Alohas: An Antidote to Fast Fashion
One of the best things about being a human being is clothing. It’s so fun to imagine, pick out, and wear and it says so much about who we are. For literally tens of thousands of years, we people have adorned ourselves with clothing that, even at its most functional, has been central to our identities as individuals, members (or not!) of genders, subcultures, and cultures, not to mention denizens of a particular decade or class of society.
Of course, there have been lows as well as highs—for every nobleman lounging in crushed velvet or hundred young women twirling in a national costume it took years to embroider, there were a thousand peasants stuck in coarse, scratchy clothes that they wore until they disintegrated. Today, our love for expressing ourselves through our clothing, weaponized by our insatiable needs for novelty and bargains, has created that perfect storm of overproduction, environmental degradation, and human exploitation known as fast fashion.
The Menace that is Fast Fashion
Even if you remember when department stores carried two collections a year—spring/summer and autumn/winter—much less the days went you went to a dressmaker or a tailr for new clothes, I doubt I need to introduce you to fast fashion.
That 100–billion–dollar industry, at its most egregious, splits the fashion year into weekly microseasons, producing more clothes than can be sold, much less worn out. Although clothes aren’t the only textiles we’re drowning in these days, fast fashion’s never ending churning out of new clothes has helped catapult us into producing 92 million tons of textile waste every year.
Even worse than most of this going to landfill in the places where it’s being discarded (global north, I am looking at you), a lot of it ends up shipped halfway around the world to produce mountains of waste in the places that haven’t done anything to deserve it—like Kenya or the Atacama Desert.
This is to say nothing of all the fields full of fertilizers and pesticides used to produced the cotton, the petrochemicals used to create the produce synthetic fabrics, and the sheer misery of the grossly underpaid (and sometimes even enslaved) people in the sweatshops sewing garments together.
There’s a lot here to hate. But how can we avoid being part of the problem? The obvious answer—don’t buy so many clothes!—is complicated by the fact that most modern clothing is shoddy—badly design, badly sewn, and constructed from thin fabrics, fragile zippers, and other substandard materials.
You can pay higher than fast fashion prices for clothes, fully intending to wear them forever, only to have them sprout holes or come apart at the seams after just a few washes. This can also be true of clothing claiming to be organic and eco–friendly.
Another alternative is to buy only a few items a year and only from brands that are producing sturdy, beautiful clothing at a measured pace under good conditions. Supply chains often being the murky and convoluted things they are, this is not as simple as it seems, however. On the other hand, the internet is full of contenders.
One company that puts the slow and the fashion back into fashion is Alohas. This company, based in Spain, makes exceedingly beautiful women’s clothing and shoes. The slow part comes from the possibility to pre–order, well in advance of the coming fashion season and at a 15%–30% discount, the item you would like to have.
This way they can tailor (sorry) the amount of stock they produce to the amount they are likely to sell out, thereby avoiding the horrific overproduction of items common to both fast fashion and not quite so fast fashion today. The fashion part comes from, well, have a look at their offerings. Did I already mention that these clothes and shoes are beautiful?
I have to confess, I didn’t feel worthy enough of clothes this elegant (plus I live out in the exceedingly muddy countryside, full of jumping dogs with dirty paws and fences that I’m always snagging something on, so there’s not much point in wearing anything fine). But I did avail myself of the opportunity to try one of their almost entirely out of stock shoes. A pair of Roxie Boots in Nutty Black, to be exact.
Designed and made in Spain from third–party certified sustainable leather (although it’s not clear to me what exactly this means), they are far and away the most elegant, highest fashion shoe I have ever even so much as tried on in my entire life.
The boots are long and tall and slim (and yet, unlike the case with most other knee–high boots, there is just enough room for my ample calves).
The leather is both robust and wonderfully supple. And—for those of you who don’t want to destroy your feet or back in the name of fashion— the boot itself is zero drop and, while the foot does run narrow (compared to the running shoes I normally run around in), the toe box is unexpectedly ample for a high fashion boot.
If you’re hankering for some beautiful, high fashion, well–made women’s clothes or shoes made at least somewhat reasonably responsibly, I’m happy to recommend the selection at Alohas, based on the Roxie boot. Comfortable, well–made, elegant, and beautiful, it’s well worth the price it’s selling for, with the added bonus that the company is producing only what they think they can sell.