Slow Fashion (podcast)

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Tune in to this month's WEAReSLOW podcast!



This episode features 2 special guests:

Cady Lang works at Time’s Newsfeed vertical, where she covers pop culture, focusing on topics ranging from fashion to music. Her first love was and always will be fashion, which is where she got her start in journalism, working at outlets such as Vogue Runway and Stylecaster. Read her interview with Naomi Campbell and Edward Enninful, and her piece on the style of the 2016 NBA draft as part of her ongoing interest in fashion as a larger extension of culture.

Tessa Crissman is a handmaker and entrepreneur based in Denver, Colorado. She makes hammered wire jewelry and knitted and crochet wearables for summer and winter which you can buy online at her Etsy store Wool and Hammer. She also works as a craft party host at Wool and The Gang, which focuses on making high fashion knitwear sustainable and affordable. Shop Wool and Hammer


Filed under: fashion activism podcast

THINX x SLOW FACTORY

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Two of your favorite conscious companies — THINX & Slow Factory have partnered together for a hyper-limited edition collaboration called Distrupting Spaces, a celebration of menstruation's ties to the moon. Slow Factory created a custom full moon print that sits on the front of THINX's Hiphugger (two tampons worth) & Cheeky (one tampon's worth) styles. The synergy between brands is cosmic — with THINX's sustainable period underwear leading the pack on eliminating pad & tampon waste, & Slow Factory's commitment to a supply chain that's 100% clean and fair trade. Both brands are also deeply entrenched in their respective giveback missions — THINX partners with AFRIPads, an on-the-ground organization in Uganda that provides reusable menstrual kits to girls in Uganda, and Slow Factory supports various environmental and humanitarian causes.


 

& $40 for the Hiphugger

Filed under: fashion activism slow saturdays universe

My Journey From Middle East Refugee To Fashion Designer

by Celine Semaan Vernon

I wrote my very first personal essay on Refinery 29. Would love your feedback! 

This is the picture of our refugee status back in the 80's when we escaped Lebanon's civil war. It is among the few pictures from my past that we managed to save. Notice how my mom looks amazing while probably inside her is a tornado of feelings.

My earliest memory is fleeing war-torn Lebanon when I was three and a half years old. My father had safely made it abroad and was waiting for my mother, my younger sister, and me to join him, holding on to hope that he’d see his family once again. As we said our good-byes, I remember the wet kisses from our relatives; I remember the sobs and the tearful wishes for our uncertain future. We were leaving our homeland as refugees, hoping to re-establish the meaning of “home” somewhere safe.

Read full article on Refinery 29 here "My Journey From Middle East Refugee To Fashion Designer".

Filed under: dear diary fashion activism

Hello Goodbye

by Celine Semaan Vernon

"I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello"

 

The time comes in every company when great employees need to go their own way and experience new things. I find it bitter sweet and am trying not to be too sad to see our lovely Amina go! But at the same time I am so so proud of her and know she will impress and delight her new company. 

So I'll take advantage of this happy and sad post to send a message out there into the universe that we are looking for someone to take over her position.

...

Slow Factory is looking for an HQ Manager

Qualities we are looking for:

- Good communication skills

- Enthousiast

- Optimist

- Resourceful

- Organized

- Meticulous

- Creative

- Honest

- Reliable

- Punctual

Job description:

You would be fulfilling orders, taking care of customer service as well as occasionally helping us with social media, photography, blog posts and other social media posts, designing random cool things. If you love snap chat? You're in for a lot of fun!

Hit me up if you are interested!

 

Filed under: dear diary

Following the Stars to Slow Factory

by Shelby Strattan

It was just weeks before Halloween, and I was diligently searching for the perfect galactic accessories to accompany the silver metallic dress I had just purchased. I hopped on Pinterest to see what I could find, scrolling though interstellar make-up designs and sparkly tights. But alas, I saw something that really took my breath away.

