The generation that made clothes last

"People care more about trends now than they do about style. They get so wrapped up in what's happening that they forget how to dress, and they never learn who they are because they never learn how to take care of anything. So much of what my generation was taught regarding clothes was how to make them last. How to wash and care for them." – Fran Lebowitz


How the Information Age shapes Fashion

Article Céline Semaan wrote for The Document Journal

 Céline and Laeticia Semaan, Montreal in the 80's

 When I was a kid growing up in the eighties, I had no idea that my fluorescent sneakers were made by actual people. It seems obvious now: that hundreds, if not thousands, of people were involved in the research, design, development, sourcing, manufacturing, shipping, marketing, and sales of every piece of corporate consumer goods. But to me they were just a symbol of my inability to blend in to the post-industrial culture of my refugee home in Canada. They were part of the mass-produced cultural alienation of urban North America, and yet I still couldn't comprehend how or why, no matter how identical my sneakers were to those of the white kids without "funny accents", I still stood out.   As I moved around the world growing up — first back to Lebanon at 13, then to Paris at 18, then to Montreal again in my twenties, and finally New York in my late twenties — I recognized two major themes in the ways that information technology has changed the way the world operates:

  1. everything is open   “Open” is a big word with a lot of implications, but I think it’s really important. The shifts that a drive for Openness brings are incredible. Access to information is Open. Communication around the globe is Open. Knowledge is Open like it has never been before. The “sharing economy” does actually exist. Governments and institutions are specifying open licenses to data and knowledge.

  2. everything is a remix   There is no copyright in fashion. You can trademark a logo (and people do!), but the garment industry is the only major industry where intellectual property is not a driving force or central concern. More than ever before, there is a strong recognition that “new” ideas are always built on previous ones. Designers and companies must stay ahead by innovating.  

how is technology changing fashion?  

There has been another major technological revolution that, when paired with these two ideas, has the potential to create a real cultural shift. It’s about moving manufacturing away from mass-production. We see it across all industries: music, film, electronics, manufacturing. As new technologies becomes cheaper and more accessible, the act of making becomes more open and democratic — we are seeing individual craft weave its way back into the fabric of everyday life.  

Now, I wasn’t able to put all of this into words as I was growing up and watching these changes occur, but I did grow up with ideas of openness, possibility, and playfulness, which I see as the positive side of what technology can bring to fashion. We can have an idea and combine it with access to knowledge of how to make the idea a reality, access to methods of producing high-quality goods, access to ways of communicating that idea across oceans.  

This is exactly how Slow Factory started. Shortly after NASA had joined Creative Commons, an organization I was very active in, I tweeted something like “Wouldn’t it be cool to print this [Hubble] image on silk?” I got such an encouraging response, that I decided to find a way to do it. There were two very clear, very different roads ahead. Make the scarves and mass-produce as cheaply as possible, and close my eyes to the human and environmental cost; or make something meaningful and use technology to play with the boundaries of commerce and individual craft.  

This had to be based on open: using NASA's open-licensed images made sense; this had to be based onethics: fair trade and eco-friendly are not marketing afterthoughts or stunt labels; this had to be based on meaning: real care and real craft at all stages of design and production.   As Slow Factory, a sort of culmination and synthesization of my observations and experience, has taught me, the biggest cultural and technological changes of this so-called Information Age have been around the value of knowledge, and the value of goods. Céline Semaan Vernon

The Prince on The Comet Rosetta: Searching For Deeper Meaning

Inspiring awe and wonder since the dawn of history, Comets are something to be celebrated. In discovering NASA’s image of the Comet and the launch of Rosetta, one of our favorite childhood books came to mind, Le Petit Prince, which is simultaneously being launched into the public domain this spring. In the book, an aviator, downed in the desert with limited odds of survival, meets the Prince who has traveled from his solitary home on a distant asteroid,  tormented by the single rose with which he lives. Noted as a young person, not yet a man nor a boy, his central emotions of conflict—isolation, fear, and uncertainty—are alleviated only by intimate speech and love. The story, it turns out, is a fable of war that explores the deeper complexities, abstract ideas and emotions associated with the ‘strange defeat’ of France, with the experience of Vichy and the Occupation. With the launch of Rosetta (a ten year mission), NASA hopes to find a deeper meaning of space and earth by catching and exploring the Comet.

