Sluggish vogue manufacturers guess on sustainable attraction to win prospects
Movement preaches a decrease in the pace of clothing production to reduce the impact of the sector
Small slow fashion brands capture the attention of a growing audience interested in products with sustainable appeal. At the same time, they face the challenge of communicating higher prices in general, in a scenario of burst inflation.
Slow fashion is a worldwide movement that aims to slow down the fashion industry. His proposal is to reduce the pace at which clothes are made and released, generating less perishable pieces — both in terms of style and quality. This makes it possible to reduce the environmental impact of production.
To give you an idea, from 2000 to 2020, the amount of clothing produced in the world doubled, according to an estimate by the World Economic Forum. And almost nothing is recycled: 87% of the fibers used in production are incinerated or end up in landfills.
A fan of slow fashion, the São Paulo brand MyFots achieved good results in the first year of the pandemic, when it concentrated its forces on the online commerce operation – sales were 25% higher compared to 2019.
When the worst of the health restrictions was behind us, the strategy of businesswoman Tatiana Marcondes, 41, creator of the business, was to move the physical store to a busier point in the same neighborhood, Pinheiros, west of São Paulo.
In the new store, opened in July 2021, it has managed to keep old consumers and be seen by new ones. “Sales grew 50% in the first half [de 2022]. The problem is that everything is more expensive. With expenses increasing, we are having to swim and swim”, says Tatiana.
She claims that the brand’s costs rose about 40% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2021, which prompted a price adjustment.
Before having her business, the businesswoman has already worked in large retail groups, with the rhythm of the so-called fast fashion. “Everything had to be done yesterday, and quickly the parts were worthless.”
Tatiana opened her company in 2011 and today she works with different fabrics that help to reduce the impact on the environment, including organic and naturally colored ones. Another technology, she explains, allows the fabric to absorb less odors and dirt and, as a result, reduce the number of washes.
The price of clothes produced on a small scale ends up being higher than the clothes of fast fashion groups. A MyFots shirt, for example, costs R$ 550. Direct communication with consumers is the way to explain the reality of your brand, says the businesswoman.
“With close contact, they [clientes] they know how to see the value of the environmentally sustainable fabric, of the work of our partners.”
For Valeska Nakad, coordinator of the fashion design graduation at Belas Artes, there are good opportunities today for slow fashion.
“These brands will have an audience, yes, because they were very close to a sustainability issue, to respecting people’s time and nature”, he says. But that doesn’t mean the end of fast fashion, however, she says.
Nakad points out that there is also large-scale slow fashion, which usually sells basic items. “The definition of slow fashion mainly concerns the pace of launches; the other issues follow.”
Alaine Colucci, 60, who runs a clothing atelier named after her, also transitioned from fast to slow fashion just over a decade ago. “I had a factory with my parents where we produced 5,000 pieces a month. Today, I make about a thousand pieces every six months,” she says.
Coordinator of the postgraduate course in fashion business at Faap (Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado), Marília Carvalhinha says that the success or failure of a new brand depends on the ability to identify a niche and deliver a coherent value to it. “Being able to structure your model in order to generate cash and operationalize all this efficiently is not easy.”
According to Alaine, publicity on social networks and events is essential to gain more public.
The businesswoman sells 120 pieces in events that last from two to four days. At the beginning of the pandemic, without them being able to be carried out, it suffered a drop in sales. But at the moment, the challenge is rising costs.
“I had to raise my prices because of inflation. Everything I work with has increased, my suppliers and services,” she explains. With the adjustment, customers buy in smaller quantities, says the businesswoman.
Also owner of a São Paulo brand that bears her name, Georgia Halal, 38, is outlining strategies for a resumption after the end of social distancing. “During the pandemic, we had to migrate to online and started selling throughout Brazil,” she says.
At the same time, the physical store, in Pinheiros, is recovering its activity. “I want to make the company more sustainable, reach more people and change the reality of other women with sewing.” Georgia’s clothes are not divided into collections. According to her, the pieces are made to last many seasons.