harly jae // canadian slow fashion house
Why we feel good calling ourselves “A Canadian slow fashion house” :
WHAT IS SLOW FASHION?
Slow fashion is a term that was coined in response to fast fashion, a business model used by large retailers where they quickly and cheaply produce styles and trends seen on the runways in mass amounts. They are then sold in their many stores at incredibly low prices. This results in consumers buying excess amounts of cheap and low-quality clothing which may be worn just once or twice before it is discarded.
Slow fashion resides at the opposite end of this spectrum, promoting well-crafted garments that are designed for longevity. All the while, the impact on the environment is minimized and the well-being of the makers is prioritized.
HARLY JAE & SLOW FASHION
We apply the slow fashion framework to the following elements of our business: design, textiles, production, packaging, overstock, waste, and growth. Please read below for all the juicy details :)
It all begins with the design of each style. Our design philosophy came to be thanks to our founder’s many closet clean-outs. As Laïla became more aware of her fashion consumption, she stripped the unwanted layers of her closet. After a few years of doing so, she looked at what items were still present and they all had a few features in common: earth tones, good tailoring, feminine elements, classic & flattering silhouettes. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the items were vintage.
This became the essence of the harly jae design philosophy.
To create seasonless pieces that we stock over & over again, we incorporate fresh yet timeless elements into each of our garments. We look at vintage photographs, go thrifting for inspiration, and use the above design guidelines to avoid creating anything too trendy (which could then go out of style!).
The fabrics we use consider our planet first and foremost. Therefore, our collections focus on neutral shades of linen, hemp, and organic cotton, often undyed to further minimize our impact. Where possible, we use deadstock fabrics and buttons to lessen our consumption of new materials.
We are committed to only using all-natural fibers in a color palette that allows for endless mixing & matching options. We love bringing you interesting fabric textures as we believe it’s what makes our pieces standout.
Yes, this means that our garments can wrinkle, shrink, pill, and stain more easily than their non-eco counterparts. We believe it’s a lesson in taking care of what we love and to embrace imperfections (both in ourselves and the clothing we wear).
Our clothing is made in small batches of 40 to 200 units based on the popularity of the item. We love selling out of our items and re-producing them later. This shows that we stand true to our timeless designs, and it allows our customers to think and plan their purchases through.
Each harly jae garment is made locally in Vancouver, BC. Both small scale factories we work with are within a 5 minutes drive from our studio. This allows for great quality control, and cuts down on pollution that would be a result of transportation. During our regular visits to the production facilities we get to interact with the seamstresses who are paid a living wage.
When a production run is ready, we drive over and pack all the clothing in our car, in true small business style ;)
Less really is more for us here. We love cute packaging but don’t believe in it. Our clothing is not individually wrapped in plastic like many other fashion brands, this is thanks to our proximity to our factories.
Our hangtags (which we only use for pricing purposes at our studio because we know they are the first thing to be tossed in the garbage when you receive your online order!) are made of recycled t-shirts.
Our brand & garment care labels are made of cotton as opposed to the industry standard polyester labels.
Our online orders always ship in eco-friendly packaging. We use a variety of mailers: 100% recycled Kraft mailers, home-compostable mailers, recycled wool, etc.
We are extremely proud to say that we have been an “overstock free brand” since our inception in 2017! A few things are responsible for this:
We rely heavily on pre-orders to gage the demand for specific styles, colours, and sizes of a given style.
We host quarterly sample & imperfect sales to find a home for pieces with minor imperfections.
As stated above, we always only produce in small batches.
Our biggest effort to minimize our fabric waste is our Zero-waste Collection. This initiative challenges us to think of ways in which we can create new products with pieces of fabric that would typically go to the landfill.
The fabric scraps that are too small to be used in our Zero-waste collection are collected by Fabcycle who recycles them. We also only order what we need on a production run to production run basis which means we are never ‘sitting’ on tons of unused fabric & notions.
Our sister baby brand Cabane also uses some of our leftover fabrics in their collections.
We like to say that we ‘run this brand intentionally slowly’. We have organically grown over the last four years from being a passion project for our founder Laïla to a small but mighty team of three. We try to handle all the things as efficiently as we can but sometimes it means we don’t get to your emails as quickly as a big corporation would but we promise we’re much more friendly (and not robots!)
Thank you for reading this far -
we feel incredibly lucky to be supported by a community of change-makers like you,
UPCOMING ECO PLAN TO CHECK BACK ON: