Our society can be defined by our demand for all things fast. There is no greater representation of this than in our consumer culture. The turnaround between new product launches is getting faster and faster, which only serves to feed our hunger for the ‘new’. But what are the consequences of this mentality, both for our wellbeing and for our planet?
The world is becoming saturated with consumer goods at incremental speed. This means we quickly lose interest in what we already have; everything we own loses its value when we’re presented with something new. This is where the concept of slow living comes in.
The joys of taking it slow
The idea of slow living is to step back and take a hard look at what we’re taught to value in life: making money, advancing our career, owning the latest products. Money, power, and success all feel like natural goals. Are these pursuits actually enriching our day-to-day lives?
What slow-living teaches us is that these are learned compulsions, which soon become addictions. People suffering from addiction are forever chasing that new ‘high’. What previously satisfied them soon offers no stimulation whatsoever. It is exactly this kind of behaviour slow living can counter.
So how exactly can we define slow living? Slow living isn’t necessarily a ‘movement’ as much as a lifestyle or a state of mind. However, it can be described in several ways:
- Appreciating what we already have. This goes beyond what we own and includes being content with our lives.
- Finding balance in our lives. For instance, a balance between work and the pursuit of ‘success’, and things that we feel give our lives true meaning.
- Creating conscious communities. This means that we are connected not only with the world around us, but that we are creating a sustainable world for future generations. Slow living brings us outside of ourselves and helps us support others.
Ridding ourselves of the rat race
Many people’s lives are defined by the ‘rat race’. Society makes us think that we must push our minds and bodies to the limit to achieve anything worth having. We are taught not only to accelerate through our lives but to do so in direct competition with our peers.
People who adopt slow living have taken a step back and decided that this is not what gives their lives meaning. They choose to uplift others and to consider the quality of our life, rather than how fast we ‘progress’ through it. When they achieve something, they savour the moment, rather than moving on to the next goal, focusing on what makes them happy in the long term.
Taking back our purchasing power
In the logic of de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo, if an object doesn’t ‘spark joy’ it is only taking up needless space in a person’s life.
Slow living teaches us that ‘less is more’. We get more value from a small number of ‘meaningful’ possessions. This means we aren't buying more and more things just for the sake of it. This is why slow living is often confused with frugality.
Slow living teaches us to make free choices, rather than ones based on trends or advertising. What we learn is that there is value in choosing to buy nothing, if we do not feel as though we need it in our lives. If we choose to buy something, it is because it’s something that will have long-lasting value.
Living slow with Archie Foal
Slow living teaches people to be conscious of how our buying habits affect the world around us. The world's resources are dwindling, in order to fulfil demands for material possessions.
The biggest recent example of this is the impact of plastic on the environment. Recent studies show that 53% of consumers have reduced the amount of disposable plastic they use in the last 12 months. This sense of public consciousness has led to the tide turning against ‘disposable’ culture.
Archie Foal has distanced themselves from disposable clothing and short-lived trends. Waste has long been part and parcel of the fashion industry. Research carried out by the Eco Chic Design Award estimates that every year 10 million tonnes of textiles go to waste.
We counter this by creating pieces that are timeless. We’re inspired by designs that never go out of fashion, and use materials which guarantee lifelong quality. People don’t buy our clothes because they represent the latest trend. People buy our clothes when they want something that will endure.
Inspired by the ‘buy better, buy less’ ethos, beauty and functionality are combined in every single design. For us, this is the key to creating clothes that give customers long-term value and joy.