13 windows into the Iona Crawford Slow Luxury Story…


Heads up! Basically this is not your typical press release.

We invite you to live Slow Luxury style, take time, click on each image and immerse yourself in this co*lab story of Beauty and The Beasts.

You know it, there’s no fighting it…
the best things things in life do take time.

Here are your clickable images:

Beauty and the Beasts      The Designer      The Collection

The Film      The Launch      The Lace

The Actress      The Gossip Girl and the Footballer     

The Atelier       The Co*Lab       The Slow Luxury

THE STORY: Once Upon a Fine Spring Day, in NYC’s Bryant Park, two 20-foot high maquettes of THE KELPIES, the large steely BEASTS, 100-ft high sculptures arising from the land in Scotland, met 13 silky, ethereal NYC damsel BEAUTIES dressed in timeless silks in Slow Luxury’s IONA CRAWFORD BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS CAPSULE COLLECTION LAUNCH

Collection Look Book is Here.

For Immediate Release: 

This Spring, for the U.S. portion of the global introduction of fashion designer Iona Crawford, a multi-faceted international collaboration of artists in art, film, music, live performance and even bespoke lace-making, touched down in New York City’s Bryant Park.  The launch of Crawford’s Beauty and The Beasts Capsule Collection, was first inspired by Andy Scott’s Kelpies, the 100-ft silver metal horse sculptures newly arising from the land at The Helix at the Forth & Clyde canal at Falkirk, Scotland.  Beginning with a visit to her friend Andy’s studio as the massive sculptures were just emerging, the chain of inspiration became an art collaboration spanning continents.

Slow Luxury, a lifestyle marketing agency based in NYC and the UK, working with clients that define sustainable luxury, envisioned the full scope of Iona Crawford’s Collection introduction. The collaborative project made its appearance in New York, with a public performance and notable tastemakers wearing the Collection for red carpets, event appearances and magazine feature story editorials. The week culminated in the Bryant Park performance, where models ceremoniously gifted the lunchtime crowd with small ribbon-tied bundles of silk containing poetry, chocolate and a #KelpiesBeauty hashtag. Set to live music, the performance ran alongside the smaller 20-foot maquettes of The Kelpies, on view during Scotland Week in New York.

The Collection also won favor for notable red carpet appearances and media features during April from VH1’s The Gossip Table‘s host, Delaina Dixon, who wore a black cashmere and leather dress to a film premiere with Mario “Cashmere” Maningham of the NY Giants; singer-songwriter Jess Domain, who began her career as an Aretha Franklin back-up singer, wore the collection for her upcoming feature story in Hour Detroit magazine, and actress Gemma Forbes wore the Collection’s signature long tunic in Madras lace for a gala dinner at The Metropolitan Club.

Based in Glasgow, home of the first retail Iona Crawford Atelier, opening 2014, Iona Crawford designs custom, limited-edition series women’s clothing and home accessories in rich and tonal fabrics of Scottish origin including cashmere, merino wool and leather, as well as silks printed with her paintings. The Beauty and The Beasts Capsule Collection is designed to be worn in all seasons.

The Collection contains references to saddlery through cut and structure dictating silhouette, while bespoke damask lace, featuring a figurative representation of the Kelpies in large scale, pays reference to the metallic geometry of the sculptures themselves.

Intended as a seasonless collection of artful pieces in numbered and signed editions of 1000 pieces each, curated, exclusive pieces of the Collection are sold on the Slow Luxury site, www.slow-luxury.com. and Iona Crawford’s site offers the full Collection.  www.ionacrawford.com

“The industrial, steely strength of the Kelpies horses came alive within their towering, angular NYC surrounds. I love the city’s intense juxtapositions, contrasting layers and rich architectural diversity. The city’s creativity, like beautiful silk contrasted against a backdrop of hard-core metal, dynamically enhances the inspiration behind the collection,” says Crawford.

Crawford’s launch collaboration with Slow Luxury built upon Slow Luxury’s work creating brand experiences which seek to establish ” A New Standard for Sustainable Luxury.”  Iona Crawford’s sustainable luxury practices, fabrics, and designs align with Slow Luxury’s “The Ten Commitments”  and mission to “design goods and experiences, where the highest design and quality meet excellent social, economic and environmental attainments.” www.slow-luxury.com


“Beauty and The Beasts is designed to be a rich unfolding and sharing of the artists’ experience,” notes Jade Dressler, co-founder of Slow Luxury.