The sheer, beautiful star-printed globular cluster scarf would be perfect for my costume – and everyday wear too! I excitedly clicked on the picture that then led me to Slow Factory’s website. At the time, Slow Factory was promoting different collections that included many different prints of galaxies, clusters, and nebulas. I looked at every product on the website and became infatuated instantly.

If you’re reading this article, you probably know at least a little about this company, so I’ll spare some details. But as I was surfing every last pixel of Slow Factory’s site, the social mission blew me away. This company is the “trailblazer in fashion meets human rights” as founder Céline Semaan later told me. Few companies with such a strong rooted purpose exist, let alone with product lines near as whimsically beautiful as Slow Factory’s. I read every blog Céline posted on the website and searched the origins of the company. I read everything I could about Slow Factory – my connection was immediate and strong. Maybe this was a result of the way my father always talks about the stars. Ever since I was a little girl, he would spew out facts about outer space, black holes, and galaxies far away. We still hunt down constellations at night, wait hopefully for shooting stars, and follow celestial events. I knew fate brought me here.

I followed Slow Factory on all media platforms and regularly checked the website for new products and blog posts from Céline. Her independence, unique creativity, and fearlessness inspired me. She created this company from the ideas that organically manifested in her mind, inspired by her passion for design and social responsibility. She is a boss lady and no one can refute that. As a woman, I have looked up to her as a role model for all she has accomplished and her strong will to succeed with what she sets her mind to.

So I decided to email her and tell her just that. I wanted to part of the sustainable company that thrives on innovative fashion that supports humanitarian and environmental causes. I told her a little bit about myself, how I found Slow Factory, how I purchased some scarves as Christmas presents, and how I would love nothing more than to work for a such a driven company and motivated female boss. We emailed back and forth for a little bit in January, but it was hard to keep in touch and establish goals or objectives. The company was seeing great growth, and Céline was busy with her second child, so nothing materialized at the time.

Months passed and I was sitting in class a week before Spring Break checking my email. My eyes stopped and fixated on Slow Factory’s newsletter heading: Headquarter Opening Event. I clicked on the email and starting reading how Slow Factory was opening its HQ out in Brooklyn and anyone was welcome to come celebrate. Its grand opening was happening over my Spring Break, and some gut feeling inside was telling me I HAD to be there. I wanted to see the beauty of the company unfold and meet the team behind the ingenious designs. Initially, I was going to go home to Nebraska, but the idea of going to New York was infinitely more appealing.

With a little finagling and flight changing, all of my accommodations were booked within 24 hours of reading the email. I emailed Céline and told her I would be in town, asking if she would have time to meet outside of the event. She was excited to hear from me again, and we set up a time a few days after the HQ opening. I was absolutely ecstatic.

I flew to New York with an exhilarating energy pervading my whole body. The day of the event arrived, and I recruited my dear friend from the area, Aidan, to come with me. We met at Union Station, all dressed up and ready to attend the event that ultimately brought me to New York. We pulled out our iPhone maps and navigated our way to the address on the email invite. My heart was pounding so fast as we walked up to a beautiful space populated with Slow Factory friends and family. The “We Are Home” collection was on display for the first time. Everyone was so happy and expressed their sincerest congratulations for Céline, celebrating this huge milestone for Slow Factory. I only briefly said hello to Céline at the event, as we were to meet in a few days, but she was glowing was a humble radiance, grateful for those that attended this wonderful event.

A few days later I went back to the headquarters in Brooklyn, alone this time. I arrived early and anxiously waited for Céline outside the store. After a few minutes, I saw her walking up, pushing her new baby in a stroller. What a power woman, I thought. She made us tea and put some little cookies on a plate for us to munch on. My memories and feelings from this meeting are so vivid. The feeling of sheer awe washed over me – it was hard to believe I was sharing the same time and space with this woman. I asked her all the questions I always dreamed of. I got to know her and how she got to where she is. I also handed her my resume and told her that if I was going to be in New York for the summer, I would love to help her out on a part time basis. We talked about different objectives and short-term and long-term goals. And as we wrapped up, she gave me a scarf imprinted with an aerial image of New York lit up at night. “It’s so cold out there,” she said as she draped the luxurious silk around me. “There. That will keep you warm.” I could’ve cried I was so happy.

