Sancho's Slow Fashion Show, Exeter

It was a real pleasure to attend the second Slow Fashion Show after seeing the effect and supportive crowd the debut event brought last year. Thanks to Kalkidan and Sancho’s for another fantastic evening. I put together a short write up for Always in Colour and managed to catch co-founder Kalkidan Legesse to find out more behind her vision. ‘Returning for its second year on Saturday 21st September, Exeter’s Slow Fashion Show aims to increase awareness about where and how their belongings are produced, in the hope of making people think twice before buying. As part of a week long program of events held around the city between September 17th - 21st in support of Exeter Fashion and Beauty Week, the event took place in the central Cathedral and promoted sustainable, environmentally conscious, innovative fashion. Designed to educate and encourage more conscious consumption, a selection of workshops and talks linked to fashion, beauty, visual art, music and history took place prior to the main event.’ Read the full article here and check out the interview below, plus photos by Jay Bing, photographer for Flatspot and Always in Colour.

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alwaysincolour.com/blog AIC: Hi Kalkidan, thank you for taking time to chat with us! Can you tell us a bit about the story behind Sancho’s and its progression from a small Fair Trade focused boutique on Fore Street to it becoming two shops and a leader within Exeter's ongoing sustainable movement? Kalkidan: In the last couple of years Sancho’s has really grown and we now have two shops located on Fore Street separately specialising in womenswear and menswear, with an office around the corner. We think that with the rise in awareness of sustainable living and it becoming mainstream news due to an increased amount of weather warnings globally - and thanks to David Attenborough! - businesses like ours are growing. We are proud to be one of Exeter’s many unique independent shops, and part of our ethos is to create a community of like minded individuals that can support each other in shopping more consciously whilst sharing sustainable living tips. Exeter is one of the best places for this and we aim to be surrounded by companies with a similar mindset to ours to help educate and inspire customers to shop ethically. AIC: That’s great, we’re really glad to be a part of the community and now located closer to you guys on Fore Street. You stock a considered selection of brands - what are the ‘must have’ characteristics of each label that make them appealing and suited to the Sancho’s ethos? Kalkidan: All the pieces that we stock firstly have to be made in a fair trade environment, so we know that everyone involved in making the products was paid and treated fairly. As well as this, we also only stock designs made from sustainable materials, from organic cotton and bamboo to recycled plastic bottles and recycled metals. We make sure that all our products are sourced carefully and ethically to keep in tune with our company ethos by making sure that each piece carries certain certifications to prove that it has been made sustainably and ethically, including 'Fair Trade' 'GOTS' (the Global Organic Textile Standard) or the Fair Wear foundation. AIC: A great example of thoughtful and considered buying for any aspiring small business owner, and peace of mind for the customer too. What would be your number one tip for someone who is progressing into a more sustainable lifestyle? Kalkidan: One of the best things you can do to progress into a more sustainable lifestyle is to cut down on your meat and dairy intake, and if you do eat either of these food groups choose to buy from local, trusted farmers. Make small changes such as always carrying a tote bag for shopping, using a reusable water bottle, making your own lunch and reducing your packaging waste. The main thing to do is to buy less and buy better! Instead of buying a £10 pair of jeans that will last just a few months, spend more on a pair that you love that will last you years. Fix things when they break, develop your own unique lasting clothing style and don't follow the fast fashion trends that make you feel out of trend within a month. Mainly, ask more questions and become a more conscious shopper - realise that everything we do has an effect on the world and understand your own personal impact. AIC: Great recommendations and proof that small differences equal big change. This relates to the current movement within Exeter which has such a rich community of proactive business owners and individuals who are passionate about making a difference - what do you think makes Exeter unique? Kalkidan: I think that a lot of people can disregard cities outside of the capital, but the South West has a rich history of artists, designers, and change makers. Exeter is uniquely positioned as a link between the South West of England, Bristol and London which makes it accessible whilst also being surrounded by beautiful and inspiring Devon scenery. Also due to the size of the city, there is a certain community spirit and support between all of the independents which is reflected in the Slow Fashion Show and everyone who is involved. AIC: Speaking of which, the first Slow Fashion Show last year was a real success and revealed so many supporters within the city who are seeking considered design - what changes have you seen since the first show and what do you hope to see happen following this second event Kalkidan: Based on the foundations of last years success we have been able to open the event up to more retailers and independent artists to showcase their work during the evening. We have four workshops that take place towards the beginning of the evening followed by speakers that will be there to educate and inspire our guests. We have also been able to get sponsorship for the event from Co Bikes and Hawksmoor Investment Management. We feel that this year we have built off the success of the previous, and we aim to learn more and improve what we do at every stage. AIC: Thank you for your insight Kalkidan, we had a great time at the event and are really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Sanchos and Exeter’s community!