“The collaborative story offers multiple entry points – sculptures on the land, art, films, music, performances, e-commerce, in-depth stories on custom fabrics and even T-shirts!,” adds co-founder Fiona Fraser.


Additional artist collaborations on the Beauty and The Beasts project include a film “Climb” by the BAFTA-winning MP Productions, featuring the song “Kids” as sung by Hannah Read; exclusive commissioned Kelpies madras lace by MYB Textiles; Bryant Park performance production by re:artiste and Shavonce Armstrong; photography by Alvaro Montagna of Small Earth Group; shoes from Capezio; chocolates from The Highland Chocolatier; fragrance from AromaM; hair by Smith-Grieve and makeup from Don Rokicki.

For this collaboration, ten percent of the sale price of the Iona Crawford ‘Brodie’ pillow, available in the Slow Luxury Co*Lab shop will be donated to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Donations of fabric and ribbons from the Bryant Park performance will be made to Materials for the Arts, ‘New York’s premier reuse center, providing a way for companies and individuals to donated un-used intact supplies to thousands of non-profit organizations with arts programming and public schools.’

@ionacrawfordart       #KelpiesBeauty        @slowluxury

For appointments, information and images please contact:

Jade Dressler, 917.991.8140, jade@jadedressler.com


Slow Luxury presents: Iona Crawford ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ Capsule Collection


Once upon a time….urban workhorses in Scotland inspired sculptor Andy Scott to tap into the Kelpie’s story of transformation, which in turn …inspired artist and designer Iona Crawford’s silk sequences for her exquisite, bespoke and ready to order womenswear, and diffusion scarves, pillows, and T-shirts…which inspired a connection with Hannah Read’s music…leading to the performance in Bryant Park and the exclusive Capsule Collection on Slow Luxury.

Launching Tuesday, April 8, 2014, a selection of exclusive items from the Collection were available for a limited time on the new Slow Luxury online pop up shop, with the main Collection available from the Iona Crawford online store.

Go to ‘Happening Now’ to read exclusive interviews, images, films, poetry, the T-shirt…and the silk pocket squares and other steely, silky surprises!

SLOW LUXURY presents


Tuesday, April 8th 2014 at 12.55pm

This Spring, THE KELPIES, 20 ft. massive silver steely horse heads, sit powerfully in the middle of New York City, in Bryant Park. Maquettes of the famed 100 ft. high sculptures in Scotland, sculpted by Andy Scott, these beasts meet silky, ethereal Scottish damsels, bearing gifts of Spring in the IONA CRAWFORD BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS CAPSULE COLLECTION LAUNCH…all during lunchtime on April 8th at 12.55pm.

An interactive performance will include live music from Scottish singer songwriter, HANNAH READ.

Launching Friday, April 8th, a selection of exclusive items from the Collection will be available on the new Slow Luxury online pop up shop, with the main Collection available from the Iona Crawford online store.

Follow us for updates:

 @slowluxury @ionacrawfordart #kelpiesbeauty

This event is produced by Slow Luxury with support from:


SEG Logo

Donations of fabric and ribbons from the performance will be made to Materials for the Arts, ‘New York’s premier reuse center, providing a way for companies and individuals to donated un-needed supplies to thousands of non-profit organizations with arts programming and public schools.’


The Big Interview: Fiona Fraser, Slow Luxury Co-Founder


FB main image small

Anthony Akilade of the Herald Scotland meets Slow Luxury Co-founder, Fiona Fraser, as part of the Scottish Enterprise ‘Knowledge for Growth’ series…

Bling. A flash in the eye. You wanted it. You bought it. It was fast, often noisy. There may have been quality but it wasn’t essential. What mattered was that it stood out, that it shouted.

“That was then,” says brand development specialist Fiona Fraser, the world of high-end luxury is turning and buyers are now looking for a bit more substance in their purchases.

The trend is showing up in many different sectors. We have slow food where consumers take a deeper interest in where food comes from, how it is cooked and indeed how it is eaten. We also have slow travel, where the journey is as much a focus as the destination. In architecture, we have slow health with places such as Maggie’s Centres. Now we have slow luxury.