In brief, we continued to email back and forth for a bit until things were finalized and we could set a start date for us to meet again when I arrived in New York for the summer. So here I am in my cozy, little apartment in New York writing about how I somehow ended up in this city at Slow Factory. The stars brought me here, and I am eternally grateful for their unwavering positive light and wise direction.

 

Filed under: dear diary

On A Mission: Why We Use Natural Fibers

by Nadine Farag

One of the biggest decisions a designer makes involves selecting the material for their creation. In the world of textiles, there are essentially three families of fibers: natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and semi-synthetic fibers. Today, we want to briefly introduce each family of fibers and to share with you why Slow Factory has made a commitment to exclusively using natural fibers. We’ll talk about the progress we’ve made, and the work we have yet to do.

Natural fibers are those that come from plants and animals, including cotton, linen, wool and silk. Natural fibers originate from the same source that our food comes from: the farm. On the opposite end of the fiber spectrum are synthetic fibers, which are fibers that do not occur naturally, but rather are man-made (in a factory). Synthetic fibers, like polyester, nylon, and acrylic, are petroleum-based, meaning that the source of the fiber is oil, which is extracted from the earth and then processed into fiber. Semi-synthetic fibers are usually fibers that have a natural source, such as wood, but that require some mechanical or chemical processing to be turned into a soft fiber that could be used for clothing. This family of fibers includes rayon, lyocell (Tencel), and bamboo.

 

Ellesmere Island Large Silk Scarf. 100% fine silk crêpe de chine. Made in Italy. Buy it here.

When Slow Factory was starting out, Céline was committed to creating a totally clean, fair-trade supply chain. She wanted to ensure that the materials she used were not harming the environment or the people involved in the material production process. Her first factory was an eco-friendly, fair-trade certified factory in India that used 90% less water to print and treat their fabrics. She chose to work with two fabrics: a 100% silk georgette crêpe de chine and silk-cotton blend. After her first year of production, she switched from producing in India to producing in a centuries-old Italian silk mill in the Como region of Italy.

Slow Factory’s current mill in Italy holds three sustainability certifications. First, the textiles are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, which means that they have passed rigorous testing for safety on our skin. Second, the mill is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is widely recognized as the highest global certification standard for forest management. With deforestation as one of the major environmental challenges of our time, FSC certification means that the mill’s textiles (such as wood-based rayon and modal) do not come from endangered or ancient forests. Finally, the mill is Fair Trade Certified, ensuring that the people who supply the fibers and fabrics along the supply chain are fairly compensated for their labor. The mill also uses eco-friendly dyes. Slow Factory prints on three types of fabric: 100% silk, a silk-cotton blend, and 100% modal.

Island and Clouds Large Silk Scarf. 30% silk, 70% cotton. Made in Italy. Buy it here.

With all of this said, we want to take some stock and reflect on the sustainability of our material choices. In terms of what we are doing well, we are pleased with the low impact of our mill, and we want to continue to use 100% silk, given that silk is a highly environmentally friendly fiber that has been used by many civilizations over thousands of years. In terms of what we can do better, we know that blended fabrics, which are comprised of two or more fibers, such as the silk-cotton blend we use, are not environmentally friendly as they can’t be recycled. We also know that modal, which is a semi-synthetic fiber is more sustainable than rayon, but less sustainable than lyocell because it requires quite a bit of chemical processing to be transformed from its natural wood source into a fabric. So moving forward, we’d like both to move away from blended fibers and to start working with lyocell over modal.

In the very near future, we are also hoping to expand our use of recycled fibers, and cutting edge eco-fibers. Our promise to you is two fold. First, the quality of our scarves is always our top priority, and we are unwilling to compromise on that. Second, we are constantly working to improve the sustainability profile of our fibers and of our company at large. Stay tuned for exciting news on the Slow Factory fabric front!