 

Existential pose, Samar Seraqui de Buttafaco, Une Libanaise à Paris.

Rosetta holds great significance, being the first spacecraft to soft-land a robot on a comet, furthermore accompanying the comet as it enters our solar system. It will observe how the comet transforms from the sun’s heat, a process that has inspired people for centuries.

Though the origins of these two stories, and landmark events, are significantly different - both in time and space - their themes are significantly parallel. As true connectivity to our inner selves and earth becomes more and more rare, we continue to search for meaning. We often look outside of ourselves to feel more grounded, when we are all searching for the same things: connection, understanding, and love- just like the Prince. We ask: Is this a story of war with ourselves?

To celebrate these themes, we’ve combined NASA’s image of the comet with Le Petit Prince to create the ‘Prince on the Comet Rosetta’ sweater. Printed in Brooklyn, New York, on 100% cotton, each collage requires 8 screens to print. This, in and of itself, serves as a significant point of our creative process. The number 8 represents perfection and infinity, further bringing to life the underlying dualities and theme of seeking deeper meaning and connection within imperfect scenarios.

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Written by Emilie Hawtin

Slow Factory & Travel

We want to see where the scarves have been...

Kilimanjaro


Iceland

Dune Field on Mars shot in Iceland #hirise #nasa #knowledgeisforeveryone @meredithtruax @0h_liv_ya

A photo posted by Slow Factory (@theslowfactory) on



Jamaica

Peace

A photo posted by Slow Factory (@theslowfactory) on


Burning Man

Slow Factory at #burningman @ladytrillionaire + @ronankenny ❤️

A photo posted by Slow Factory (@theslowfactory) on

Slow Factory + WWF: Beyond the Image

Our latest collection comes in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in support of their vital conservation efforts including Oceans, Fresh Water and Forestry projects and featuring archival NASA imagery of the earth printed onto 100% fine silk twill. Rather than observing these projects from afar, we wanted to support them in a unique and stylish way, using fashion as a medium to inspire change, both behaviorally and ecologically. In order to have the greatest impact we can while supporting initiatives that drive us, we’re focusing on three major efforts that, though incredibly important, can be rather intimidating in their scale. While we all have some understanding of issues like degrading natural resources and global climate change, it can be tough to truly connect and figure out how to drive change in small but impactful ways. Why not with a utilitarian statement, wrapping yourself in sustainably sourced silk, printed with the places of the earth that contribute to our well being? We asked, we created.

Luckily we’re in good company, and the industry is making strides in support of conscious fashion without compromising style. As a result, more people demand to know where their things come from and people like us decide to give them good answers. Trends are meaningless and sustainability is meaningful, so we work hard to manufacture sustainably, understanding where our collections are made and how they affect the stunning, precious earth that they portrayed. The devil’s in the details, and we’ve broken them down to shed a little light on what inspires our work, and the realities that drive us to create a beautiful yet impactful product.

The Global Ocean Program: Oceans sustain life. They cover 71% of our planet’s surface, make up 95% of all the space available to life, produce 70% of our oxygen, absorb heat and re-distribute it around the world, and dominate the world's weather systems. From the freezing Polar Regions to the warm waters of the tropics they are home to incredible iconic marine species such as sharks, turtles, whales and more. Oceans are also critical for people, as a source of food, culture, and history. They support 1 billion people who rely on fish as an important part of their diet and more than 520 million livelihoods who rely on fishing and fishing related activities for income and food.

WWF’s oceans work focuses on healthy and resilient marine ecosystems that support abundant biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods, and thriving economies.

The Global Freshwater Program: This can sometimes seem abstract, but the reality is that nearly half the world’s population will be living under severe water scarcity by 2030 if no new policies are introduced. This makes sense considering just 3% of water on the planet is freshwater, and only 1% is readily available for human use. With just under 1 billion people still without access to clean and safe drinking water, there’s a lot we can do.