“The slow aspect recognises that the face of luxury has changed. Luxury consumers are far more educated today. They are really looking for meaning, value and connection in what they purchase. Their interest is in sustainability, they are interested in quality, heritage and in provenance. They are looking for products with a soul,” says Fraser who, along with co-founder Jade Dressler, has now established Slow Luxury.

Fraser and her New York-based business partner have both individually designed and developed luxury brands of their own. These have sold internationally to the top luxury retailers and it is this experience that informs Slow Luxury’s brand development work.

Luxury leaders such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel and Joyce in Hong Kong sold accessories Jade Dressler designed and she developed runway and stage pieces for Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass and celebrities such as Cher.

“We’re not just saying let’s look at your marketing. We’re actually able to use our experience throughout the whole process to develop brands,” Fraser says.

“It all started when we worked with Scottish Enterprise’s textiles team to bring together a showcase roundtable conversation on the idea of slow luxury.

“We invited a number of non-competing Scottish brands, such Johnstons of Elgin and Hamilton & Inches, to come and take part so they had an opportunity to connect with American destination and events planners and tastemakers. These people included a planner who does the decorations for the White House in America, and writers for the New York Times, Forbes, About.com, Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. These were people with a lot of influence in the market either directly with the consumer or with buyers for high-end retailers,” says Fraser.

Fiona Fraser’s previous business, Fraser Balgowan, designed and developed bags and accessories that were made with sustainably-sourced red deer hides and sporting tweeds for the top end of the market.

“Within the first year of business we were selling to Saks 5th Avenue in New York and we were in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine. It was the depth of storytelling that really connected with the people we were marketing to. Every bag had a story. That story connected people to those who worked on the land, worked on the estates, it related to shepherding, weaving, deerstalking and to the history of the communities in the Highlands.”

Fraser took this thirst for detail a step further and invited tastemakers from the US to Scotland. These high-end fashionistas were treated to a full tweed and heather deerstalking adventure so they could understand the way of life. So successful was this Slow Luxury immersive sourcing event that they are now offered by the company as a key brand development service.

“It’s about touching on something very personal, dipping into the richness of the craftspeople and the components of the products. In Scotland we are well positioned to highlight our history of manufacturing, our years of excellence and to tell a really great story,” she says.

But for Fraser too many of Scotland’s manufacturers are failing to truly connect with potential markets and customers.

“Technology obviously gives us much more of an even playing field than we had before. We don’t need to spend £10 million on a marketing campaign in the way we would have had to five or ten years ago,” Fraser says.

“If we are really going to work across the digital opportunities which provide us with other routes to market, we really have to improve on the way we tell our stories. It’s absolutely not good enough to say here’s our lovely scarf and it’s made with the best materials and it’s Made in Scotland. There needs to be more depth to the storytelling.”

Fraser does praise Scottish producers for being able to sell into the wholesale market however she sees a downside to this success.

“When all we do is sell to wholesalers we don’t have direct contact with the end customer so we don’t know what they are connecting with. We are not getting the intelligence back that helps us innovate and create new products,” Fraser says.

“The ‘cash rich and time poor’ luxury consumer is increasingly looking for curated product, it’s that idea of connection and personal engagement. That means the consumer is often interested in the lifestyle. They want to know what is the Scottish lifestyle.”

Learning these lessons from their own forays into high-end retailing has enabled Slow Luxury to reach out to other sectors of the luxury market and the company now is in discussions to consult and develop product with top-end Scottish retailers in apparel, interiors, accessories, food and drink, and experiential travel.

The company’s online brand development strategy focuses on using technology to strengthen social engagement by providing rich personalised content to create a virtual cycle.

“You build your audience and you build your conversation, that then drives traffic, which in turn drives sales and influences the media and buyers,” Fraser says.

In all this Fraser has high praise for the assistance she gained from Scottish Enterprise and the Global Scot Network.

“Stewart Roxburgh and the textiles team really connected with what we were doing. He’s been a fantastic mentor and helped with the initial introduction to Saks. The Global Scot Network too, both in the UK and the US, were a tremendous help. The advice I got from them was advice I couldn’t get from the agencies,” Fraser says.

“The irony of the Slow Luxury story is just how fast the journey has been,” Fraser adds.

Read the full interview in the Herald Scotland here

GREAT SCOTS: Scotland’s Slow Luxury Culture


A Story About Luxury by Fiona Fraser

We Scots we don’t tell stories or shout out about our excellence, our luxury. While our invention, creativity and influence is felt throughout the world, most are unaware that the story of the luxury products we associate with Paris, London or Milan, actually originate from this wild and poetic place I call home, Scotland.


