In fashion, the default mode is ‘fast’. Brands and designers are constantly scrambling to meet today’s trends while keeping an eye fixed on tomorrow to satisfy our appetites for the latest and newest. The idea that we need to update our wardrobes is perpetuated through the endless carousel of new season collections and releases. And beyond us consumers, this relentless cycle also puts enormous pressure on all parts of the fashion process from production and design, to sales and marketing. Breaking this cycle is what Stephanie Batchelor is determined to do with her new label OneThing.
After years working in the fashion and retail industries, Batchelor realised the pace of fast fashion was unsustainable. “I couldn’t help but notice the high turnover of product trends – every day there was new stock dropping in stores or a new campaign to shoot, which was fun for the first while, but as time went on I was starting to find it confusing and exhausting. If I was finding it exhausting on this end, imagine how it would have been on the production end”, says Batchelor. This realisation lead to the creation of her Byron Bay-based label onething, which embraces and celebrates the concept of slow.
“Build a wardrobe of good quality forever pieces that will last for years and not end up in landfill”
For Batchelor, OneThing is “a slow fashion label that isn’t trend driven”. OneThing consists of handmade pieces focussed on relaxed everyday basics for women and children that are designed to be kept and loved for years, not just a season. This requires a collaborative and small-scale process that Batchelor personally undertakes with skilled Indonesian-based artisans who hand-sew each item in their own comfortable and safe environment. It’s an inspirational lesson in the power of businesses to help uplift local communities with meaningful and ethical work.
“Hands down the most rewarding part of the OneThing journey has been the gratitude from the makers, whether it’s receiving photos of a new sewing machine they’ve bought, or pictures of their kids going through ceremonies and schooling. My go-to girl over in Indonesia is so much more than just a maker to me – she’s family and the gratitude we have for each other is such a beautiful thing, by far the most rewarding part of the business”, says Batchelor.
OneThing aims to also slow down the negative impact fashion can cause to the environment using sustainable bamboo. “All our garments are made from bamboo which grows quickly and is a renewable and sustainable material – compared with other synthetic cotton blends which requires large amounts of water, pesticides and labour”, says Batchelor.
It’s clear that underlying all of OneThing’s values is a strong belief in the old saying ‘quality over quantity’ and Batchelor believes it’s the simple secret to staying committed to ethical fashion: “Build a wardrobe of good quality forever pieces that will last for years and not end up in landfill”.