The Folly of Fast Fashion

It’s not me, it’s you. It’s definitely you.

The folly of fast fashion. 

We’ve had a good run. It was fun and exciting, but we’re not meant for one another. I’m looking for something longer lasting, while you’re looking for just a fling. Face it, we have different visions and we want very different things. I know that it’s hard to understand, but I’m looking for a more long term commitment. I’m sorry, but it’s not working out. We’re breaking up.

I wrote this letter to myself just a few weeks back. I’ve moved out just over a year ago, and like anybody starting out I’ve needed to find ways to cut costs. Cutting some costs were pretty simple (cable TV) and some things were a little more difficult (magazine subscriptions and imported wine). The hardest thing to give up by far was the freedom to make what felt like unlimited fashion choices. Suddenly, I had to choose between pieces that I loved equally, where as I previously lived at home, my income could go almost entirely to shopping. I decided that I’d switch from my regular boutiques with selected quality pieces to fast fashion. This way, my clothing budget that would normally afford me one piece could afford me nine. Brilliant? Absolutely not.


I truly felt that it was a genius idea. Sacrificing what I thought to be a small amount of quality turned out to be a much bigger issue. It went well beyond clothing not being as soft and zippers not gliding up as easy. My new issues? Hems falling down, ill fitted pieces, articles of clothing pilled and pinholes appeared in what seemed like impossible places. I’d need to replace dresses much more frequently, and I didn’t feel beautiful wearing a dress with pinholes and pilling.

Ruined Shoe-fastfashioj

When I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. Things took another turn one year later. Normally, I had my staple pieces from the year before that I could build from, but those pieces weren’t purchased quality enough the year before, so I had to start a wardrobe on a completely blank slate each season. Purchasing new fast fashion pieces wasn’t an option; I knew the same thing would just happen again next year.

Empty Closet

This is why I’ve broken up with fast fashion. It gets you caught in a cycle where you have to constantly replace. It’s not sustainable, it’s not inspiring or beautiful and it really watered down the fun of fashion. I need to begin building a quality wardrobe again, it’s going to take time and it’s going to be expensive. I’m done with fast fashion. We’ve broken up and I’m never looking back.

Article written by guest fashion blogger Bhreigh Gillis. You can follow her on twitter @Bhreigh.

Fast Fashion a Textile Waste

“Its better to have fewer things of quality than too much expendable junk” Rachel Zoe.

These words from fashion icon Rachel Zoe, resonate with fast fashion, the culprit of “expendable junk”. Given globalization and cheap labour, it has become a mainstay for big name retailers to inexpensively yet quickly produce mass inventory. Coupled with the epidemic of consumerism, the “fast fashion” movement has become synonymous with disposable fashion and textile waste.


Fast fashion is the drive-through fast food version of fashion. To be more precise, fast fashion is low-cost clothing collections based off of current, high-cost luxury fashion. Delivering its instant gratification, fast fashion has a quick turnaround to replenish stock with merchandise that is “floor ready” in only a few weeks. In its entirety, fast fashion thrives on and cultivates from a toss away culture based on disposability and endless consumerism. Due to poor quality and manufacturing, the benchmark for fast fashion companies is an expected 10 washes until an item no longer holds its original quality and subsequently falls apart. This trend seems to be giving consumers the access card to toss away, filling landfills with the old to make room for the new in our wardrobes.

Fast Fashion Textile Waste in Garbage

Fast Fashion of Textile Waste

This throw away mentality coupled with retail discounting and changing fashion trends may fuel the demand for fast fashion but in actuality it contributes to unsustainable practices and an extensive amount of waste. In Canada, it is estimated that 85% of recyclable clothes are being thrown out, and approximately 500 million pounds of textile waste exist in Canadian landfills. From air pollution created in factories, depletion of water resources, to the increase uses of harmful chemicals and oil, its no secret that this impact of ‘waste couture’ is harmful to the environment. In a society where ‘living green’ and ‘eco friendly’ is the new fad, how do consumers justify their commitment to poorly produced disposable fashion?

Fast Fashion Landfill Textile Waste

While fast fashion can mimic luxury products, it is a poor match for quality such as high ethical standards in sourcing, cost of labour, efficient use of material, and low impact manufacturing. However, to a degree in the fashion industry, we are seeing a consumer demand for more information concerning product sourcing and manufacturing. As such, it is increasingly evident that there is a greater interest for transparency between ethics of tactile practice and consumer markets. While we do see sustainable initiatives in fast fashion today, there still exists uncertainty as to whether fast fashion can genuinely shift from fashion as the latest look and discount, to the materiality of fashion.