Tilda Swinton for Chanel

From a Chanel dress to a rare whisky; from a cashmere blanket to a $5000 designer suit, more often than not, while a label bears a famous name, the material inspiration and invention originates in Scotland.  Besides luxury fabrics and materials, we’ve created other inventions that have influenced the world.  Many began as the luxuries of their time, now necessities of today, such as the refrigerator, tires, steam engine, penicillin, colour photography, Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes, golf, the telephone and television.


The Balvenie

In Scotland, our ‘material culture’, the relationship between people, land and product inventions, is the story we have to tell. Aside from our great ‘social’ gifts to the world such as whisky, tartan and travel destinations, we have, however, failed to fully develop recognition for our other aspirational products, wholly owning our luxury brand identities that relate to Scotland’s materials, from pure sea salt to luxurious textiles.

Hebridean Sea Salt

Hebridean Sea Salt

Our heritage is based on hundreds of years of imaginative, ethical, sustainable production of material goods, (what we call Slow Luxury) and this is exactly what makes our products so desirable. Now is the time for these products, and their connection to people, land and time, to become the stories we tell globally. Now is the time for imaginative storytelling, for ‘imagination is the foundation of everything that is uniquely and distinctively human’ (The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything; Sir Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica) – and human interest, connection and relationships are what we know now drives the luxury desires of the contemporary consumer. The truth of the materials and production is the reward for the story.

Johnstons of Elgin2

Fabric from Johnstons of Elgin

Integral to this new idea of storytelling is Slow Luxury, not a fantasy nor a rigid and imposing ‘walk the talk,’ marketing “story”, rather an aspirational belief, an invitation for conversation, and an authentic way of blending lifestyle, community and commerce that has some greater depth of truth, transparency and meaning. 

For business, this framework must deliver returns but dare we anticipate that those returns might include benefits to the wider bottom line in addition to short term, hard cash?

For me, as the designer of a luxury collection, the benefits of this new adventure include becoming far more connected with my passions in life and questioning how I can contribute towards the sustainability of the economy, particularly in Scotland’s most fragile communities. I often ask this question of my clients and friends in luxury; ‘What might inviting dialogue and conversation focused on the stories around your brand actually realise for you personally and professionally; for your business, for your community, for your culture?’ ‘What is the market opportunity for us in using our vulnerability to ‘dare greatly’, to see the next adventure, given our knowledge of the thirst for connection with Scotland worldwide?’

We have lived through boom and bust times, particularly in terms of the manufacture of textiles.  We faced the near death of the industry and its negative impact on many communities, but we are re-inventing our offering as niche, as something of special, global value.  There is real vulnerability in this experience and we can use this to unlock our creativity.

Tweed Shop at Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

Tweed Shop at Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

What makes for this poor visibility or recognition for true Scottish luxury brands in the marketplace? Many of the best known Scottish (luxury) companies produce private label garments for other global brands such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry, sell through third party wholesalers, or in cases such as Pringle, our companies have been bought by international concerns who have expertly traded on ‘Scottishness’ and heritage, while moving much of the management and production out of the country.

Looking to the high street, Brooks Brothers and Paul Stewart shop windows in New York this very week are all ‘Highland’, featuring Scottish fabrics made by Scottish manufacturers, with little trace of a Scottish brand name to be seen.  In fact, Brooks Brothers has ‘Highland Heritage’ as its lead fashion trend for this season online, and the first edition of the Brooks Brothers magazine, published this week, features an extended editorial piece about Scotland with rich Scottish imagery and style sensibility.

This position is underpinned by the current Financial Times ‘How to Spend It’ edition, which speaks to technical innovation and the unrivalled quality of Scottish textiles, citing a who’s who of designers and luxury brands sourcing from Scotland, but with only passing reference to Scottish labels such as Begg & Co, who have invested in brand development in order to create visibility as a stand-alone proposition.  However, expert in the business of knowing how to ‘hook’ the audience, the FT article begins with a story; a story of Johnstons of Elgin, its film set-like archive and a royal connection.  Imagine if we were the ones telling this story?  Why encourage others to take ownership of our heritage, style, craftsmanship and luxury?

