STYLE / Slow Food, Slow Fashion

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

In February I was lucky enough to attend a Q&A session between the MP Mary Creagh, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee and Lucy Siegle, Sustainability expert and author of  To Die For: Is fashion wearing out the world?' around the current critical role of the fashion industry in contributing to climate change.

They discussed many of the issues raised by the recent auditors report Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability which confirms concerns about the environmental and social impact of  'fast fashion':  ''The way we make, use and throwaway our clothes is unsustainable'' 

It was an absolutely inspiring half an hour for me but this one point particularly struck a chord.  Mary praised the success of the Slow Food movement. This was founded by Italian journalist Carlo Petrini in 1989 in response to the opening of a McDonalds on Rome's Piazza di Spagna,  with the aim of rediscovering the flavours of regional cooking and banishing the degrading effects of fast food. It's success as a movement has led to the demand for and the increasing ability to be able to find out where our food was produced and who by. This is something which has always been at the heart of what we do at Olive and Rosy.

However, she pointed out how much more difficult it was to do this when it comes to how we choose to clothe our bodies. One especially memorable quote was from one of her meetings with a high street retailer "I know more about the lives of the pigs that make your sausages, but you can’t tell me about the lives of the women who make your clothes.”  There is a clear need for a Slow Fashion movement within the industry and society.

Professor Kate Fletcher from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts London, draws out the potential for fashion to learn from the movement towards more a more conscious relationship with food in her research project Fashion Ecologies


The principles and practices of local food set a course to change what we eat. As a movement, local food iswell developed; a fusion of small-scale regional producers, distinctive gastronomy, celebrated seasonal availability, farmers’ markets, foraging skills, celebrity chefs, among others.

Can local food initiatives lend themselves to application in the fashion sector? Can they give expression to values of localism – resourcefulness, responsibility and sufficiency – for fashion?

We love being able to tell the story of our food at Olive and Rosy and this is something we have always aimed to replicate with our clothing range upstairs. I love that we are able to hand pick so much of the clothing we sell straight from Italy and that we try to extend lifespan through pre-loved, vintage, up-cycled and end-of-line pieces too but it is was a challenge to find out the true origin of new Italian garments further back in the supply chain. The clothing industry is definitely lagging far behind food in its transparency at present.