Slow fashion plants foothold in Australian market
Founder of Cosi Elaine Briggs said that the average Australian consumer is not aware of many of the issues surrounding textile sustainability, organics and the impact of fast fashion.
"In the UK, cheap, mass-produced clothing has had a major impact on a large number of high-end European designers.”
“Some survived, many did not. I believe that the Australian market is soon to mirror the UK experience.”
Cosi's products are all handmade by small manufacturers in the Himalayan region. The fibres, which include cashmere, yak, alpaca and banana, are mostly local to the same area.
The cotton is an exception - this is flown into Nepal from Switzerland.
“A Cosi Mongolian cashmere shawl takes two days to make, hand-spinning the raw material and then hand-weaving it by a fourth generation master weaver," says Briggs.
"A fast fashion shawl is one of maybe 400 made in one day by machine-operating, low-paid, unskilled workers.” “We strive to create products treasured for generations and handed down – the antidote to the throw-away society.”
“Fast fashion is not evil, but its constant need for 'new' is just not sustainable.”
Briggs is a former international fashion editor who has worked with prestigious names like Conde Nast and Italian Vogue. She also had a stint as a fashion director at David Jones and as a freelance creative director for Country Road in the 1990s.
Cosi was launched in October 2009 in Paris and currently has wholesale channels in London, Tokyo, Paris and several other European locations, as well as Sydney and Melbourne.
The next step is to establish a fully transactional e-commerce site and look at further expansion opportunities in Australia.
While Cosi's price tags are not for the faint-hearted ($370 and up for a shawl made from Mongolian cashmere), Briggs is at pains to point out that is a luxury product that embraces the highest quality of merchandise and a 100 per cent commitment to fair trade and social responsibility.
“Slow fashion is growing quickly as people recognise quality and longevity as high priorities in fashion design," she says.
"My dream is to increase the business to a point where I can invest back into my suppliers; to be able to sit in the village on the border of Tibet and Nepal where my daughter was born and be able to build a Cosi workshop, training locals in age-old techniques that are fast disappearing to help keep the history alive.”
released: Thursday, 12 July 2012
Edward Huntingford from William Buck (Vic) Pty Ltd on: Tuesday, 17 July 2012 1:51:59 PM
Subject: Re: Slow fashion plants foothold in Australian mar
Slow fashion. I love it! Anything that creates a new avenue to market fashion, and generates opportunities for new entrants, has got to be good for the industry as a whole.
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