We partner with some incredible factories that we are proud to produce ethically with, who pay their teams a fair wage and look after their staff. Our Hangzhou factory is family run and has generations of the same family working under one roof. Our Hohhot (inner mongolia) factory just produces our knitwear, using natural fibres such as cashmere, silk and merino wool, and has an organic vegetable patch in the center of the complex. Our clothes are sewn slowly and are not fast fashion. We do ask all our customers to donate clothes if they no longer want them or to recycle them at the end of their lives.
Logistics - We offset all our carbon emissions using two methods. Firstly we use the company carbonfootprint.com to help us calculate and then offset all our personal & cargo carbon emissions annually. This is calculated on our companies business and personal trips. We list all of our teams trips, commutes and our offices energy bills, & our cargo sea routes as well as our parcel air freights. To save carbon emissions we send all our stock by sea freight. Which is slower but less damaging to the environment. Then we also use Offet, which is integrated with our online store and calculates the carbon emissions on each order, so the logistics & transport of the each parcels sent from our warehouse in the UK, to our customers addresses, is also carbon neutral.
Through these companies we are able to offset our emissions mainly through tree-planting projects in the UK & Deforestation projects in the Amazon Rainforest. So we are actually able to offset the carbon, plant and protect forests and biodiversity in 2 continents at the same time.
Giving back - 5% of our profits go to supporting local charities. Giving back to make where we live a better place. For each garment sold we donate a percentage of our profits to the local charities in the area of the production. For the garments produced in our Hangzhou factory in China 2018-2020, we are donating to the Chinese based children's charity, Educate A Child.
We believe travel should be more about enjoying the journey & not just the destination. Faster isn’t always better & racing towards something means you could miss so much on the way. Packing lightly, taking the train from time to time, using bicycles, all help to reduce our carbon emissions.
Slow fashion companies do exist, we are one! Slow fashion is more considered, more sustainable and less wasteful, it too is more focused on the journey or ‘the story of the garment’, which is more thoughtful to the process and our planet.
Slow Travel & Slow Fashion ties in with being more content, more considered, and helps us to make more sustainable & eco friendly choices. So make the right choice for your purchases and for your trips. After all, we want the generations that follow us to be able to discover the amazing beauty of our home, planet Earth.