One of the hardest things about giving up fast fashion is giving up shopping. Most eco and ethical brands live online, so old habits of wandering into stores and perusing the racks must, for the most part, be a thing of the past when one surrenders to slow fashion. No more mall action, no more high street visits. You're either in an itty bitty boutique or you're online, which is wonderful, but the experience isn't the same.
I miss running my fingers through textiles, interacting with shop-keepers and being aided by their consultation. I miss feeling the fabric on my body and contemplating my consumption as I attempt to reason with myself about whether the object in question is, or isn't, the thing I've been missing all along. I miss losing an hour of my life in a mesmerised meditative shopping state - sounds inverted, I know - but I've always found it is easy to stay present when my senses are simultaneously stimulated.
It is immensely important to support sustainable, ethical brands. Without them, the ferocious fast fashion industry will reign on. It's a case of good over evil. The rise in sustainable brand's profits and popularity are the only things which will entice the fast fashion industry to slow down. By wearing H&M or Forever 21 or any of the other conventional brands - even if the corruptness of their creations is watered down by being purchased second-hand - we're still 'promoting' the brand in some ways by associating their clothing with ourselves.
The slow fashion movement is about balancing your own curated collection of beautiful vintage, combining it with some serendipitous second-hand snap ups, and adding in a few investment pieces from sustainable, ethical brands which will last you a longtime, if not a life time.
The idea is to buy less and buy smarter, to find pieces that give you that Coup De Foudre (Love at first sight) in a way that's not lead by magazines or celebrity culture. Pieces that directly speak to you because of who you are (and what you believe).
This is where Paris' Centre Commercial comes in. It is one of the few places where you get the best of both worlds with it's carefully curated collection of conscious apparel, delightuflly designed and magnificently merchandsed. The people who work there are kind and genuine (with excellent taste in music), taking the time to not only make eye contact, but also crack a joke or two. Their spectacular selection of accessories and lifestyle pieces are collected from brands who support small-scale artisan industry, while producing ecologically and ethically.
It's drenched in diverse designs for both genders with stand out selections from brilliant brands around the world. There's Veja's conscious collection of sustainable sneakers, Lost Property of London's vegtable tanned leather bags, and French desiger Anne Thomas' classic English shoes with a Parisian flair. They also carry Margaux Lönnberg's knitwear, Valentine Gauthier's embroidery, Suzie Winkle's capsule-esque collection, Baserange's eco undergardments, and Stetson's timeless hats ... and that's just a small selection from the ladies sid of things (there's a men's section, lifestyle section and separate kid's store as well).
The shop brings back to the concientious consumer the aethetic experience of appriciating artistry and design. With the insperational quotes on the wall and intelligent cultural magazines / coffee table books sprinkled around the store, you're left with a sense of hope for humanity, and perhaps a bit of desire for some object you'll now be saving for. It's authentic and it's honest - and most importantly, it's conscious. Allowing you, for a few precious moments, to feel 'normal' in an upside down world.
2 Rue de Marseille, 75010 Paris
PHOTOS: Holly Rose