Updated: Oct 6, 2020
What does it mean to go slow in such a fast paced world? It seems we are all seeking the next big thing, running blindly on the hamster wheel without stopping to ask why. In an old episode of Rick and Morty, we are introduced to a joyous world where elves toil away making candy. They do this day in and day out, singing enthusiastically as they work. What for, you ask? So they can spend candy.
Like the elves, we toil. We make money so we can spend money. With that money, we vote. Our purchases have a direct impact on the world around us. Unfortunately we have not been the most responsible of consumers.
We are constantly on the prowl for the newest thing, sniffing out bigger bargains in this Sisyphean keeping up with the Kardashians. Walking the the aisles of your local supermarket or fast fashion chain, we are kept ignorant of the true costs of ever increasingly low prices: environmental devastation, an exploited workforce and the awkward question of how to get rid of all this junk we're buying day in, day out.
In a push against mindless consumerism, movements such as minimalism and slow living have sprung up, offering an alternative against the traditional narrative of faster, cheaper, better. Woven through the fabric of such ideologies is the belief of quality over quantity, and the joy of meaningful connection.
As an independent designer, I work closely with suppliers and seamstresses to produce high quality pieces that last a lifetime. Each Tuesday afternoon, I go to the fabric market. There are a small handful of vendors I frequent regularly; however, different stores catch my eye each time. As someone who looks so different from the locals yet speaks their language, shopping is always an interesting experience. Once the initial shock wears off, many store owners are very curious, asking questions such as "What are you doing here?", "Do you have a family yet?" "Can I introduce you to my cousin/friend/neighbor".
One of the biggest joys of running a slow fashion brand is connection. Spending time with the people who make Dynasty possible, knowing their names, their stories, their hopes and their dreams. Laughing as one fabric vendor roasts another when he asks her to be his matchmaker (she said he was so ugly, there's no hope for him). I marvel when our head seamstress Ms Thuy shows me a design in it's final stage - the attention to detail, the quality stitching, lining, nothing escapes her eye. Finally, the opportunity to work closely with customers to make their dream Dynasty piece come true. From discussing the nitty gritty of each piece to seeing them slay in their fresh threads.
We all are so powerful. Each of our actions makes a difference. How we spend our candy shapes the world we live in. What kind of world do you want to live in, powerful elf?