Be it online or store front retailers, fast-fashion is quickly engulfing the industry. As the big fast-fashion chains take over, there are concerns that quality, creativity and authenticity are being left in the wings. A major problem with fast-fashion manufacturing is the ethical treatment of workers and the one-time limited line runs. Rarely do big corporate fashion houses allow consumers to see or know what goes on behind the scenes when making a product. Customers are left with questions when buying, "Who exactly is making these garments and are they being treated fairly?". Often these answers are never made public. Certainly fast-fashion has taken away the personal relationship between the person that makes the garment and the buyer. Many small slow-fashion retailers, those that add new pieces to their collection twice or three times a year rather than every week, maintain a strong standing relationship with their customers and manufacturing processes are not hidden. With small fashion companies they have direct control over quality and workers standards. Often many of the workers are being employed in the same city as the designer and are getting paid more than at big fashion companies. Customers can be confident that their purchase is both made well and that no one was treated unfairly in the actual making of the piece.
Another issue with fast-fashion are the one-time limited runs. This can make buying very difficult for the consumer. Before you know it, their size or style could be quickly sold out or shipped to another location. In-store and online merchandise can change as quickly as daily or weekly allowing these big chains to move quickly onto the next design. Often purchasing or repurchasing that sought after piece can be very difficult. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
On the one hand, if you are desperate to locate that certain style (which I have been many times) the search for that item may become a time consuming enterprise. You may find yourself searching the web on places like Ebay or other consumer-to-consumer sites, hoping to find that piece again in your size (near impossible), in good condition (good luck) and with the original price tag (1/100). Slow-fashion retailers, are privy to these challenges and are making coherent efforts to drive their stake deeper into the industry than ever before.
Kovalum takes pride in providing their customers with all of the prime benefits of slow-fashion manufacturing. Their apparel is consistent and well tailored. From season-to-season, they have no big outlandish surprises and stay true to their look. Their fashions rarely change in form but will have slight variations in style and colour to follow the seasons. Fine craftspeople are sourced for pattern making, tailoring and sewing both in Toronto and Hong Kong. Each piece from shirts to accessories, is made with attention to detail and top-of-the-line materials. Many fast-fashion retailers have little time to service their customers, where as smaller slow-fashion retailers often can be more accommodating and maintain direct dialogue with their customers. For instance, at Kovalum, if a shirt is no longer carried in the online store and there is a need to re-order, often that garment can be custom ordered just for you. That type of service just does not exist with fast-fashion retailers.
Fashion at one time was a privilege not an everyday commodity. Garments were made to measure and treated with care to prolong the wear of the piece. We should remember these times. Supporting the smaller slow-fashion retailers allows diversity within the fashion world without it all garments will simply be generic. Dressing oneself is an act of self expression. Who wants to see large fashion corporations with the same products on every corner, every street and every major city around the world? Not I. Not I. That is for sure.