Article written by Raylin Grace aka the Red Curl Owl with Luevo. You can follow Raylin at@raylingm

Going Green: Three Eco-fashion Designers To Know

Over the past year, “fast fashion” has joined the arsenal of buzz-phrases used by eco-fashion followers and style bloggers alike. With every season bringing forth new trends, the demand for throwaway fashion is quickly answered by large retailers— and often at a cost to the environment.

While many shoppers realize that a $10 shirt likely has ethical and environmental ramifications, knowing how to find eco-friendly clothing and accessories is not always clear. Add the fact that many brands have hopped on the bandwagon by using terms like “organic,” “sustainable” and “natural” for marketing purposes, and the quest becomes even more difficult.

There is no single definition for eco-fashion. Sustainability can range from using organic fabrics and creating garments from recycled materials to disposing of production waste responsibly. On the quest for eco apparel, investigating every aspect of production is essential. Many of the top sustainable fashion brands, including People Tree, Edun and Carrie Parry are also fiercely committed to ethical business practices.

Environmentally friendly fashion isn’t new. In fact, it first garnered popularity in the ‘80s and ‘90s with designers like Martin Margiela and Stella McCartney. What’s changed is that it’s no longer just considered a fad. With Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver inspiring other cities to follow suit, it’s safe to say green isn’t just the new black; it’s here to stay.

For those ready to venture into the world of environmentally friendly style, we’ve rounded up the three eco-fashion designers to know:

Elroy Apparel

Vancouver-based Leanne McElroy is leading the pack of eco-friendly designers in Canada. The company uses an ethical business model by supporting fair trade markets in Indonesia’s developing communities. Elroy’s line features chic and feminine pieces made from organic cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp, tencel, wild silk, in addition to other organic, sustainable and upcycled materials.

Stella McCartney

Earning the Designer of the Year accolade at the 2012 British Fashion Awards, Stella McCartney continues to prove that leather and fur aren’t always necessary on the runway. In addition to her commitment to being cruelty free and vegan, McCartney uses sustainable fabric technology to produce her high-end collections.


Loomstate may be mass-produced, but the New York City-based company uses environmentally friendly fabrics and practices. The brand was founded in 2004 by design duo Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn. Loomstate strives to eliminate manufacturing waste and uses 100 per cent organic cotton while also promoting a closed-loop product life cycle. Plus, the effortlessly chic garments from their 321 collection can be worn up to five different ways.

Stella McCartney Stella McCartney Stella McCartney


Images from Stella McCartney’s autumn 2013 campaign; Featured image: Elroy Apparel (Fall 2013 look book)

Article written by Julia Eskins.

Julia Eskins is a Toronto-based writer and features editor at FAJO Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter at @juliaeskins

Introducing Joscelyn Himes

Joscelyn Himes is an artisan that specializes in custom dyeing for both fashion and interior design. With the precision of traditional Japanese patterning, tying, hand painting and digital translations, dyeing can be beautifully done on silk charmeuse, silk dupioni, linen, cotton, wool and cashmere.

The designs on these fabrics have been incorporated into collections of prominent design houses, including Urban Zen by Donna Karen, Vera Wang, Donna Karen collection, Bill Blass and Colleen Quen. The designs have also been featured numerous times in the Kansas City Star, KC Magazine and Verge magazine.

Now, Joscelyn is getting ready to launch new collections that will soon be featured on Luevo. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of owning your first original Joscelyn Himes item, sign-up on Luevo today.

Joscelyn Himes Joscelyn Himes


Introducing Anabaptise, Independent Fashion Label

Expressive design and effortlessly chic, Anabaptise , an independent fashion label, entered onto the fashion stage in 2013 designing for the style-seeking individual looking to break free from conventional fashion. Luxurious silk and silk blends help create a chic feminine look for day that can easily transition to a beautiful evening look for night.

Anabaptise is making headway creating innovative and unique pieces that transcend both season and time. Often times, pieces are reversible and can be matched to create casual or dressy looks. The brand is not even a year old, but is receiving enough praise for the designer to build future plans for embracing feminine empowerment, sophistication and individuality through the designs.

ana baptise


Article written by Bhreigh Gillis 


Sitting Down with Lois Laine – Part2

This is part 2 of a two part interview with Toronto based independent fashion designer Lois Laine. Lois designs eco-friendly clothing with fabrics and labour sourced in Canada. If you haven’t already, check out part one of this interview here.

What do you hope your consumers see when they are attracted to your brand?
I want them to see that it’s unique, but not showy. It’s unique and subtle, just something that they want to grab on to every day.