The Forest Conservation Program: The focus of WWF’s work for half a century, conserving forests is the single largest and relatively cheapest thing we can do to limit the impact of climate change—one of the greatest threats to humankind ever known. The Ecological Footprint, which tracks humanity’s competing demands on resources, currently exceeds, meaning our lifestyles are unsustainable. If we maintain current resource use, we will need the equivalent of two planets by 2030.

To interpret and highlight these programs, we’ve depicted NASA images curated by Slow Factory founder, Celine Semaan, of regions of the earth unique in their offerings of both endangered wildlife and natural land formations. Ten percent of the proceeds of your purchase will go towards World Wildlife Fund’s vital global conservation efforts that require major attention. There’s nothing more stylish than teaming together to make great change.

 

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Written by Emilie Hawtin for Slow Factory™

*10% of the retail purchase price of this limited edition scarf will be donated to WWF’s global conservation efforts between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Slow Factory is proud to make a minimum contribution of $15,000 to WWF through this effort.

© 1986 Panda symbol WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature (also known as World Wildlife Fund).

® “WWF” is a WWF Registered Trademark.

 

© 1986 WWF-Fonds mondial pour la nature (aussi connu sous le nom de World Wildlife Fund), symbole du panda.

® « WWF » est une marque déposée du WWF.

Introducing: PETIT ATLAS

Slow Factory and World Wildlife Fund [WWF] have joined together to showcase the beauty of nature and sustainable products.

The collaboration has culminated in the release of Petit Atlas, a limited edition selection of 1,000 scarves on silk twill, and silk crêpe de Chine. The Collection depicts NASA images curated by Slow Factory founder, Celine Semaan, of regions of the earth unique in their offerings of both endangered wildlife and natural land formations.

This collection can only be sold exclusively online to US & Canada.

The Petit Atlas campaign features line ambassadors identical twins & creatives, editor in chief and cofounder of the lifestyle website Urban Bush Babes, Cipriana Quann, and electronic singer and songwriter TK Wonder.

The scarves have been made by a Fair Trade, family-owned Italian business using 100% silk.   All dyes and inks used in the printing process are ecofriendly, meeting the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 product class I and II.  The packaging and paper used is FSC and SFI certified and all imagery is sourced and licensed exclusively from the NASA image library.

The exclusive collection will be made available to the public on the spring equinox, March 21st 2015.

Ten percent of the proceeds of your purchase will go towards World Wildlife Fund’s vital global conservation efforts, which include Arctic, fresh water, oceans and forestry projects.


For more information on WWF’s work and Slow Factory, please visit

www.worldwildlife.org

and slowfactory.com


WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries and supported by five million people globally.  For over 50 years, WWF has worked to stop the degradation of our planet’s natural environment, and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.  


*10% of the retail purchase price of this limited edition scarf will be donated to WWF’s global conservation efforts between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Slow Factory is proud to make a minimum contribution of $15,000 to WWF through this effort.



....

© 1986 Panda symbol WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature (also known as World Wildlife Fund).

® “WWF” is a WWF Registered Trademark.


© 1986 WWF-Fonds mondial pour la nature (aussi connu sous le nom de World Wildlife Fund), symbole du panda.

® « WWF » est une marque déposée du WWF.

supermoon super sale

Supermoons are always blamed for all sorts of things on Earth, like people going mad, werewolves, zombies and crazy super sales on Slow Factory! Use the discount code "supermoon" at checkout and get 40% OFF.

Behind The Scenes: NYFW Look Book 2015 Photo Shoot

 

 

So excited to share some behind the scenes photos from our NYFW 2015 look book shoot with twin sisters and fashion it-girls, Cipriana Quann and TK Wonder.

Cipriana is co-founder of the popular lifestyle site, Urbanbushbabes.com and TK is dynamic a singer/songwriter who has performed all over the world. Sharing the same billing alongside N.E.R.D., The Prodigy, The Hives, Afrika Bambaataa, Sex Pistols and Gossip to name a few. 

This lovely duo has joined the Slow Factory family as the faces of our World Wildlife Foundation collaboration and beyond!
...stay tuned for the debut of the official images from photographer Meredith Truax!