Back to Basics: Sustainability as a Central Tenet

by Mojdeh Kamaly

In the past 20 years our values as a society on the whole have shifted to a championing of environmental causes. Some people probably recall Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth, back in 2006 as the initial wake-up call to the severity of global warming. The overwhelming irony today is the United States’ exemption from the Paris Climate Accord, of course.

In any case, consumer behavioral patterns have been a great area of interest not only for economists, but for designers and global fashion brands over the past few years. Sustainable and ethically produced clothing is actually in demand. According to research recently published by the Business of Fashion in partnership with McKinsey & Company, 66 percent of global Millenials are willing to spend more on brands with some aspect of sustainability. More importantly, it’s not only Millenials who are drawn to sustainability. Demand for ethically made products is a trend extending far beyond the world of fashion to the beauty and food industries as well. 

Across the beauty and food industries, it is understandable why natural, local ingredients are important deciding factors in making a purchase. What we ingest and what our skin absorbs should sound familiar to us, right? Certainly, and if it goes for makeup, skincare, food and drink, then the same way of thinking should be applied when it comes to the clothes we wear. 

Sustainable fashion aims to respect environmental limits and support positive social impact by safeguarding people’s health and wellbeing. A great motto coined by Vivienne Westwood dictates, “Buy less. Choose Well. Make it Last.” Let’s unpack this. If we were to follow the lifecycle of one plain white t-shirt sold in the basics section of a popular fast fashion chain, we would probably find roughly 500 grams of pesticides that have been used in the cotton farming process. Such extensive pesticide usage affects more than the cotton crop, but the farmers, local civilians, and the water supply. In contrast, if we followed the sustainable alternative to this plain white t-shirt, we would ideally find no pesticide usage and an article that holds up better over a longer period of time. In the sustainable model, the entire garment lifecycle is strategically considered in order to reduce environmental impact and make a garment that will last longer and perform better. 

One of the most common things I hear about sustainable fashion is that it’s unaffordable. This is tricky because it can be very hard to rationalize paying anything more than $10 for a plain white t-shirt when the fast fashion basics section seems so convenient. This is not a lecture. This is a reminder that the power to change and improve systems lies in large part in our buying power. Though the sustainably produced t-shirt made from organic cotton may cost 10-20% more than the regular one, supporting the more costly one is worth the extra money when considering the big picture and our role in contributing to positive change within fashion industry practices. 

At the core of this entire movement is transparency and the pivotal moment in which transparency became a selling point. Westwood’s point is about trading in passive consumerism for a more holistic approach that respects people at every step in the supply chain. It can even be useful to think about a sustainable purchase in terms of an investment in people and the planet. If we take Westwood’s words to heart and remember them the next time we are shopping, there is a chance for every person to make positive change and do good. In order for sustainability in all realms to be sustainable itself we must train ourselves and condition our attitudes to understand why something like sustainable fashion are vital in the long run. For more on the current state of the fashion industry, check out the following report



image courtesy of Google.

Filed under: fashion activism

Slow Factory Smooth Music Series

by Mojdeh Kamaly

Since 2018 is the year that we continue to chase our dreams and make it all happen we want to help you achieve your goals by sharing one of the greatest forms of art in! Creativity begets creativity and we're launching the Slow Factory Smooth Music Series to hype up the entire Slow Factory community.

How it works: CEO Celine Semaan Vernon, CTO Colin Vernon (who also dabbles in making music himself), and Community Manager Moj share the tracks that are playing in the studio while we make the magic happen here at Slow Factory. Music is among the many art forms with the power to inspire and heal and we are so excited to share these tunes with you. Follow our playlist, DM or tweet us song and artist recommendations, listen along and share with your friends if you feel like it. 


We hope you enjoy this new addition to Slow Factory and knowing that you'll be listening to the same tunes as us in the studio makes us feel closer to you already. 


👀🎵  Smooth Music January 🎵 🎧


Filed under: music playlist smooth music

"The World's Largest Shared Closet"

by Mojdeh Kamaly

Stock exchange? We prefer the fashion exchange. Slow Factory is dedicated to sharing news within the world of sustainable fashion with everyone and this week we’re talking about SilkRoll, a growing online exchange platform enabling women to trade in clothing and accessories that they don’t get much use out of for other high-quality items. SilkRoll is unique and it grabbed our attention for a few reasons. 

As we already know, the consumption and waste of clothing and textiles has surged in recent decades due to the short lifespan of trends across the fashion industry. Many studies have considered the role and reason behind idle clothing within wardrobes and how to harness the power of reuse and recirculation to combat this phenomenon. Cue SilkRoll.

The platform is centered on a mission to “build the world’s largest shared closet” through recirculation. Ever heard the saying one person’s trash is another’s treasure? Well SilkRoll kind of embodies this, but only better. It’s more like a person’s once-cherished treasure that is not getting much wear becomes another woman’s newfound treasure at almost no cost to either party. That bridesmaid’s dress from four years ago that you only wore to your friend’s wedding can find a new home and in return you get to use the points earned from your trade to snag something more practical for your needs.

