About Bella Viglianti

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"I recently wrote a paper for my Fashion Industry class about fast fashion and if I wasn't already an advocate for reusing clothing and a lover of the handmade, I definitely am even more so after researching for and writing that paper. It seems that people are having less of a relationship with their belongings, buying mass amounts of cheap clothing without appreciating or realizing the resources and work that goes into each piece of clothing or accessory and disposing of perfectly good items at their trend expiration date rather than when they're truly no longer useful. I won't rant about how sad this makes me a whole tonne... but if you want to read more about this you can read my paper here.

What on earth is slow fashion?! I myself hadn't really heard the term until quite recently when I saw that many of my favourite creators / makers on Instagram were using the hashtag and some are taking part in 'Slow Fashion October'. Slow fashion is basically the opposite of fast fashion. Its the idea that we should build a connection with our clothes, understand and appreciate where they come from and take time to invest in clothing we believe in.

So here I bring to you a few of my favourite slow fashion makers and repurposers! These amazing and talented women were all wonderfully kind enough to take time to let me ask about what they love to do, their views on slow fashion, and show me some behind the scenes of their beautiful handiwork!

Bella has been featured a few times on The Little Sea because she has been a close friend and inspiration to me since high school. Bella's always had an understated chicness and an I-can-do-whatever-I-put-my-mind-to-in-my-own-way attitude. How many people have that at 19... I don't know too many! Her handmade- unique and comfy clothes now have a brick and mortar location in Cambridge, Ontario at Foxglove Studios. She loves to work with natural fibres and started making her own clothes because she wanted to put her own spin on what she was wearing. She says, 'As I got older I learned more about the garment industry and it was just a no brainer to buy into fast fashion less and to give the clothes I already had a longer life by reconstructing them!'

Bella's Defintion of Slow Fashion:

'I don't think the garment industry is something that most people think about despite the fact that we all play a huge role in the process of fast or slow fashion as consumers. I think that as with most issues, the first step towards a solution is to talk more about positive change. We don't need to necessarily boycott certain brands completely and look down on consumers who are buying into fast fashion, rather we need to make more noise about brands that are focusing on sustainability. As a retailer, I feel responsible for doing research on behalf of my customers. Some people may be buying my clothes because they want to make an ethical purchase but most are buying them simply because they like them and if they can learn a bit more about sustainability from my products then I consider that to be a step in the right direction.'

Slow fashion is a mixed bag of creating from scratch and repurposing. Bella says 'half of the garments I produce are made from scratch and the other half have been repurposed from pre-existing garments and other textiles.' Bella is queen of making washed out denim and out of date blouses fashionable again with new pockets and embellishments. She also creates a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces by altering vintage patterns and using them with modern fabrics or creating modern silhouettes. 'I have an old sweatshirt pattern from the 80's that I've used to make anything from a cropped t-shirt to a cocktail dress.'

As mentioned before, Bella started bvd. near the end of high school. She was making a lot of her own clothes and her original handmade pieces were showcased in the school fashion show. 'From there the client base of people I knew snowballed pretty quickly but the brand's still a baby. I'm happy with how organically it's been growing.' bvd. now has a physical home in a brick and mortar location in Galt, Ontario as part of Foxglove Studios but she still loves to keep close relationships with her clients and do custom work for weddings and events."

- Merike Hess, The Little Sea