Lois Laine Fashion Designer

What are some of your fashion goals?
You know I really know that I should have it more defined, but my main goal is to be able to keep doing what I do. I have envisioned a couple of different scenarios: I think generally people have to get bigger to sustain their job in this industry, for me that’s not the most important thing; if I need to get bigger I’m happy to do that. But if I can keep going like this where I have been up till now designing for the upcoming season, and I really enjoy doing that and I can take advantage of doing those limited yardages and I can be more on the season because its coming right up. But if I go into the wholesome market, which is generally how you get bigger then I need to be able to order a 100 meters of something and so I won’t be able to do some of these other nice little treaty things. So my plan is to do two fall/winters this year, so that I can get into the wholesome market and see how that goes. I’ve been in contact with Ana Caracaleanu from Luevo and I am very excited about their idea, the platform would allow me to keep going with the fabrics that I can just grab onto and do small scale or big. That is just very exciting to me. I’m still doing some artisan sales like: the Wearable Arts Show in October from the 24th-26th at 918 Bathurst St. Also, I’ve been invited into the Fresh Collective in the fall (August/September).


For more information on Lois Laine collections please go to the designer’s website:
Guest Blogger: Tiffany D’Souza,

Sitting Down with Lois Laine – Part 1

When it comes to local talent, Toronto does not fall shy of exciting and diverse artists, and Lois Laine, independent fashion designer is no exception. Possessing a precision for architectural elements coupled with feminine subtlety, she began her self-titled eco-friendly line in 2011. Her journey began after having earned a degree in interior designing and spending years studying pattern drafting. Thereafter, she concluded her education in Costume Studies and worked as a freelance designer. With a brief and inspirational trip to India in 2010, Lois’ calling was finally put to rest when she decided to set up shop. Today she is working passionately within her studio walls listening to spiritual music and drinking tea.

[two_third]Where do you draw your inspiration?

Nature and life for sure. You know there is that architectural element and there’s the subtlety. I really love the subtlety of nature and I aim to try to put the scale, like there’s the bigger scale of the sculpture and then there’s the small detail within it. I just love that and the hard with the soft and the shiny with the matte. The first collection is really very light and airy, that was like my first one, so it was like an upward spiral and it was spring and everything had to have this feeling of exalted. That’s how I wanted to feel when I finished it, that there was this sort of delicacy and wonder. There was a woman who had a drawing and I had remembered her stuff, and she did these whimsical drawings and I was like yeah, yeah this is it, this is the whimsy and the lightness and so I actually had her painting up on the wall for most of the collection. With other fashion, I love Annie Thompson, but I also really love minimalist designers as well. I guess I am in between. [/two_third]
[one_third_last]Lois Laine Independent Fashion designer Toronto[/one_third_last]

[two_third]What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion for me is being aligned with the energy of the time, it’s not my strongest strength. My strength is more in the abstract part of design. I try to blend the two; I research the trends, go to trend forecasting and be watchful. Then I’ll marry them with the more timeless sense of proportion and sculptural shapes. My collections are outside of the trends but they have current elements, which makes them wearable for longer. [/two_third]

[one_third_last]Lois laine Independent Fashion Designer[/one_third_last]

For more information on Lois Laine collections please go to the designer’s website:

Guest Blogger: Tiffany D’Souza,

Fashion Designers Apply Now to Fund Your Next Collection!

We are so excited to have seen a wonderful 2014/2015 season with so many amazing collections being funded on our platform!

Here is a short list of FAQs to prepare you for the application process:

Q1. I am fresh out of school can I still apply?

A1. Yes. Your acceptance depends on a combination of  factors: experience, education, skills, awards received, uniqueness of products. We are looking for talented individuals  that have the potential to grow when using our service.

Q2. I am a somewhat established independent fashion designer, what can I get from your service?

A2. As an established designer  you can use the Luevo platform to test the market desirability of  your new products. Better yet, you gain more followers, pre-sell your collections and further strengthen your brand!

Q3. Can I just post my design drawings?

A3. Unfortunately, no. Our customers want to see exactly the final product they will be buying. You will have to produce a sample and post high-resolution images that show the details of your product.

Q4. Is Luevo manufacturing my products once they are successfully funded?

A4. NO. You as a designer are in charge of your own production.

Q5. Do my products have to be handmade?

A5. NO. This is not a site for handmade products only. You can choose to make your own production or outsource. We encourage using local manufacturers and suppliers.

Q6.What happens with the returns?

A6. You are responsible for accepting returns and refund the customer.

Q7. Do I have to compromise on price because I am pre-selling my products?

A7.  You are responsible for determining the appropriate price for your products, based on your costs and required profit margins. If your minimums are high then it makes business sense to reduce pricing accordingly.

Q8. Does Luevo own the rights over my designs?

A8. NOPE. You own full rights over your designs, products and brand.

Q9. Do I have to be based in North America to post my products on Luevo?

A9. YES. Currently we can only launch US and Canada based designers.

Q10. Do I have to pay to have my products on Luevo?

