For consumers tired of blink-and-you-’ll-miss-it trends, mass-produced garments and mindless consumerism, the slow movement in fashion is a much-welcomed respite.
If you’ve never heard of it, the expression ‘slow fashion’ was coined by design activist Kate Fletcher back in 2007, advocating for a slower pace in the fashion industry.
In essence, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. The movement features a keen awareness of the processes and resources required to make clothes. It advocates for buying less, with a focus on high-quality products and ethical treatment of people, animals and the environment.
Slow fashion also spotlights local artisans and their use of sustainable production techniques – hand-dyeing being one of them.
“Hand dyeing is one of the many expressions of slow fashion – making things by hand and using plant dyes or hand-dyeing techniques to create textiles that are unique, personal, and a reflection of the process,” says hand-dye practitioner Su Pei Ho.
Fellow practitioner Felix Nai adds that hand-dyeing is deeply tied with the slow movement concept because of the time and effort required.
“Being in Singapore − a young country with scarce resources − challenges us to use what is available,” he says. “Many hand dyers are emerging with great stories, many of which encompass using locally-sourced materials.”
Ahead, we spotlight three practitioners of this craft in Singapore who are bringing their own individual twist to the hand dyeing movement.