When it comes down to it, slow fashion is a revolutionary way of thinking. It involves consumers completely re-evaluating their entire mindset about clothing.
Many of us have experienced the “thrill” of finding a bargain – a shirt for $5, a pair of pants on sale for $10. But we rarely take into consideration why the garment would be that cheap. Paying employees a fair living wage costs money. Maintaining a safe work environment that is up to code costs money. Using materials that are sourced by sustainable means costs money. All of these factors have an impact on the cost of the garment itself. So when you find a bargain for $3, you’re not getting the full story, and you’re unaware of the corners being cut for the deal.
Most criticisms of slow and fair fashion insist that being choosy about where you get your clothes is a luxury and a privilege that not everyone can afford. And while this is completely true, imagine if the consumers who have the option of being more selective about their clothing committed their business to companies abiding by ethical and sustainable practices. To compete, other companies would have to adapt to these new standards. And in an ideal world, it would become the new norm.
My experience at Sene
I recently learned about a company that encompasses all of the qualities of slow fashion. Sene is a sustainable brand that offers custom-made garments designed in Los Angeles. Depending on the garment, items are sustainably manufactured in either China or the United States.
Business partners Ray Li and Mark Zheng started Sene to empower individuals of all sizes. Fit shouldn’t be a matter of luck – and when Ray became frustrated with the fit inconsistency of most fashion brands – Sene became the answer. Their custom collection is composed of ten different styles, ranging everywhere from tees to bespoke suits. They’re all made from scratch, and customers can choose from a wide variety of fabrics in the store. Sene has an in-house tailor for all alterations, and offers a fit guarantee on every item. That means they will tweak it until it’s perfect for you. Even if the item needs to be completely remade from scratch, they will do it to ensure you are happy with the final product.
I had the privilege of experiencing Sene’s customization process this fall when I went in to be fitted for their custom shirt dress – a sleek, classic button-down dress. I tried on the sample garment from the custom collection. It wasn’t a matter of just taking my measurements and calling it a day – the garment itself was measured according to my preferences. Sene’s associates took notes on the fit, and had me walk around the store to feel the variety of fabric options of which my dress could be made. I fell in love with a white, Japanese Lightfiber that felt very light to the touch. I was informed that the white shirt dress would take a few weeks to make, and went on my way.
After a few weeks, I was back in the store for my second fitting. I tried on the white dress, and was asked for my feedback on the fit. I was looking for a shorter length than the original sample shirt-dress, which hit below the knee. The new dress was measured so that it would hit me mid-thigh. And a week later, I was informed that it was ready for pick-up!
I tried it on one last time, and it was exactly what I imagined. As this was my first time having a custom-made garment, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that custom items take time, and are often more expensive than clothes that are mass-produced. However, Sene is unique in the fact that they price below most custom brands, and offer a far quicker turn-around time (almost ¼ of the time of most customized apparel). I didn’t feel that the garment took long at all, and the fact that I had to wait for it just increased my excitement for the final product. The option to customize all the way down to the fabric provided me with a garment that felt specific to my personal style.
So, all in all, Sene is an awesome brand that encompasses all the tenets of slow fashion. High quality material, sustainable practices, and a timeless piece that will have a place in my closet for years to come.
This post was done in partnership with Sene. While this piece was gifted, all opinions and enthusiasm are my own.