Q&A: Fashion designer Orsola de Castro on the question of slow

Fast fashion is an ugly trend. As the relentless treadmill of new design collections runs ever quicker and cheaper, producers and the planet suffer. So designer Orsola de Castro founded Fashion Revolution, a global campaign calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the supply chain. I asked her to share her thoughts on slow fashion.


How does the idea of slow fit into your work?

It’s really not just about slow for me because, as always, these words used alone are simply not enough to explain bigger concepts. There would be nothing wrong with fast, provided it was limited in quantity, made ethically, locally and with sustainable materials.

So slow on its own is not enough. It’s the full concept of slowing down—demanding accountability, scrutinising and shifting from this culture into a more mindful one—that I consider in my work.


orsola de castroWhat slow fashion brands or designers do you love?

All the young designers I have had the pleasure and honour to mentor over the years: Katie Jones, Bethany Williams, Angus Tsui, Kevin Germanier and Matthew Needham spring to mind right now.

I also wear Christopher Raeburn (relentlessly), Renli Su, plenty of second-hand, inherited and self made clothes (I had an upcycling brand from 1997 to 2014, From Somewhere, which has definitely stood the test of time), and vintage.


What part of the fashion industry do you most wish would hurry up and slow down?

All of it.


What do you like to do when you personally need to slow down?

Read, draw and visit museums.


Would you say you’re a patient or impatient person?

Oh I have an infinitely patient heart, but an impatiently overactive mind. Patience is by far and wide my biggest conquest, and I am still as in love with it as when I first allowed it into my life.