The irony of a swim-suit
In a world where fashion brands are obsessed with churning out more clothes than what can reasonably be consumed, Chasing the Sun Collective is committed to achieving just the opposite. The slow label is the first-ever brand to release only four items every collection. However, what makes them truly brilliant is the fact that all of the brand’s collections are interconnected, allowing shoppers to build a holistic wardrobe encompassing both fashion and lifestyle. We sat down with the B³ (brains behind the brand), Sue Salleh-Kobeleva to discuss all things inclusive, sustainability and why the fashion industry needs to slow down.
What initially encouraged you to found Chasing the Sun Collective?
At Chasing the Sun Collective, I believe the world doesn’t need ‘just another fashion brand’. It is a concept, a community that we are trying to build, values that we are trying to promote. I landed on this idea, simply out of my personal frustrating shopping experiences. I am not a stick-thin woman, and most of what’s on the market do not fit me as well as I wish they would. I think it is ironic that it’s called a swimsuit, but I never could find one that “suited” me. When I design, I want our pieces to fit women of all body types, and want them to feel comfortable, and to feel ]good about themselves- as opposed to just wearing them to adhere to trends.
Even as more and more brands embrace sustainability, the concept behind Chasing the Sun Collective is really unique. Tell us more about that?
I always wanted to create beautiful things, quality items that people would love to own. But I wanted to do it my way. I didn’t want to go fast and be beaten around the clock and create multiple collections a year. I asked myself if I were to do it my way, what would that look like? And that’s where the initial concept of going slow and creating a minimal number of items came to light.
How do you define slow fashion?
In a world that is so fast-paced and profit-driven, it is easy to forget to slow down. Not only is it about slowing down the production line, it allows me to really find the inspiration behind the things I create. It gives you the time to creatively explore an idea. There is space to explore spontaneous inspirations. You can play with an idea, rest on it, source quality fabrics, work with skilled craftspeople to create these items. It is not only about the production, but it’s about the mindset and the lifestyle as a whole. It’s about slowing down and remembering what life really is about.
What are the challenges of running a slow brand?
The idea for Chasing the Sun Collective came year before its actual launch. One of the biggest reasons that it took so long for me to launch the brand is that I wanted to find a supplier that could match our ethos, sustainability mantra, and the brand’s vision to eliminate excess waste and mass production. Another challenge, of running a slow brand is that it can be challenging to get the media or shoppers or even buyers, to buy into the concept. At the same time, I noticed that once people do understand the concept, they are loyal to the brand.
Do you believe that a fashion brand can be 100% sustainable? If yes, how can this be achieved?
I believe that when it comes to true sustainability there are a few key factors that come into play. The first is that we simply create less. I think it’s great that a lot of brands are using recycled plastic, sustainable packaging, and upcycling, but at the same time, if they are still creating huge volumes of products, it’s not going to solve the issue – that’s just replacing. The second part of true sustainability is about cultivating well-being in the way that we do things in terms of going slower, taking care of our mental health, and taking care of ourselves. And the third part, I believe is adding an element of giving back to the business model. That I believe is very
Any last words?
It is my greatest hope that Chasing the Sun Collectives becomes part of a generation of brands that push innovation and new thinking around sustainability and that somehow, we make a positive mark on the industry. We hope that anyone who dares to dream will see our journey as proof that it is possible to start something, to re-think, to connect and create strong partnerships. To make a difference. I started this without a lot of experience, or a lot of money, but we had the power of the collective who believed that anything is possible, and mostly, that resulted in people around us saying yes. We are grateful to everyone who has been part of supporting us. This past year has created invaluable learnings, connections, friendships and that will never be forgotten. The list of people to thank is endless. None of this could have been possible without any of them.