A protest against Fast lived and disposable trends
Slow movement protests against the fast paced Fast Food, Fast Fashion culture which is more and more integrated worldwide. Over the years more and more news from the Far East in regards to sweatshops and unethically managed factories shows up.
- Second Cambodian factory collapse injures 23 workers who produce clothes for H&M
- 2013 Benetton On Bangladesh Tragedy: No One In The Industry Should Feel Above It a Wikipedia view on the Panar factory collapse with 1129 deaths
- 2012 DISASTERS MADE IN BANGLADESH: WHY POOR PEOPLE ARE STILL DYING FOR OUR CHEAP T-SHIRTS
The list truly is never ending, a quick google search makes me motivated to keep defending my values and beliefs: Quality over Quantity And always a quick check if the price is justified against the steps needed in the supply chain to manufacture the product at hand.
Fast Fashion is a relation between demand and supply between consumers and high street retailers. Consumers want the latest fashion as quick as possible and preferably as cheap as possible. This leaves brands and retailers no option to either close their books, or demand the same low prices from all suppliers in the material and manufacturing chain:
- cheaper chemical dyes are often more damageable and harmful to workers’ and consumers health.
- cheaper fabrics are without a doubt not from organic material, and if they are organic and still cheap, then the labour to grow the cotton has not been payed for according to fair trade.
- cheaper labour, means less money to have safe buildings, less money for acceptable accommodation for the factory workers: In Asia, many factories include dormitory facilities for workers as they have to work to many hours to be able to travel up and down to their families and don’t make enough to pay rent in the factory cities)
So we conclude the Slow Movement reacts to the Fast paced trend cultures, where product harming the planet and people are produced for a short-lived usage and to be fairly soon become un-recyclable garbage.
Our take on Slow as an Acronym
For me SLOW toys can also be interpreted as following:
S = Sustainable
L = Low impact or Local
O = Organic
W = Worth it, Well-made = Value for money
A sustainable business or supply chain is generally based around 3 P’s
- Planet: don’t use chemicals that harm the environment we live in. Don’t exploit sources unnecessarily.
- People: be kind to the people, threat them as human beings, not working machines. This applies to both factory workers but also accountants, Also have your consumers in mind. Offer honest products that are free of harmful substances.
- Profit: let everyone building and contributing to the product benefit. Apply Fair Trade principles where everyone in the supply chain is rewarded correctly as per it’s country labour cost laws.
Low impact and Local
Low impact means the no negative impact as per explained under sustainability. Low impact also means using second hand items, or handing really well made durable products down for generations to come.
Local means supporting local companies, local business and helping to build the community. Locally produced or sourced also results in lower CO2 emission and reducing our carbon footprint.
A product is organic when no chemical fertilisers are used on growing eg. the cotton crop or food. But more importantly and often misinterpreted and mis marketed in the fashion industry: no harmful substances or chemicals may be used for dying an organic fibre in order to call the final product organic to.
Due to the price of cotton it is extremely hard to offer an organic soft toy, for the price of all their polyester counterparts that are widely excepted (and never questioned !?) in the toy industry. In our organic range we stock Lilliputiens Ecodoux.
For wooden products eg for toys I have never come across organically grown wood, but I trust the FSC label for our suppliers (Haba & Brio) working with European Sustainably forested Beech Wood. Our suppliers Plan Toys and Wonderworld work with rubber wood from rubber trees not producing latex anymore.
Bamboo and organic Bamboo is an entire other story which deserves a blogpost on it’s own !
Worth It = Value for money
Will the consumer benefit from the product? Was it worthwhile producing and does it add value to someones life?
- Worth producing and selling?
- Is it educational?
- Encourages traditional play Boosts creative thinking
- Inspires the developments of one’s own imagination
- Durability, can the toy be passed down after use for siblings or the next generation?
Needless to say that all the topics above have been a driving and decision making factor for all the toys we stock
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