Abi Overland is known for her small-batch ceramics and art prints, but she is also a fan of slow fashion, which she promotes through her blog 'The Art of Slow'.
Around the time I established my business, I was in the process of sourcing quality manufacturers and producers, and I started to really notice how cheap clothes were on the high street and how little they must have cost to produce. Knowing how much it costs to produce items ethically and environmentally friendly, I realised that something was pretty wrong in the production chain.
It starts with the dangerous working conditions women are subjected to, the poor pay and long hours. The environmental impact is enormous - the sector accounts for 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. The plastic microfibres make their way from the cheap clothes, through the washing machine, into the sea, eaten by fish, and then eaten by us. It's not a very convenient truth, but truth it is nonetheless. Not to mention the number of fast fashion houses that base their business model around stealing designs from independent and small fashion designers. As an artist, let me tell you - it is seriously not cool, man.
"It already exists, so there's basically no carbon footprint, and the money goes to charity - winner winner chicken dinner. "
I've always been one for charity shops, car boot sales and eBay, but this realisation convinced me to buy mainly second hand or source ethical fashion brands. Once I had committed to it, shopping became way more fun, creative, and affordable - which helps when you're a poor artist.
I started my blog, 'The Art of Slow', as a lover of fashion and styling to highlight that you can still be very 'fashion' with a charity shop haul, giving tips on how to best search for items on eBay and showing off sustainable cute finds from small brands. The intention is to show that you can indulge your love of fashion without compromising your morals or style. I wanted it to be motivating and inspiring; I wanted to normalise second hand being the go-to when you need a bit of retail therapy.
The name of the blog goes hand in hand with the process, it is, of course, harder to find things if you have a specific idea of what you need, but the reward you feel when you see it (and usually at a great price too!) is very satisfying.
Once you've changed your mindset from having fast fashion at your fingertips to a more mindful and slow way of buying, changes your attitude towards the clothes in your wardrobe. They are no longer an afterthought. They are a prize. One that you've searched far and wide for, that you treasure and love. How great as well that's it's totally guilt-free? When you buy from a charity shop you are saving items from landfill, it's cost you hardly anything, and it's unique to you. It already exists, so there's basically no carbon footprint, and the money goes to charity - winner winner chicken dinner.
Now for the fun stuff, let me throw some tips and tricks your way to get you started on your own second-hand style train. Shopping second hand can be pretty daunting. There's a lot of sifting and little inspiration, so you have to create your own.
Go in with an idea of what you're after and what gaps in your wardrobes need filling. Once you have a clear shopping list in your mind, you will be able to streamline your sift.
Ignore the brand tag. It's so easy to be tempted into buying something that is absolutely not your style because it's a fancy designer brand. You won't wear these items, and they will only go back in the charity shop bag.
You've saved on the item; now you can splurge on getting it tailored to fit. Pop into a seamstress and get your items adjusted to fit like a glove. It makes such a difference, and you will have garments that overall, you will have spent the same amount as if they were new, but they are tailored to fit you perfectly.
Follow Abi's blog via Instagram @the_art_of_slow