Filed under: fashion activism slow saturdays

We received a grant from the ShuttleWorth Foundation!

by Celine Semaan Vernon

On May, 6th I received an unexpected email from the ShuttleWorth Foundation informing me that I have been nominated (WHO ME?) by Sean Bonner "to receive a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant in support of your work." (WHAT?) That's not an email you get everyday. I was so excited and in complete disbelief that I texted Sean right away to make sure it wasn't some kind of spam email. Here is a glimpse to my reaction receiving this grant:


The grant comes with only one condition: "The only string attached is that we ask you to live openly, tell us and the world what you have done with the money."

Here's a little video about the Foundation:


Shuttleworth Foundation from Blink Tower on Vimeo.

What we plan to do with this grant.

Since I will be traveling to Lebanon in July and August and was planing on documenting the amazing work ANERA (our NGO partner) is doing in the refugee camps in Lebanon as well as the Education initiative we are helping them fund through our We Are Home Collection, I will use this grant to hire my Lebanese filmmaker friends to shoot an amazing short documentary shinning the light on the 1.5 Million Syrian refugees stranded in Lebanon. 

“The world headlines parade millions of refugees as faceless, nameless people in need of shelter… But here they have a face.”- ANERA

I am so grateful to Sean and to the Shuttleworth Foundation for giving me this grant and contributing in our efforts to raise awareness about the biggest Human Rights crisis since WWII and helping us and our partner ANERA reaching a wider community of supporters. The crisis has been under documented, the refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, Turkey and Europe have not been properly supported by the International Community. We join others in the mission to push the boundaries, stereotypes and judgement to inspire social change in the region and support the refugees with all the means we have.

You can expect a thoughtful, honest and intimate look at the situation in Lebanon my home country. We will be collaborating with ANERA throughout this documentary and will hopefully have it online by September.

More soon!

Filed under: fashion activism we are home

The Inside Scoop on this Father's Day

by Shelby Strattan

Your dad grew up in a different time and space.

“You kids were too young but I remember when….”

Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t. Regardless, our fathers are full of a wisdom that is worth hearing. Our dads are walking history books, imbibed with knowledge of years we didn’t get to see. They are our looking glass into the past.

Our dads of all ages hold memories spanning a plethora of countless events. Slow Factory wants to connect your dad with something he can resonate with for this Father’s Day.

 

The three giveaway prints are from our newest collection, “We Are Home.” This collection helps to shine a light on those who were forced from their homes in Syria. With little to nothing left, these refuges often flee to Lebanon. Here, the nonprofit organization Anera helps provide a valuable education to give these refuges hopes for a brighter future. Slow Factory donates 10% of this collection’s sales to Anera, supporting our mission to revolutionize the fashion industry. Our 100% eco-friendly and fair trade products showcase that sustainable materials and responsible practices are the new direction the fashion industry is moving toward.

These sheer prints are a luxurious blend of silk and cotton. Folded, they can transform in numerous different pocket scarf designs. The first print is of a photo taken when Apollo 10 first launched. The image captures the awe of the audience, taking in a monumental experience of watching our fellow citizens launch into depths of space that most will never see with their own eyes. The second scarf is an image of earth taken in 1967. This is the first color image of earth as a planet from space, so it received the nickname “Earth’s First Selfie.” The last print is an aerial image of scattered clouds over the sea, combined with a fading rainbow ombré print. This print represents the light-scattering properties of mineral dust in our atmosphere that cause increased cloud formation. Its effects on the environment are not clearly defined, but still serve as a reminder to be cautious in regards to our space. This is why Slow Factory only uses eco-friendly materials in order to help our Earth achieve sustainability in regards to the atmospheric climate.

Dadio won’t like these prints? We’ve got you covered.

For a limited time only, we are selling our Le Petit Prince pocket scarf, Globular Clusters tie, and bow ties – the Witch Head Nebula and the Globular Clusters.

 

Let him feel connected to the life above us on this special day. Show him he’s your favorite star out there.

...

Shelby Strattan is a student at Tulane University interning in New York this summer for Slow Factory and Dimassimo Goldstein. She is currently enjoying the summer heat and the city's delicious food. 