This invisibility, lack of individual brand identity and an inability to compete with large, international marketing budgets, goes some way to explain why Scotland’s luxury brands in fashion and interiors aren’t among the world’s best known names in luxury.  All the pride of manufacture and provenance, combined with our culture, inexperience, and less than bolshy approach to marketing, somehow precludes us from telling the world about our innovation and creativity, about our stories.  We collectively fail to envisage how our voice might be heard.  However, with social media and a plethora of online channels at our disposal, we do now have the opportunity to compete in a very cost effective way.

Style, Travel and Luxury on the Royal Scotsman

Style, Travel and Luxury on the Royal Scotsman

Marketing luxury is a game of desire and aspiration told through inventive stories. How do we get our Scottish selves into that mind-set? Appeal to our sense of adventure, sensitivity and imagination. Desire, and what is aspirational today is changing, as our world and environment necessitates. The fast, exploitative, rare, and controlled is thankfully now seen as excessive, wasteful and singularly offensive.  Luckily for Scots, pure slow provenance, balance and connection are our basic luxuries and what the world desires.

 B+W Slow luxury

Enter Slow Luxury. 2014 is a BIG year for Scotland on the world stage.  We will host the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games, and the ‘Year of Homecoming’.  The world’s media will be trained on us, it has already started, and this is an unprecedented opportunity to share with the world our old/new essential paradigms…and in the process, raise our luxury profile.

There is much support for the development of Scottish luxury from within Government and industry bodies.  Only this week, James Sugden, Director at cashmere weaver Johnstons of Elgin, said the ‘tide has turned’ for the Scottish textiles industry and ‘the time is now’ for the Scottish Government to support investment in a textiles centre of excellence, as retailers are ‘re-shoring’ their orders from Far East suppliers to our own in Scotland. It is interesting however, that focus is predominantly aimed at innovation and production, with little evident discourse about connecting our brand identities and marketing development to that very innovation by developing new products with an ‘old soul’.   In any event, following closely behind must be development of capacity and capability within companies, to engage a workforce in cultural change and a refreshed common goal that is centred around developing identity, selling the story and delivering world-class service.

Ryder Cup 2014

Ryder Cup 2014

How does Scotland further develop its own brand of luxury culture?  This idea of Slow Luxury includes both accessing our vulnerability and ‘daring greatly’, a philosophy coined and described by US researcher and storyteller, Brene Brown that has achieved global recognition.  What is the vulnerable, the daring we all aspire to?  What are the strengths of our stories and connections with our past? The world today is loudly social, mobile and imminently promoting itself in a collaborative, connected way. Strength in messaging, in collaboration and its ultimate success will depend on the extent to which Scottish luxury companies can envisage their marketing activities solidly taking place in a new paradigm.  We can’t compete with the multi-million pound budgets of our global luxury brand cousins but there may be a better way to reflect our excellence.

How to create a compelling brand story today to expand profits tomorrow? Scotland is a perfect case study to illustrate how the concept of Slow Luxury can be a lens applied to brands and product offerings, to offer luxury consumers specific compelling reasons to purchase now.  In the presentation below, we  roadmap the steps smart brands can take to target more desire for their products and services through this proven new thought leadership, shaping the marketing of the best luxury brands today.

The New Black, not the same as the Old Black: Fashion Gathers at the Round Table, NY Fashion Week


Fashion Gathers at the Round Table, NY Fashion Week February 2013

by Jade Dressler


Black clad on Paris and Milan runways or on any street in the world situates one in a fashionable place, an approved global style uniform. At the same time it is the use of black dye, along with red, for clothing and textiles, that happens to be the most toxic to the Earth. Both colors are clearly contributing to life on Earth’s “in the red” status. What will it take for sustainable fashion to be seen as balanced and healthy—“in the black” on financial registers, on our bodies and the planet?

While many in the fashion industry regard themselves being “in the green” or “eco-friendly” by making a donation to charity, much more must be done. Perhaps like the growth of the organic food movement, our growing awareness will impact the values we place on what we choose to wear personally and its collective impact.

Like the issue of food, the production of textiles and clothing has so many aspects, from economic to aesthetics and social justice issues, to designers who fear limits to their creativity. While supply and demand has changed this landscape from when I designed with one of the first organic cotton clothing lines in the 1990’s, Blue Fish Clothing, we can still do more. During this February’s Fashion Week NY, Slow Luxury joined experts at a round table on the subject, sponsored by Fashion-4-Development and Sustainia. The intimate “think-tank” event was moderated by Evie Evangelou, founder of Fashion-4-Development and Laura Storm, Executive Director of Sustainia, “a global collaborative platform for communicating best practices for a sustainable future.”

