I feel like I’m finally starting to get a handle on slow living. As much as it’s a buzz word, I really do believe in the importance of living in a healthy and manageable way, yet I’ve also often found it difficult to maintain a slower sustainable routine in my own life. I moved to London as an 18 year old student and, since the city means higher costs, I got used to having multiple jobs, internships, and side hustles on the go. For several months I was ‘three jobs Fran’ and even now, when I’m more settled career wise, I’ve still settled into having two careers at the same time.
I know that I’m a naturally productive person, and I know that I specifically made the choice to pursue both performing and this wee blog because I’m genuinely passionate about both, and so I’ve found way to fit both in. So while I don’t plan to give either up, I have been making a real effort to not just talk about slow living, but to practice what I preach. To have a sustained routine that also makes time for exercise, self care, nature, family, friends… the list goes on, instead of working all hours of the day. As I’m finally starting to make some progress, it’s lovely to meet a brand like Liz Alig, who encompass the importance of slowing down.
Liz Alig believe clothing should be effortless, creating clothes you can throw on and feel great in all day, combining comfort, unique designs, functionality and easy layering. They believe in transparency in clothing production and in using sustainable, high-quality fibres, in the importance of recycling and in supporting fair trade workshops and co-ops that feed back into their communities.
But most importantly, Liz Alig believe in slow fashion. They believe in taking clothing back to its roots, with outfits that may take months to make because the cotton was grown organically and hand woven into fabric before being dyed, printed and sewn by hand. With the extra time, they have the opportunity to give more people more meaningful jobs.
Liz Alig was started before sustainable and ethical clothing became well known, so the way that they choose their partners and their raw materials has been ingrained into the brand over several years. The goal is a clear one: to create effortless style that you want to wear that is produced ethically at every stage, whilst also providing female artisans in developing countries with employment and empowerment. A large portion of Liz Alig’s line is made from recycled materials, alongside organic cotton and handwoven fabrics. They partner with over ten fair trade cooperatives, workshops, and NGO’s that not only create beautiful ethical clothing, but also use their funds to offer free skills training to women and free nursery for young children, as well as fair pay, paid holidays and employee benefits.
The story of Liz Alig started after founder Elizabeth lived and worked in Kenya, India and Hoduras. She became increasingly conscious of the people behind our clothes, and she decided something needed to change. She realised that the production of clothing with small fair trade cooperatives could give women in developing countries an education and a source of income, in turn providing their families with better education. The production of clothing could become a key part in empowering communities. One summer Liz Alig began, at first just a collection of a few dresses, as an experiment to see if it was possible to make clothing completely from recycled materials (this was before the days of widely available ethically produced fabrics). The dresses soon sold, and with people wanting more Liz Alig partnered with their first group in Honduras to produce 100 more, and so the brand has continued and grown ever since.
Liz Alig sent me their Miriam Dress, which is handmade in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The print starts with a small block that is carved from a Liz Alig sketch, which is then hand stamped onto cotton handwoven fabric, part of an age old Indian technique for printing called hand blocking. The group that Liz Alig partners with also works to educate women in this community; the program has a small cafe and sewing program and Anna, the group leader, has been working with women for over 25 years and is a pioneer of ethical fabric production.
Every area of Liz Alig is about slowing down. Fast fashion creates clothes as quickly as possible that also fall apart rapidly, fuelling the ‘need’ to consume more. Liz Alig’s clothes are designed to last, and are carefully constructed over time and with love. Fast fashion produces huge amounts of unsustainable clothing, with a constant push for efficiency and profit. Liz Alig thoughtfully create unique pieces that will last for years as staple items in the wardrobe, and when they eventually reach the end of their life their natural fibres will eventually biodegrade back into the earth. Fast fashion is all about the side hustle, telling you to add another little item to your wardrobe, and another, and another. Liz Alig invites you to take a deep breath, slow down, and choose something that will last a lifetime. (And as Paula so well described in her sustainable fashion secrets, NO ONE actually cares if you wear the same dress multiple times)/
The Miriam dress is a perfect example of Liz Alig’s versatility. It can be dressed down for the everyday, or up for an occasion (I’ve already worn it to a summer wedding). Its design is timeless, its creation is conscious, and its ethos is counter cultural in a way that we can all embrace. I’m trying my best to live my life outside of the fast lane these days, it’s nice to find brands that are doing the same and, even better, making it work so well.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.
Photos by Gianna Scavo