Americans consume nearly 20 billion items of clothing annually, most of which are thrown away, ending up in incinerators or landfills before their first birthday. To put that into perspective, one kilogram of clothing is responsible for 11 kilograms of greenhouse gases. By buying clothes that feel perfect for you, you’re not only truly reflecting your personal style, but supporting the slow fashion movement.
We, as consumers, can stop the vicious cycle of disposable fashion through shopping consciously. Choosing second-hand is a perfect way to combat climate change, but contributing to sustainable businesses, like Bespoke Southerly, can also make a difference.
Bespoke Southerly pieces are made to last – CEO Sheri Turnbow encourages customers to see them as investments, not throw-away fast fashion. ‘Here at Bespoke Southerly, our mission is to make beautiful, timeless, elegant cocktail dresses, just for you,’ Turnbow says. Each Bespoke Southerly dress is fully customisable, from colour to trim. The result, according to Turnbow, is a dress that feels special whenever you wear it.
‘The Bespoke Southerly capsule collection has five silhouettes and a common theme: classic glamour. The dresses include two full-skirted options as well as a classic sheath, an A-line and a pleated skirt style. The dresses also have a variety of bodices including a scoop neck, a V-neck, a square-neck, and two strapless styles, which have either a tie-able ribbon strap or cap sleeve option,’ Turnbow explains. Capsule wardrobes have taken over the world of fashion, promoting minimalistic collection of items that don’t go out of style, at the same time preventing disposable fashion trends.
‘Our skilled artisans create the dresses using techniques not easily found in today’s world of fast fashion,’ Turnbow says. Made-to-order means Bespoke Southerly’s manufacturing partners cut one garment at a time, minimising waste. ‘We’ve also teamed up with a fabric reseller for fabric pieces we can’t use in the future to avoid sending them to the landfill’, she adds.
The choice of textile itself can impact the sustainability of a garment, too. While the debate surrounding ethical harvest and production of silk remains heated, it’s a highly renewable resource with a considerably smaller impact on the environment than many other popular materials. Bespoke Southerly dresses are made from silk and silk blend velvet, not derived from petrochemicals and with minimal water consumption. Turnbow says that it’s important to her that her brand is socially conscious and sustainable.
On top of that, all Bespoke Southerly apparel is made locally in the USA, combating the environmental impacts of unnecessary international shipping, as well as ensuring labour is ethical and fair, seeing as half the workers in the fashion industry are paid well below minimum wage.
‘Bespoke Southerly is for the woman who follows her own heart when it comes to dressing, not just the trends. She invests in beautifully-made, quality pieces that will last season after season,’ Turnbow says. She personally checks the quality of every single dress before it’s shipped, in contrast to mass production lines of clothes that pay no attention to individual customer satisfaction.
Slow fashion brands like Bespoke Southerly remind the industry of its beginnings – crowded warehouses for the sake of commercial gain are going out of style, replaced by the love for self-expression, appreciation of art, and consideration of our planet.