We invited Nicole Giordano of Startup Fashion to join us along with Slow Luxury friend, John Favreau, of Little Lake Partners, LIM College Professor, Product Development, and a business consultant to top designers and brands.

It was a gathering of like-minded and inspiring to see many of our friends and associates in the room.


Notable attendees included Franca Sozzani, EIC of Vogue Italia, Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion-4-Development and Julie Gilhart, leader in sustainable garb, as buyer at Barneys, now with Amazon.

Julie Gilhart

Also attending were Carola Beeney, PR and Events at ABC Carpet and Home, reps from Vogue Vert, and The Council of Fashion Designers of America, CFDA. Reigning experts at the table included, Ruth DeGolia of Mercado Global, and Sass Brown, author of “Eco Fashion” and eco-expert at FIT, whose bright remarks match her eye for the most sophisticated eco-style.

Sass Brown

Another business focused on sustainable process, in the digital printing world for top fashion and advertising photography as well as eco-friendly building development, our friend, Baldev Duggal of Duggal also attended.

baldev duggal


Sustainia identified 5 reasons for the fashion industry to connect philosophy and practices to sustainable options: waste, pollution, water, transport and social and labor. Slow Luxury adds 5 Solutions we champion for making a difference and a “plus 1” category of importance wellness. Our clothing choices must assign value based on more than just “pretty.” The value of Slow Luxury, is to consider the positive impact of the entire life-process of manufacture and its holistic wellness impact, from the material resources to the contact with our bodies. See Slow Luxury’s Ten Commitments to connect with our own visionary ”round table” where manufacturers, the public and media can interchange for best sustainable practices.

Here are some of the identified Challenges/Opportunities and solutions, our choices for the best practices and companies we admire which address these issues. We’d love to hear your thoughts and champion your own eco-efforts as designers, manufacturers and consumers.

ONE     Waste Challenges/Opportunities

Over-Buying: Americans buy two million tons of clothes each year and discard two quadrillion pounds (that’s a two with fifteen zeroes) or 68 pounds per person of used clothing and textiles into landfills each year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Toxic Text-tiling: Synthetic textiles have become one of the fastest-growing waste products, rotting slowly (or not at all) in landfills. The production of viscose consumes more energy than the production of cotton and synthetic fabric, emits greenhouse gases, and spews wastewater bearing organic solvents, heavy metals, and poisonous dyes and fiber treatments.

Tiny Recycling. The Council for Textile Recycling says the industry prevents 2.5 billion pounds of post-consumer textile product waste from entering the solid waste stream. However, this is less than 25 percent of the total post-consumer textile waste that is generated each year.

Slow Luxury Waste Solutions

Creative couture thrift buying is the favorite secret of stylish people all over the world and it has the “green” side effects of “not buying” and “no new manufacturing.” Recycling clothes saves more C02, and, in fact, it takes ten times more energy to make a ton of textiles than it does to make a ton of glass. We all recycle bottles and paper, clothing belongs in that mind-set as well.

Livia Firth, whom we spoke with recently, leads with her Green Carpet Challengeand is our vote for most influential force in this arena, inspiring celebrities and A-listers to wear and champion vintage.

livia firth

Both Rent the Runway and top stylist’s secret source, Albright Fashion Library, founded by my friend Irene Albright, 

Irene Albright

along with friend Claudine DeSola, who is founder of Caravan Stylist Studio, are among innovators of this concept.

Claudine Desola

Shopping online is certainly an energy-saver and notably, long-time organic pioneer, Maria Rodale entered the organic product e-commerce world this year with Rodale’s. We’ve met several times with our friend, Michele Barbone, the buyer, whose perspective on the progress on criteria underscored our mission to support companies in whatever effort they make.

Maria Rodale

Several participants emphasized it was the designers themselves who bear the load of influencing the consumer desire for sustainable clothing, and this area is ripe with creative opportunity, for example up-cycling, or incorporating recycled goods into new designs. Schmidt Takahashi, from Germany, is one of our favorite up-cycling designers, the recycled connection with former wearers is an integral part of its unique branding.

