We all know that fast fashion is causing harm to our planet and its people (and if you don't, you can read about it in our blog!) But as well as being environmentally and ethically problematic, fast fashion can often be…. Well, boring.
By its very nature, fast fashion enables enormous volumes of identical garments to be mass-produced, exported and sold at a rapid pace. Not only can this lead to those awkward "Oh-no-we're-wearing-exactly-the-same-outfit" moments, but it also means fast fashion garments may not be as well-constructed - and unique - as we'd like.
The solution? Handmade, handcrafted, bespoke and slow fashion. Give fast fashion the cold shoulder and step up your style game with carefully crafted elements that will make your look totally unique. Here are a few of our favourites:
Block print clothing
Block printing is an ancient art form that is labour-intensive and time-consuming, producing garments and tapestries that are stunning and special. What usually starts as a hand-drawn illustration or pattern will then be carved from a wooden block by a skilled artisan before the dye is applied to the block, ready to be hand stamped on the fabric. The block printed cotton is then dried in the sun before being stitched into beautiful clothes.
The carving and printing process is traditionally done by hand, resulting in block print fabrics which are genuinely unique. That means when you wear a beautiful block print dress or jacket, you're supporting an artist and skillset that has been passed down across the generations.
Want to know more about the process behind block printing? Read about it in our blog.
Crochet's popularity exploded in the summer of 2021, popping up in everything from crop tops and bolero jackets to bucket hats and earrings. However, its emergence into the fast fashion market was met with concern. Unlike some other knits, crochet can't be done by a machine. That means that every crocheted tank top, dress and bikini you see on the high street has been made by hand by someone, somewhere. Creating a finished garment takes time, energy and skill - so support your local crochet artist! Or why not pick up the hobby yourself?
Ever wondered why Moroccan rugs are so coveted? A high-quality Moroccan rug not only looks exquisite but is also one-of-a-kind thanks to its handcrafted nature. A traditional Moroccan rug can take months to produce, using ancient knotting techniques to transform pure wool into beautiful works of art.
Moroccan tribeswomen are responsible for many of the nation's distinctive rug styles, each handmade on a loom. Artisans create patterns and designs that are passed down from weaver to weaver, incorporating their own stories, languages and experiences into the rugs. Because of this, each Moroccan rug is unique.
While there are machines that can produce tassels, making these delightful decorations yourself is not only extremely easy but also means you can create the exact size, colour and style you want. Tassel making is an art form that is part of passementerie, defined as "the making of elaborate trimmings such as tassels braids…cord, fringing or edgings for clothing or furnishings".
Passementerie is an endangered craft, according to Heritage Crafts, but tassel making is one of the simplest parts of passementerie to learn - so why not give it a go yourself? Check out this guide to make them in various fabrics and styles.
If you're looking for something a little more ready-to-wear, take a look at our Reversible Delphinium Jacket. It's handcrafted from block printed cotton and features tassel ties - plus, it's reversible! Two jackets in one with beautiful tassels. What more could you want?
Also known as Wayuu Mochila bags, these are distinctive, stylish bags handmade by artisans from the La Guajira Peninsula in Colombia. The indigenous Wayuu people have lived in desert settlements for centuries, passing down traditions, including the art of crocheting. Wayuu weavers treat each bag as a canvas, using a manual loom to spin stories and create beautiful handbags that are beloved worldwide.
Weaving is a right of passage for the Wayuu people. Mochilas not only raise awareness of the Wayuu people but also provide valuable income for women who sell them to tourists, people outside their tribe and international customers.
The clue is in the title: Hand-knitting cannot be replicated by a machine! There's nothing quite like a cosy jumper, scarf, blanket or socks that have been created entirely by hand, whether that's by you, someone who loves you or a skilled artisan you're supporting. Flat and circular knitting can involve hundreds of different types of stitches, creating countless products. People worldwide knit as a hobby, a business, and even to relieve chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Best of all, it's relatively easy to pick up, and the only equipment you need is a pair of needles and a ball of will. Get knitting!
Looking for more ways to stay warm this winter? Check out our blog on sustainable style tips to keep you warm this winter.
The vyshyvanka is an integral part of Ukrainian culture. There's even an annual World Vyshyvanka Day every May to celebrate Ukrainian identity and folk traditions! The vyshyvanka is a traditional hand-embroidered shirt with ancient origins, and each region of Ukraine has its own patterns, colours and styles of vyshyvanka that typify the area. While you can find mass-produced vyshyvankas in stores, genuine traditional garments are handmade by skilled craftspeople, with crosses stitched directly onto the fabric.
Start your slow fashion journey with Hollyblocks
We believe sustainable fashion should be fun, stylish and make you feel fantastic. At Hollyblocks, our block print designs are drawn in Norfolk before being brought to life by skilled makers in Jaipur. It's a slow, handmade process, meaning every piece we produce is unique and made with love.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our collection here.