Filed under: fashion activism Gift ideas inspiration science life we are home

Slow Saturdays - Intro

by Nadine Farag

Introducing Slow Saturdays

Have you ever wondered what goes into the design and manufacturing of your favorite Slow Factory scarf? Have you thought about the motivations of founder and CEO Céline Semaan? In our fast, increasingly inundated culture, we think it’s high time that brands slowed down and connected with their customers about these very things. For this reason, we are introducing Slow Saturdays, a feature that will share the heart and soul of Slow Factory with you, some of our very favorite people on planet Earth (and beyond).

Earth First Selfie, We Are Home 2016. Photography: Meredith Truax. Model: Amina Sulejmanagich


From multiplying tons of fast fashion and a troubling fashion calendar, to developing world sweatshops and the loss of handmade crafts around the world, the modern fashion industry is deeply broken. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Slow Factory is a fashion house on a mission—to fuse the principles of modern design with the ideology of a truly responsible, compassionate business. That is the fashion of the future. That is the future. We’re just getting started, and we have a whole lot that is planned for the months ahead. As we proceed on this journey, we want to share with you the decisions, tradeoffs, challenges and hopes we experience along the way. Our plan is that you’ll better get to know us, and to get a peak inside what we do and how we do it.

And our hope is that we’ll better get to know you. We want to hear what we’re doing well, and what we could be doing better. We want to understand from you how we can help create the fashion objects of your dreams. 

As a company rooted in the wonder of the universe and the achievements human beings have made in space, we are reminded constantly that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Our visions can go father. Our opportunities are unlimited. The future of fashion is ours to shape. Join us!

Nadine Farag also writes on sustainability for Man Repeller.

Filed under: fashion activism slow saturdays weareslow

Why are we Sold Out?

by Celine Semaan Vernon

A lot of you have sent us emails asking us when a sold out scarf will be available again.

To answer you all I decided to write a short open letter to explain why we sell out and why we have over 1000 people in our waiting list for sold out scarves. You may not be aware that this company started as a side project and quickly outgrew my bedroom, then my living room and allowed us to open our first storefront studio ("Atelier") in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!

The short answer is that we produce distinct collections in small production runs and don't overproduce, so all of our collections are, by nature, limited edition. That said, we do sometimes reproduce designs that have an overwhelming demand, but you can't count on it!

The longer answer is divided into 2 parts which explain the foundation of our core philosophies.

Fashion Activism

Our collections are usually tied to a specific cause, with a portion of profits going to an NGO doing meaningful work, so we like to focus most of our attention at any given time to that current collection. Right now for example, we are focusing on the We Are Home collection celebrating a positive image and support for refugees in Lebanon, with a proceeds going to ANERA's work in education for refugees stranded in Lebanon.

We therefore keep a smaller catalog at any given time so that we can donate the most and have the biggest impact on the world.

Slow Fashion

Our brand is called Slow Factory for a reason — we manufacture and advocate for Slow Fashion, responsibly sourced materials, we use 100% natural fabrics and eco-friendly dyes. Our company is responsibly designed and our operations are carefully managed so that our growth is sustainable. This means smaller production runs and holding less stock, which again means that we plan on running out of things. We truly believe that slow and steady wins the race!

Although it might feel frustrating to be waiting for a print, please know that with each print and each contribution to Slow Factory you are voting with your wallet and you are being part of a healthier ecosystem for our industry.

Re-stocking Soon by Popular Demand

A lot of you have asked us when will we reprint and we finally have an answer for you! We will allow you to pre-order some of your favorite prints so that we get a clear count on what prints you want and start manufacturing them asap!

We are opening our pre-orders on May 22nd (because we are waiting for Mercury to finish its Retrograde) and will start manufacturing on June 1st. Please know that a normal lead-time is about 4 weeks or so until you receive your scarf!

Thank you for all of your support, love and encouragement. We are in this together. We are Floating in Space.

Filed under: dear diary fashion activism