Slow Fashion Movement’s July Challenge: Artfully Showing Off Our Love for Our Bodies
Each (fashion) season comes with its very own marketing approaches and, try as we might, they always prove to be effective – they reach the very depth of our psyche, and not necessarily in a positive way. In the winter season, from around October onwards, sparkling ads sporting families cosied up in front of the fireplace wearing matching socks and pyjamas, aren’t encouraging us to cherish said family moments. No. They are telling us to buy that matching socks and pyjama set because, what is a lovely moment in front of the fireplace if it’s not Instagram worthy? Come the spring and summer season, things move on to marketing campaigns that are nothing other than toxic, otherwise known as “operation bikini season.”
Just as the spring vibes start upping our oxytocin levels and we’re feeling all refreshed and ready to rock our floral skirts and cut-offs – BOOM! We are blasted with TV ads, magazine editorials and six sheet posters at your local bus stop telling us to size down, tone up and generally obsess about working towards a specific body type. And if we don’t join in the dieting and workout craze, we are made to feel bad about ourselves, the cute little dimples in our butt cheeks and those delicious handles made for loving, by being stalked by just the one specific body type all spring and summer long, namely the three Ts: tall, thin and toned. It’s no wonder then that, women feel compelled to graffiti encouraging messages across advertising boards modelling exactly these types of bikini figures. We recently saw a bus stop poster sporting a popular swimwear brand, pointedly marked with the words: “Don’t let them get to you, girl. You are beautiful.” In permanent marker – perhaps as an act of symbolism, in the hopes the message will truly stick.
The truth is, while the fashion industry has made many strides towards a more inclusive and diverse model in recent years, in the grand scheme of things, it still causes many of us to go through life with a warped body image. Add to that the fact that, this is an industry that is a heavy contributor to the climate crisis we are facing, and we’re already looking at two strong and viable reasons to go on a fashion detox – literally and metaphorically. Literally, by committing to only buying transparent brands with a sustainable business model and dodging the fast fashion scene altogether. Metaphorically, by allowing our brain to go on a much-needed detox, erasing toxic imagery and narratives of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” body types from our mental library and allowing it to embrace our own physical realities, which are beautiful every which, and in their own unique way.
In past articles, Fashionomics Africa has already introduced our readers to the amazing Slow Fashion Movement and its Slow Fashion Season initiative. On their website’s vision statement, the message is clear: “Clothing can be a powerful tool of meaning, identity and expression. We envision a world in which fashion has a healing impact on the environment and those who make our clothes. Consumers, businesses and governments value the earth and the workers' well-being. And all of us put our money where our mouth is and act, buy, produce and legislate in line with our values.
In this world it is not possible to buy a t-shirt that is made in a sweatshop or a pair of jeans that has coloured a river blue. We call this world a slow fashion world. And while we are longing for this world, we already started creating it together. In this ideal slow fashion world, we envision:
- Clothing production aims at creative expression of consumers, rather than profit-making of brands.
- Clothing is designed to last rather than to be replaced.
- Clothing is designed to heal rather hurt the environment in which it is produced.
- Brands choose to pursue stability rather than perpetual growth. They establish deep roots and connections with their customers and suppliers.
Each summer the Slow Fashion Season initiative motivates people from all over the world to take action and demand a better fashion industry by committing to three months of a #fashiondetox – to buy nothing new and, instead, discover different ways of shopping or repurposing old pieces. The challenge, which kicked off a few days ago and will run until the end of September, is also using this fine opportunity to set different artists challenges every month. This allows artists to get their work seen by the more than 22,000 followers of the Slow Fashion Movement and the chance of their pieces becoming the official posters for the respective month. This month’s artist challenge invites us to celebrate our bodies by sending in “your best photo or artwork and let the world see your confidence shine on your own skin.” Now if that isn’t an inspiring prompt – not just to get our art supplies out, but also to shake what our mamas gave us around the living room and treat our bodies with the love and confidence it deserves!
So, if this call for artfully showing off our body positivity has got you brimming over with ideas, get cracking and send your work to SFM or tag them on Instagram!