Slow Fashion - invest in quality to achieve a classic look with longevity

PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 November 2016

Brampton motif shawl

Brampton motif shawl

copyright © Jacqueline Cross Photography

Quality first always, says Sue McKenna, whose mission is to help you dress your best.

Sue McKennaSue McKenna

Slow fashion is not your typical seasonal fashion trend, it is a movement that is steadily gaining momentum and is likely here to stay... or at least that’s the fervent hope of Sue McKenna, a strong advocate of classic clothing that lasts.

‘I think people are changing, appreciating that it actually makes more sense to invest in a garment that last years rather than buying a piece of clothing and then disposing of it after wearing it once or twice.

‘Yes you will pay more for a better quality garment of course, but that’s just it, it will be better quality, classical in style and you will want to still wear it in 10 years time.’ It is an investment in something beautiful, she believes, that will pay back many times over.

Sue is one of a growing number of independent clothing retailers who oppose the ‘fast food’ approach to fashion found in the chain stores on the high street and in shopping malls. She launched her own business selling sweaters and wraps made using 100 per cent merino wool, inspired by a gift from a friend.

Morland ponchoMorland poncho

‘I was working in the travel industry but always wanted my own business one day. I’d been working in New Zealand and returned to the UK when a friend sent me a link to a clothing website which had a wrap I really liked.’ It was that unexpected present of a wrap that led to the beginning of Elegant Merino, a new online business based in South Yorkshire.

Sue imports garments made from 100 per cent super soft merino wool from New Zealand but which are exclusive to her brand. ‘I work with a designer in New Zealand, tweak the designs for example choose the colours I think will suit the UK market, style pockets and hoods. The garments are classic in style, elegant and flattering.’

Sue takes Elegant Merino garments to events such as country shows so people can experience the softness of the wool. ‘People can look at the garments online, see the image and read the description but to feel it and touch it, it feels amazing.’

She believes anyone can wear fine woollen garments whatever their size so long as the fit is correct. Too many people, she says, choose loose fitting sweaters when they should go for something softly tailored, which is more flattering. ‘If people are self conscious about their size then perhaps a wrap or cape is more suitable – they can cover a multitude of sins.’

Brampton jumoer in charcoalBrampton jumoer in charcoal

Yorkshire of course has a strong wool heritage and Sue aims to become involved in the Campaign for Wool which has close connections with New Zealand as well as other wool-producing countries. She adds: ‘When I first came back and had this idea of setting up my own business I did look for UK grown merino wool but couldn’t find the same quality. But it would be amazing to work with the Campaign for Wool in Yorkshire.’ One of the leading commercial UK merino wool growers is Bowmont, a Devon-based farm, which also produces cashmere and has partners in Yorkshire.

Find out more at elegantmerino.co.uk

Slow fashion is a phrase coined by fashion pioneer Kate Fletcher. Find out more about the movement at katefletcher.com

Shop with us at Great British Life

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