The Slow Fashion Show Review
Anna Romanovska and Amy Butterworth, Lifestyle Editors, review the eagerly-anticipated Slow Fashion Show
The stately, history-laden walls of Exeter Cathedral housed the second annual Slow Fashion Show on the 21st September, an endeavour to inspire a future sans Fast Fashion. As part of Exeter Fashion and Beauty Week (which knocked LFW out the park), this collaboration by Sancho’s and InExeter demonstrated how sustainable and ethical living does not mean having to sacrifice on style. There is a pervasive disconnect of where our clothing actually comes from – Sancho’s and their dedication to transparency – knowing exactly where pieces are produced – are the antidote to this. The event was spearheaded by Kalkidan Legesse, owner of Sancho’s, who together with InExeter served us a slice of ethical and sustainable clothing; it’s tasty stuff.
Alongside paper-bouquet making and bracelet workshops, the catwalks showcased independent labels including Finisterre, Lorna Ruby, Zebel bespoke, Always in colour, Chandni chowk, Sobey’s, My Ex Wardrobe, Monty’s beads and Rivka Jackobs Millinery. The second catwalk showed pieces from Sancho’s collection including their own foundation collection which consists of sustainable essentials manufactured in Devon. Kalkidan’s statement speaks volumes as to the impact the show had on the Exeter community: “The Slow Fashion Show fills me with hope for our shared future, as for one night 500 people came together to acknowledge the immense steps towards a greener city that we as a community have taken together. We hope to continue working within this community and inspiring others to make our future green, ethical and diverse.”
Amy: Sanchos’ flagship Exeter boutique houses their natural environmentally sound fabrics in fair trade conditions. The event was a showcase of their AW19 collection, which boasted timeless, trend-evading clothing, but nothing within the realm of ordinary.
Amy: The talks with Aja Barber, writer and fashion consultant, about ethical fashion and inclusivity were so illuminating – together her and Kalkidan begged us to interrogate our own personal activism. As consumers of clothing and users of social media we need to be aware of our influence and the messages we’re sending – fashion-related and otherwise. With Sophie Glover, they discussed UK manufacturing and managing the expectations of consumers and pricing. The cheap-as-chips prices of Primark are enticing, but at what cost, when artisinal skill and expertise craft sans-slave-labour is being championed by brands like Sancho’s.
Anna: Only drawback of show is that we decided to sit far away from the stage so we struggled to hear some of the talks.
Anna: Sancho’s presented its new collection: a perfect blend of comfort, edge, and the humbling knowledge that fabulous clothes can be ethical and eco-friendly. I also decided to have a little groove when Lizzo’s Good as Hell started playing, instantly making the Slow Fashion Show a win in my books.The colour scheme of the pieces presented by Sobey’s reminded me of sweet, homely Christmas vibes.
Amy: Autumn notes and warm, stylish knits prevailed at the Slow Fashion Show. A highlight for me was the fabled Sancho’s own dung’s (or dungarees, if you don’t subscribe to needless but quirky abbreviations). Midi-dresses and culottes can cater to the more conservative dressers out there, as their timeless silhouettes proved a hit on the runway. And the jackets and coats served up some serious winter inspo (a gorgeous mustard trench comes to mind) – perfect to pair with knitted gloves and a mug of dairy-free hot chocolate.
Anna: The decision to find models who were from all walks of life allowed the show to break down the wall between the audience and the runway. It was much easier for spectators to imagine themselves wearing the clothes donned by the models. Such an approach is key to making fashion more accessible. It places more importance on wearability, durability and accessibility, all key aspects of slow fashion. All models were BEAUTIFUL! Special shout out to the woman with the silver bob in the blue jumpsuit who proved that she owned the runway.
Kalkidan ended the show with an explanation of the quote she lives by: “I Am The Lion”. It comes from no other than Beyoncé, a mantra to act as a constant reminder of our strength and individuality, and that the collective voice – how we can all act and be heard – is a powerful force for the future of climate justice.
“I Am The Lion”Kalkidan Legesse
Visit Sancho’s at 117 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ or visit their website https://sanchosshop.com/. See https://www.inexeter.com/ for more local Exeter events. A big thank you to Sancho’s for their invitation to the event.