A10. NO. It is free to post products and request pre-orders. We only make money if you do, after you successfully fund your products.

If you are a fashion designer ready to crowdfund your next collection, please use our online application HERE. And if you’d like to learn more, don’t forget to check out our free tips and sign-up for courses and webinars.


3 Tips for the Emerging Fashion Designer

Yet another week of fashion extravaganza stormed through our city, and many emerging fashion designers have had the opportunity to mingle, network or even launch their collections.

I am a big follower of everything that moves in the fashion industry: bloggers, stylists, designers, fashionistas and pretty much anyone that cares and is involved in the local fashion scene. I lived every moment of the fashion week by digesting Twitter feeds , Instagram pictures and Facebook posts.

And here is tip #1: If you are an aspiring or emerging fashion designer – you must stay connected to your local fashion influencers! Twitter is a good place to “stalk” them and stay up-to-date with latest news and events in the fashion industry. Find bloggers, stylists, fashion publications and organizations that will surely overload you with the latest fashion news.

Indeed, during fashion week it can be a little overwhelming with all the media hype around the big established designers and the runway shows. But learn to listen and filter to what is of real value to you

Tip #2: Attend smaller events where you can get valuable networking done.

Best part of fashion week is the high concentration of fashion influencers, but you will have to find the appropriate event to network with them. One of these opportunities was the speed-networking event organized by Fashion Group international and Fashion Takes Action. This event is typically sold-out, and you can meet with potential clients, HR recruiting firms specializing in fashion, bloggers, boutique owners and mentors. I recommend these types of events to anyone starting up in any kind of industry, and make sure you bring tons of business cards!

Tip #3: Enroll in industry specific organizations before the fashion week.

You are very lucky to be able to start a fashion business in a city like Toronto. Bigger metropolitan cities typically have fashion hubs that come with non-for-profit organizations, incubators, and an abundance of mentors. Being part of these will give you access to latest news, reduced ticket prices to fashion events and more networking opportunities.
Here is a short list of organizations that as an aspiring or emerging fashion designer in Toronto you should seriously consider:

Toronto Fashion Incubator – an innovative and highly respected non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing small business entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.

Fashion Group International – global non-profit organization of executives, designers and entrepreneurs in more than 30 chapters around the world. Toronto is their only Canadian chapter.

Fashion Takes Action – Canada’s premier non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry.

Challenges of an Aspiring Independent Fashion Designer

As an aspiring fashion designer, creating patterns and designs is fun, creative and for some – a relatively easy process. But, consistency of sales and strong demand forecasts is the most difficult aspect of starting up a fashion business. Here are some obstacles that you will have to overcome in order to achieve a sustainable business model.

You will need an initial capital investment to produce your first collections. You will either outsource your production or open your own studio and you will require funding. But, the fashion industry is high-risk, capital intensive and highly seasonal. This is one of the main reasons why banks don’t easily hand out loans or lines of credits to support independent fashion start-ups. You will have to rely on your personal savings and assets or borrow money from friends and family.
Fashion business funding

Then, you need to decide on the production method that works best for you. If you are outsourcing, consider the shipping costs, lead times and the minimum requirements for each order. Unless you have paid in advance pre-orders that can secure a large production batch, it is best if you start with smaller quantities to avoid holding a large inventory. Also, the location of your manufacturing facility is important; closer to home means quality control trips are easier and more affordable.

Fashion design is fun and creative.

Forecasting your demand is a daunting task. Big retail chains and established fashion businesses can easily forecast their demand by using historical data and predictive algorithms. However, when you are just starting up in the industry, you don’t have the historical data you need to build such forecasts, nor do you have a known brand that will guarantee you the traction of sales. So, the biggest question remains: how do you know exactly which products are going to sell and in what variations (sizes, colors)?

woman shopping for fashion

There are several steps you can take at any stage of your business to better understand your demand. First, determine who your customers are and get to know them by asking questions. Go beyond your close friends and family, as you are most likely to get positive reinforcement anyway. Start with your professors, peers and go to local meet-up groups – you will receive criticism and unbiased opinions. Then, generate a conversation on forums and on your Twitter and Facebook pages. Grow a customer following that will provide you with real-time feedback.

independent fashion designer

In a way, you are “Crowd-sourcing” your designs, by learning what your ideal customer is most likely to buy. Always network with your peers, search for support from your local fashion incubator and don’t sign away rights over your designs. The fashion industry is not very regulated when it comes to design protection; you want to ensure that when selling on a third party’s website, you retain rights over your designs.

Our mission at Luevo is to change how aspiring independent fashion designers do business. We want to help independent fashion designers streamline their production processes, minimize financial risks and increase the success rate of fashion start-ups. Click here to learn how we plan on achieving this!