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August 7, 2018

SLOW takes the main stage at AFF 2018

Ethical and sustainable fashion has goes mainstream.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Jack Fenby

When Anny Duff, Emily Sheahan and Natalie Ivanov approached the Adelaide Fashion Festival last year with a slow fashion event concept, sustainability was not yet at the forefront of the local industry’s mind.


SLOW Saturday is happening on Saturday, 20 October from 12pm at the Adelaide Fashion Festival runway. Tickets are $120 and available from the AFF website now.

“We presented [AFF] with all of our plans and ideas, but at that stage there wasn’t a quantifiable market for what we were doing, so we said ‘Let’s use this year as a test,’” Anny recalls.

The festival agreed and endorsed SLOW Fashion Festival as an event within its program, and the trio pooled their resources and independently put together the 10-day festival.

As it turned out, the trio – each with their own sustainability chops (Anny with Good Studios, Natalie with Re-Swim Club, and Emily with SWOP Adelaide) – had tapped into a global conversation around ethical fashion that much of the broader industry was already focussed on.

“I went to quite a few talks last year and it was brought up so much that it was very, very hard to escape the fact that this is going to be the direction that the industry is going, whether people like it or not,” Anny says.

By December, the festival began talks with Anny, Emily and Natalie, and as a result, this year SLOW will officially become a part of the Adelaide Fashion Festival, and will move onto AFF’s main runway.

“We slogged it out last year and put in all the finances ourselves, and having Adelaide Fashion Festival as an official sponsor this year, it’s just been such a relief for us to really knuckle down on what’s important, and that’s about sending the clearest message possible,” Anny says.

With the resources and backing of AFF, SLOW has now condensed to a one-day event – SLOW Saturday, which will consist of a panel featuring “some pretty amazing guests”; three runway events, the first showcasing sustainable designers, “including big names like Bianca Spender, KitX, Nobody Denim, and then some local brands like Good Studios, Re-Swim Club and Autark as well,” the second highlighting “vintage and archival pieces”; and the third element, “which is the apex of our theme for this year,” Anny says, “is around dead stock fabrics.”

“We’ve approached a bunch of different brands that aren’t necessarily pushing the sustainable element of their business to contribute dead stock garments or fabrics to curate the runway, essentially,” she says.

The event will end with a SLOW lunch, created by director of Tasting Australia, Simon Bryant, which will also draw on the themes of ethical production and sustainability.

By merging into the larger fashion festival, Anny hopes SLOW can act as a voice inside the industry, rather than preaching from the margins.

Anny Duff. This picture by Nicky Mellonie.

“My concept has always been to be almost like a Trojan horse. You don’t make too much noise, but you’re present and you’re there, and then suddenly people look around and you’re all up in their face about it,” Anny laughs.

“If you can get inside and make people see that it’s not this unattainable idea, that it’s very easy to start making these transitions in your own business, that it’s not about calling out bad practices, it’s about celebrating what we do well, that’s our whole approach.

“We want slow fashion to become the norm, and eventually we hope that it isn’t this message that’s confronting and taboo to talk about, and… [instead] it becomes integrated into everyone’s thinking, and integrated into the zeitgeist, so that any time you’re talking or thinking about fashion, sustainability is right in the mix, it’s not a marginalised or an alternative way of thinking about fashion.”

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