Sarah Elise describes the concept behind “Slow-fashion”
Sarah Elise Scholte is a-21-year-old fashion designer from The Netherlands who relates to the most concious part of the fashion industry after seeing how its fast fashion tendency has affected her family company in the last two decades. She never considered fashion as a way of living until She thought She could do something about it and give it the twist it needed in order to be sustainable.
Welcome to TAME! Sarah, we are so pleased to have you with us today! Before anything, how are you coping with this whole situation and how is it affecting your creative projects?
Hi! Thank you for having me! I am coping relatively good actually, I am able to see my family once in a while and have all my loved ones near. I have a small office at home where I work on all my creative projects and have been very lucky everything I need is easily available. I have always been a stay-at-home kind of person and used to spend full weeks crafting inside my room, so I guess this period isn’t as hard for me as it is for others.
Sarah, you are super young and already have a very wise opinion about fashion. What twisted your mind into considering being part of the craziness that is fashion design?
The past two generations of my family worked in the fashion industry and even though I always thought I would not walk in their footsteps, I ended up becoming more and more passionate about fashion. During my study I explored industrial, graphic and product design, but there is this ability to create something with a certain appearance or attitude that can be made so personal with fashion design that really draws me.
We share the opinion that fashion isn’t just about making clothing. It is so much more. What is fashion for you? What has it taught you and how your life has changed since joining this industry?
For me, fashion is about confidence, expressing myself and my creativity, it really is an emotional output. I have learned a lot from the fashion industry from a distance, while growing up. However, entering the fashion industry myself was quite different. I believe it is not an easy industry to enter and it faces a lot of challenges as a whole.
We already know some of your main intentions as a fashion designer which is upcycling. However, We are looking forward to hearing from your own words. How would you describe yourself as a creative in the fashion industry? What is your brand philosophy?
As a creative in the fashion industry, I really try to show the potential there is in items that are perceived as trash, outdated or old. People tend to crave continuous renewal of their wardrobe with the misconception that this renewal must consist of newly produced substances. I do not have to tell you that partly for this reason, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on earth with a sky-high waist mountain. With my sneaker bag designs, I want to show that reusing old can sometimes be better and more innovative, perhaps not in its original but in a new form. With this I want to promote upcycling of fabrics and fashion items, instead of continuously producing new ones.
Your designs have had a big impact on social media. As part of the new generation of fashion designers, how are you feeling about the reception the slow-fashion concept had in your designs? Do you think this generation will consider slow -fashion over fast-fashion?
I believe the reception of my designs shows a promising future for the fashion industry, many people show that they are open to this kind of fashion and are ready for a change. I think showing the possibilities of upcycling could help the next generation to consider slow fashion. Besides, I think this generation will put more and more pressure on fast-fashion companies to change as most people are concerned about the current pollution and waste is causes.
The fashion industry has suffered irremediable changes during the last years and even more in the last months due to COVID-19. How did you think this industry worked before being part of it as a fashion designer? What are your thoughts about it now and the changes we are seeing in it lately, are they enough?
I have seen how the fashion industry worked when my family was running the family business and it changed drastically. The shift to the internet and the fast-fashion movement had the biggest impact on the family business, growing with this trend was not possible and they therefore decided to stop. However, I learned from this and tried to use it to my advantage, meaning sell online where you can reach an unimaginable high number of people and work on the problem fast-fashion brings along. I believe a lot of small designers are showing their perspective and people are slowly starting to change. Causing for example the H&M to come up with in-store recycle machines, of course the problem does not come anywhere near to being solved, but there are steps in the right direction.
Last but not least, we want to remark your wise position about this industry. We don’t need to be too old to know we needed big changes in the ways of production and use of materials. It is so inspiring to hear you talking about it. What would be your message to the young people out there that want to join the fashion industry?
Just start creating, get hands-on and try everything you can, from every experience you will learn and get closer to what you are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to invest and believe in yourself, dream big! Like Nike said, Just do it! (and do not give-up) 😉