I’ve always appreciated quality. Even as a kid. My Mom tells the story that I would only wear clothes that were 100% cotton. It’s how I felt then and still feel about the things I put on my body. I want to feel good in a garment. Something that is impeccably made, tailored to perfection, and in the case of shoes, well-constructed, has always been my preference.
I always loved shopping in Europe and buying amazing quality shoes. I would scrimp and save and head to any outlet to find a way to afford some designer shoe because I was obsessed with the design, but also because the quality meant that I would have that shoe forever. I still have many of those shoes, and I cherish them all.
So, now we come to slow fashion, a term coined by Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Here’s a formal definition: “Slow Fashion is an awareness and approach to fashion, which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing, particularly focusing on sustainability. It involves buying better-quality garments that will last for longer and values fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.” Slow Fashion sits squarely in opposition to the fast fashion wave that took retail by storm nearly 20 years ago with the hyper growth of brands such as H&M and Forever 21.
Before the industrial revolution, garments and footwear were bought out of necessity and with durability in mind or people made their own clothing. Today, there is clearly a shift in the consumer mindset toward “Slow Fashion” with a focus on buying fewer things of quality. This shift is also placing emphasis on the craftspeople that create something special. Fashion as an art is back with a vengeance.
I started Bells & Becks with all of this in mind. It’s what I believe in my heart of hearts is the right thing. My perspective only intensified after spending years working for many mass market retailers. I've always had a passion for the idea of curation and held strong to the notion that there must be room for something different in the marketplace. Bells & Becks is a “Slow Fashion” brand because it’s just so fundamental to what I believe. Here’s how I think about it:
- High quality materials: (and in our case, it’s all about leather). Every component in a Bells & Becks shoe including the insole, the outsole, and of course, the upper, is leather. There’s a lot of discussion about whether or not leather can be “sustainable”. Here’s what I’ll say after doing a lot of research on this topic. Leather is the most durable material for footwear. Durability is inherently better. Leather is healthier for the foot, it’s more comfortable, and ultimately, it has less impact environmentally than synthetics. That’s my opinion.
- Small batch production: We work with small, Italian cottage factories that are masters of the craft of footwear production. I’m talking about three generations of families that have been making shoes to perfection for nearly 100 years in some cases. These factories only produce small quantities because it takes time, passion, and love to create something special and beautiful. Quality is simply a given when someone is a master of their craft.
- Curation: We are small and plan to stay that way. Our collections are super limited. We work on each shoe and deliver it when it’s perfect and ready. We’re not beholden to any particular retail calendar because the goal is to produce shoes that are ultimately timeless and mostly seasonless. We focus on the very best and keep the brand and the product special and unique.
I am both proud and passionate about what we do and how we do it. I'm excited for another season ahead (Fall is actually my favorite time of year), and we've got just a few new goodies to share this month.
We say hello to the beautiful Elena bootie):
Because fewer is better, we’ve taken our best shoes and built on them. Brava has a facelift with new colors:
Of course, the beautiful Luna sling has been refreshed in snake print (wow!).
So, here's to slow fashion and a season of incredible quality, special, and always wearable shoes...