Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion - Why we're neither

Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion - Why we're neither

Here at Lucy & Yak, I’m sure you’ve noticed, we don't like labels (apart from the famous little black & white one on your Yaks' pockets of course). Labels confine us, they put us in boxes that we struggle to break free from, they hold us back, they push us into places that we don’t belong. We believe flexibility is what is needed to solve the problems of the fashion industry. Flexibility allows us to grow and change, to learn, to make mistakes, to be imperfect, because the world is nuanced, we have to be open to change and growth, to listen to each other, and most importantly.... to be kind to each other. 

Which is why we don’t label ourselves a ‘Slow Fashion’ brand, we have a lot of the “characteristics” of one, but we aren’t perfect enough to be the definition of ‘slow fashion’ and we don’t want to be, for many reasons. 

We also don’t label ourselves a ‘Fast Fashion’ brand either, I’m sure this one is less surprising, but we just wanted to clear that up. 

Here’s why…… 

Fast fashion to us means low quality products, made and sold cheaply, following the latest trends, with zero regard for the workers who made the garments, and no consideration for the planet.

This is not our business model. We are NOT a fast fashion brand. 

Our clothing takes 8-12 months from design to going up for sale. Fast fashion brands often turn things from celebrity or catwalk trends into a ready for sale item in 2 weeks (this is fast). Encouraging people to only wear it once.

Our clothing is “affordable” for the quality, the sustainable fabrics & fair wages paid, but it is not cheap or disposable. 

Our products are made to last and to be loved for many years, they hold their value, meaning people will sell them on instead of throwing them away. We run a buy, sell, trade Facebook group to facilitate this. 

Now this is the part where it gets interesting….

We are NOT a slow fashion brand either. Slow fashion is often inaccessible for a few reasons; price, minimalist style & less choice.

Fast Fashion and Slow Fashion by definition are ideas at either end of a spectrum, most brands will sit somewhere in the middle, as we do. We will always be close to slow fashion, but we are not a perfectly slow fashion brand, nor do we intend to be.  

As a brand we want to inspire people to make more sustainable and ethical choices, and to do this we believe we need to have fun, exciting products, with lots of colour and prints choices, on shapes that are timeless, comfy, versatile and practical. We want to offer something for everyone, so that everyone can access better products. We can’t be perfectly slow fashion and be all of the above, and we accept that, because the most important thing to us is that more people believe it’s possible to make better choices and still express who they are through their clothing. 

All of us hold many values at the same time, and they can be difficult to balance due to contradictions, this is the nature of the world we live in. Therefore, to do this, we accept that we will never be perfect, but we will always make the best choices to protect our people, our planet and to make our products accessible to as many people as possible. 

This is our place in the movement towards a more sustainable fashion industry and we make no apology for that. 

Our main goal in the near future is to become a truly circular brand, that takes responsibility for our garments from start to finish. We will do this through our commitment to the following:

  • Responsibly New Yaks: This means always; Organic, Recycled or Closed-loop, Fair wages, Long Lasting, Versatile & Sustainable Packaging.
  • Recirculating used / imperfect Yaks: Re-loved, Repaired, Recycled. We currently do this through: Depop imperfects, Facebook group: buy, sell, trade & Re:Yak Network. This is just the beginning of our circular journey, next up: a very exciting collaboration to keep Yaks in circulation for longer. 
  • Responsibly Reinvesting: in our Planet & our People: Identifying & Supporting grassroots causes that improve things for people & the planet, and where we feel we can genuinely have a long lasting impact overtime.

Updated 26/04/2022: Addition

Working towards being fully circular and taking responsibility for our garments also means being conscious and transparent about how we release products. 

Some fast fashion labels will drop thousands of new items over the course of a year, but we also recognise that we aren’t  ‘slow fashion’ either, so there always will be other brands who will have smaller and/ or less frequent releases than us. We sit somewhere in between the two:

  • Unlike other bigger brands who release seasonal collections, we break up our collections into weekly drops to take the pressure off our warehouse & team.

Ideally we’d be able to launch all our collections together, as it’s less impactful compared to launching items separately – but we outgrew our current warehouse over a year ago and don’t have the space to house everything.

At the time of writing, we’re planning on moving to a new, bigger warehouse which will mean our future drops will be less frequent. 

  • To limit waste, we often use any leftover fabrics to make hats, bags and aprons, with new items like hair accessories coming which will further cut down on waste.This may increase the number of products in our drops.
  • From Brexit restrictions to delays caused by COVID, there are often factors outside of our control which means we have to drop more than expected in one week. This is something we’re continuously working on to ensure our drops are evenly spread through the year.

We know we aren’t perfect, and we’re working on ways to improve how we operate when it comes to how we release our Yaks, but whatever we create, we take responsibility for – from using more recycled fabrics through to growing our Re:Yak network with our biggest initiative yet with Beyond Retro.

Our goal is to strike that balance between being conscious of our impact on the planet, while creating eye-catching, comfortable items that feel accessible for our existing customers and inspire more people to join a community that offers a more conscious alternative. 

If you’d like to read more about our supply chain, fabrics or Re:Yak network, you can head to our Positive Change hub here


We love to hear from you and welcome all feedback from our community at positivechange@lucyandyak.com

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Kindest wishes, 

From our founders,

Lucy & Chris