While there are a host of sites that provide a marketplace for used clothing and accessories, SilkRoll’s focus on recirculation rather than resell value sets it apart, embodying the greater mission as well as the platform’s special position in the landscape of sustainable fashion. The platform has already seen great success since its founding two years ago and it shows great promise looking to the future because it makes recirculation and reuse accessible, which is something we think all people can really get behind and benefit from.

If you’re someone who has used SilkRoll or plans on using it to consciously free up some closet space we want to hear from you! So go ahead and tweet at us (@slowfactory_) or DM us on Instagram (@theslowfactory)! And if the platform is something you would like to support, anyone is welcome to invest online with a credit card to the equity crowdfunding campaign that ends on January 31st, 2018.



Filed under: activism recirculation recycle reuse silkroll swap

Farewell to 2017

by Mojdeh Kamaly

The past year flew by and we’re taking this opportunity to look back on the high points of 2017. As you already know, at the core of Slow Factory’s mission lies intense loyalty to activism and advocacy. It would be remiss to ignore the many events in the U.S. and around the world that have stirred the global political climate pot. In the face of uncertainty regarding the future of many places, peoples, and cultures that make up the colorful world we occupy, we have found strength and inspiration in creativity and community. Partnering with the ACLU for our BANNED collection and fighting for DACA (aka the Dreamers Act) has proven to be extremely powerful stuff. We are overcome with joy when we think about the many people worldwide who have donned our designs. The people who rock these products are not only fashion activists,but drivers of social and political change, and it is our belief that each scarf carries in its threads a sliver of history. So first and foremost, Slow Factory is ending 2017 on a high note, thanks to our customers and friends, from New York to Hong Kong and every corner in between who have believed in and contributed to the success of our vision. 

We welcome the new year with great joy and anticipate the good things awaiting us in 2018. Why? Because in 2017 we watched as humans around the world rose up in the face of adversity and actively participated in marches, protests, town halls, book clubs, and small talk about the issues that matter most. In today’s interconnected world, millions of humans worldwide challenged age-old systems and catalyzed global movements and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate and engage those around us. Cheers to a new year brimming with opportunities for positive social impact, creative collaborations and societal progress. Let’s sustain the energy that got us through 2017 and continue to learn from one another in the hope of shaping a more inclusive, livable world for generations to come.

It has been an incredible year here at Slow Factory and we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and activism. We have many exciting new projects in the pipeline for 2018 and can’t wait to share them with you. Happy new year to all! 



Filed under: 2017 holiday new year thank you

Fashion and Justice at Parsons School of Design

by Ella Tieze

Intersectionality. These days, the word is (or should be) at the forefront of discussions surrounding women’s rights, healthcare, education, and the many other sociopolitical challenges facing the country. Yet, when it comes to fashion, are we doing enough to consider the complexities of race, class, and gender in the industry?

A Day Without Women

by Laura Casado

On Wednesday, thousands of women across the world rallied together for A Day Without Women, a strike designed to show the impact and importance of women...

Next Stop: Mars with Mae Jemison

by Summer Ash

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mae Jemison in person as part of a celebration of National Geographic's upcoming special on Mars (part documentary, part drama). Dr. Jemison was a science advisor on the project and helped the team to accurately portray astronaut behavior in crisis as well as how the bunks of the spacecraft should be designed. And she would know, having flown on the Space Shuttle as a Mission Specialist for STS-47.  

After a panel discussion to open the day, I was fortunate enough have Dr. Jemison all to myself for almost half and hour! Knowing I would have this amazing opportunity, I came prepared thanks to Celine...

In addition to personally wearing one of Slow Factory's Women Who Inspire scarves featuring Dr. Jemison along with fellow astronaut, Jan Davis, Celine gave me the scarf of Dr. Jemison alone to present to her in person. So before my time with her was up, I showed her the full design on the scarf I was wearing and told her all about the Women Who Inspire collection. She was amazed such a thing even existed. To her surprise, I then gave her the second scarf and needless to say, she loved both. I managed to get this photo of both of us rocking our scarves in celebration of women everywhere. 

The day ended with a screening of the first episode of the MARS miniseries so clearly I had to represent the red planet with some more Slow Factory

If you don't know Dr. Jemison's work already, I highly recommend reading up on her. A former dancer, she entered college at age 16 and finished medical school by age 25. She then did a stint in the Peace Corps before going on to become the first African American women in space (such a slacker!). One of her current projects it the 100 Year Starship which aims to make interstellar travel a reality in the next 100 years by "including the broadest swath of people and human experience in understanding, shaping and implementing this global aspiration."

National Geographic's MARS airs nationwide on Monday, November 14th. You can already stream the first episode online and there are three more to come. It's a stunning mix of science and narrative jumping between the present in 2016 and the future first crewed mission to Mars in 2033. It will inspire the hell out of you. 

Summer Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. Having been both a rocket scientist and a radio astronomer, she’s now harnessing her powers for science communication. She is the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show and has written for The AtlanticScientific American, Slate, and Nautilus Magazine. She tweets as@Summer_Ash and is also one-half of Startorialist.

Filed under: astronaut astronauts awe event feminism going to space inspiration mae jemison mars national geographic nyc scarf scarves science space who wears slow factory women who inspire