‘Buying better, buying less’: How slow fashion is surviving in a changing retail landscape

Many clothing stores depend on the changing fashion trends. The clothes you buy today will eventually go out of style or fall apart and you’ll need to buy more, but there is another option – slow fashion.

“Slow fashion means basically buying better, buying less,” said designer, Andreanne Dandeneau, who runs the Winnipeg designer fashion label Anne Mulaire.

Her clothes are made locally from start to finish. Dandeneau says that’s crucial.

“I’m able to look at the quality of the garment,” said Dandeneau. “I’m able to do a smaller run.” 

That means unlike many big fast fashion retailers Dandeneau doesn’t make hundreds of copies of any one article of clothing at a time. Instead, she’ll make twenty using high-quality and ethically-sourced fabrics. Once they’re sold, she’ll make more.

Making clothes on your own

At Winnipeg Sews, Katherine Magne hosts small-scale sewing classes to help people create individualized, high-quality clothing, and with it, a unique style all their own. 

“It’s so useful,” said Magne. “Because you get to choose. Say, I just love purples or whatever. And so, you can make a whole closet that co-ordinate that are purple. You can’t find that in a store.”

And Magne says you’ll be able to wear them longer, because they won’t suddenly go out of style.

A competitive advantage

University of Winnipeg economics professor Phil Cyrenne says this could all add up to a competitive advantage for the local slow fashion industry. 

“At the purchase decision, they have to say OK, I’m going to buy this, even though its considerably more expensive than something else, but it’s going to last longer,” he said.