TWO     Pollution Challenges/Opportunities

“Friendly + natural fabrics”? Actually, not so earth-friendly. Traditional cotton and wool for starters are not actually eco-friendly. Conventional cotton clothing comes at a great cost. Grown on less than 2 percent of U.S. farmland, cotton accounts for 1 of every 4 pounds of the total pesticides sprayed each year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Further, when we toss wool and cotton clothes into a landfill, they produce methane, a gas 23 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than CO2, according to the BBC.  

Slow Luxury Pollution Solutions

New crops are the old crops: Hemp. Nice to know that President Obama and I are fans of hemp fabrics sourced from the very inspiring and passionate Barbara Filippone and daughter Summer Star Haeske of EnviroTextiles.


Summer enthusiastically told me about her work with Obama’s campaign which specified hemp for fundraising scarves.  She said the movement is growing, with Kentucky just approving a bill to join 8 other states allowing cultivation of industrial hemp for fabric and other uses.

Requiring few pesticides, hemp (a cousin of cannabis) has been called a carbon negative raw material, and has been in cultivations all over the planet for over 12,000 years. EnviroTextiles serves designers such as Versace, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, and “is a pioneer in the development of hemp and hemp blend textiles as well as other natural fiber products, and is the industry leader in the efforts to improve corporate responsibility and transparency in manufacturing processes and labeling.”  Their hemp blends and knits, with organic cotton, silk and Lyocell, offer creative, eco-friendly textile inspiration.

THREE   Water Challenges/Opportunities

Water Everywhere? While Franca Sozzani and F4D are pioneering fashion initiatives in Africa, Franca emphasized that business in developing countries can hinge upon such a basic issue like the access to water. Consider, as well that it takes an estimated 1800 gallons of water required to make just one pair of jeans.

Slow Luxury Water Solutions

One company addressing the water issue is Eileen Fisher. We first met Eileen Fisher in the 1990’s, both leaders in spurring the fledgling organic cotton clothing movement and today, Eileen Fisher continues sustainability leadership.

Eileen Fisher

They produce their core China silks in certification with bluesign® which means that garments are dyed and finished using fewer chemicals, less water and less energy. The certification insures a lessening of the most serious water contamination problem resulting from the use of sulfur dyes in denim and other fabrics, as 50% or more of the sulfur dyes are washed off into the water stream.

“Dyeing is a hot-button topic,” says Shona Quinn, Eileen Fisher’s very eloquent sustainability leader, whom I had the pleasure to hear speak last year at FIT’s “Sustainable Fashion: From Fiber to Fabulous!”

Shona Quinn

The world’s most famous fabric dying expert, Charles Stewart of Tumbling Colors, also presented his eco-findings that day, and good to know he works for everyone from Marc Jacobs to Elie Tahari.


Transport, Social and Labor Challenges/Opportunities

What price is fairness? The economics of eco-fashion are still not feasible to mass manufacturers and industry, who make most decisions based upon their bottom-line, noted John Favreau. The cheapest labor from foreign shores has been seen as profitable, and the headlines are full of unfair labor practices. Even organic growing in Africa has come under scrutiny. What will it take for us to be proud of what is worn on our backs?

Slow Luxury Social Solutions

Labor issues and the cost and impact of transport has inspired grassroots and even government sponsored local production, particularly in New York…thankfully a growing movement everywhere. Both traditional and new models offer creative inspirations worth exploring. Our friend, Bob Bland leads the noteworthy, Manufacture New York, working to create a new garment district in Brooklyn.

bob bland

“Slow Luxury” Solutions: Homework! From the Highlands of Scotland, where Harris Tweed weavers do their thing in their homes to the pioneer in the couture movement stateside, Natalie Chanin and her Alabama Collection, creating community around design and fabrication of apparel can thankfully equal rewarding work and community and not sweatshops.

FIVE   Wellness Challenges/Opportunities

Slow Luxury champions sustainable heritage and emerging brands creating connection, community and beautiful clothing as standards of true luxury, and through this, we also see how clothing can contribute to the wellness of ourselves and the Earth.  

The organic food movement grew from people caring about the health of themselves, family and the planet. We can do the same from a personal commitment to wear wellness. In fact, it is caring mothers who are driving the business for organic baby clothes, which can be a force leading this movement.

