With sustainability taking over fashion, young designers and entrepreneurs are jumping at the chance to shape the future of the industry. Celeste Young is one such entrepreneur. Celeste created Ehop Marketplace to promote slow fashion and the designers that are utilizing slow production practices. Shop the current offerings on the marketplace here.
GBJ: Why is Ehop choosing to focus on independent designers as opposed to being a marketplace for established brands?
CY: Our focus has been on independent designers as I love promoting and supporting emerging their unique and innovative sustainable fashion! Following the rise in hand-making, more independent designers than established ethical brands are available and willing to sell on our marketplace.
GBJ: Ehop sells upcycled and secondhand clothing, garments that are more in line with circular fashion than slow fashion. Do you think circularity and slow production can be combined to make a better type of sustainable fashion category?
CY: That would be great. In my eyes, for fashion to be sustainable, it must be made and consumed at a sustainable rate. I hope the high street brands adopt slow production. So far, luxury brands like Gucci have more than halved their number of seasons post COVID. This is progress.
GBJ: Slow fashion typically embraces a minimalist design to encourage timeless wearability, but Ehop's aesthetic seems to be geared towards a younger, more fashion-focused audience. How does Ehop manage trends with the longevity of slow fashion?
CY: The independent designers on Ehop engender the longevity of slow fashion into their apparel by designing irreplaceable statement garments that owners will cherish forever. The designers also incorporate the durability of slow fashion into their designs, for example, by making reversible clothes or offering free repairs. I would also say the independent designers on Ehop create fashion led by aesthetics and sustainability, not trends.
GBJ: Do you think fast fashion brands will ever embrace slow fashion concepts, and if so, which ones?
CY: As fast fashion brands are starting to embrace sustainable materials minimally, I think these brands will properly adopt the use of sustainably sourced materials in the future. Some fast fashion brands are currently imitating slow fashion concepts as a marketing ploy. For example, many maintain their unethical and damaging mass-production while creating an additional range and label it "sustainable". Currently, fast fashion brands are so far from being ethical and sustainable that I would not be surprised if they were unable to make the changes necessary for their business model to be slow fashion.
GBJ: One of the "sustainability badges" that Ehop promotes is sustainable materials. If you were to recommend a specific material for a slow fashion designer to use, what would it be?
CY: I think all natural organic fabrics are amazing. They are totally innocuous to the earth and people. These fabrics do not harm the garment workers' health or the wearer, and they biodegrade at the end of their life. Natural fabrics also have a variety of health and durability benefits. Skin breathing easier in natural fabrics — so they do not need to be washed as often — is just one such benefit.