Slow Luxury suggests that we work with designers as new eco-oriented lifestyle advocates. With social media and word-of-mouth, designers, manufacturers and individuals can best champion the virtues of eco-style by their personal style and contribute to creating new standards of beauty, craft and luxury, based on wellness as a total concept.

We think now is the perfect moment, a creative opportunity to design and contribute to the conversation about quality, investment pieces made with soulful, loving labor. After all, basic, classic pieces that are investments vs. fast, unsustainably produced clothing are a timeless secret of the most stylish people. Designing investment pieces with the provenance of a Harris tweed blazer, a sustainable cashmere sweater, or designing a classic, signature pair of organic cotton jeans or trousers could well be the mainstay of any collection.

Now that puts Earth “in the new black” from both a smart design and a financial perspective. As industry designers and consumers what are your insights, designs and pioneering initiatives? Introduce yourselves, let’s keep the conversation going.

 images from NY magazine, Vogue Italia, etc.

Daum Art Glass, slow luxury since 1878


Daum Art Nouveau vase

Daum art nouveau vase

Daum art nouveau vase

The head of Creative Production design at one of France’s most revered art glass manufacturers, Daum, Benoit Crantz, was recently in New York for a special appearence on December 4th at the Park Avenue showroom. He demonstrated the unveiling of a sculpture via Daum’s famed lost wax technique…a slow luxury indeed.

Today the atelier, which has collaborated with artists from Salvatore Dali to Philippe Starck, is an internationally known name, collected for art glass mastery depicting exquisite florals, fauna and figure sculpture of all sizes and majesty. The pate verre technique results in unparalleled color variations, textures, bubbles, detail and abilities to catch light and imagination. The lost wax, or cire perdue, technique captures every detail. This is a slow and ancient process, the pate verre dates back to Ancient Egypt and cire perdue dates back 5,000 years to roots in India. This deep history and lineage with the arts explains the fascination that a wide audience has for Daum.

Daum fig vase

Daum Ganesha

This season, tiny to massive figures of Ganesh are popular. The artist collaborations are shared from the imagination of artists to the craftspeople of the atelier. It is the light that is invited every day and evolves, as the object is owned and lived with and the light changes within rooms.

Daum demonstration

Daum slow luxury process

Daum process

Daum Slow LuxuryThe piece by Sylvie Mangaud Lasseigne is unveiled.

Sylvie Mangaud Lasseigne

The matte finish and the bubbles are trademark Daum, although the polished and sleek is also realized.
Daum cat

While nature scenes were bucolically pictured early on, they would be quite at home in a modern composition, mixed with the sensitivity of furnishings, colors, textures and design of various eras. (or in a David Lynch movie)Daum art nouveau vase

Daum appaloosa tulip vaseThis Appaloosa tulip vase comes in sizes from 3 inches high to about 30 inches high. Powerful. Vases are receptivity, suggesting a very female welcoming. Perhaps this one could have been the focal point of a room or a table in Georgia O’Keefe’s home.


Compare with Philippe Starck’s collaboration with Daum, La Toute Petite Etrangete (All Small Strangeness), the smallest of the vase series he designed for Daum in 1988.

Dali Daum vase

Dali’s collaboration, a lime green, heavy footed kind of thing, boasts a humor and attitude of the artist.

Imagine the slow luxury of discovering and collecting this history of art and style.

Daum art nouveau vase

an_art_deco_daum_vase_french_circa_1930_d5382125hCaptivating to study and collect, they remain to be discovered at 499 Park Avenue between 58th and 59th Street, New York, New York or at auction. This 1930’s Daum vase recently sold at Christie’s is testament to the timeless beauty, craft and value of Daum.

Jade Dressler

Slow Luxury Roots


Slow Luxury is a new standard for luxury design goods, where the highest design and quality meet excellent social, economic and environmental attainment.

As various industries, such as the building and the organic foods industry, have recognized standards and labeling at the international level, Slow Luxury will be a forum for achieving new value assessments for luxury fashion and home goods based upon a Maker’s positioning and goals towards The Slow Luxury 10 Commitments.

We welcome your growing interest and collaboration in our Slow Luxury Round Tables, the first of which took place in August 2012, set majestically in the Highlands of Scotland. Our exciting ventures in New York City with the United Nations’ Fashion-4-Development and Saks Fifth Avenue have sparked lots of ideas. Read more here on that and let’s chat soon!