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Fashion is by far one of the largest labored industries on the planet, with most of the goods being made in developing countries in areas that are overwhelmingly saturated with unsafe working environments, child labor, and many who are wildly underpaid. The following statistics provided by DoSomething.org illustrate to consumers how horrific some fashion we wear is made:

  • In developing countries, an estimated 168 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work
  • Child labor is especially common in agriculture (98 million, or 59% of child laborers work in agriculture), followed by services (54 million) and industry (12 million)
  • Women make up 85% to 90% of sweatshop workers; therefore, some employers force them to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits. Learn more at DoSomething

The facts are hard to take in, but we simply cannot ignore them. Fortunately, in the midst of this moral and epic dilemma with mass-production, we are seeing exciting transformations within our society as consumers and producers and the standards we live by, begin to manifest: Factory-Free and Made Slow. When a product or apparel is labeled as factory-free, it means that it was created ‘slowly’ by an artisan independent of any factory or manufacturing company. In essence, it was made with care, patience and pride.

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Made-Slow is putting into practice the manufacturing of goods ethically by considering the working conditions of people and the environment. It ensures that workers are being paid fairly, as well as having great working environments. Many consumers may be deterred by the perceived higher cost of ethical manufacturing. However, the materials are made from better quality, are more durable, and morally, won’t disrupt our conscience. The overall impact of Factory-Free and Made Slow positive is much more positive.

Making Apparel That Matters
There is something special about knowing exactly how and by whom the clothes and shoes that we put on our bodies are made from. Let’s explore the many important levels of the ‘made slow’ approach to the production of apparel and accessories:

01 | It makes fashion unique.

Fashion is seen as an outlet of expression for many. However, if we are all purchasing mass-produced clothing and accessories from the same places, then there is nothing independent or self-reflecting about it. That is why there is a lot of beauty in ‘made slow’ production. You’re not only purchasing articles of clothing, but rather, you are connecting directly with the artisan who made it; who they are as an individual, their creativity, and their heritage. Each product becomes a beautifully unique and timeless story with significance.

02| Sustainability

Adopting made-slow production methods can actually reverse some of the negative effects that mass and fast-production techniques have had on the environment. By simply reducing raw materials that are created by fast-production, the earth’s regenerative capabilities can start to be enforced. This then allows a more sustainable future because there is less pressure on the environment’s natural cycles.

03 | Respecting People

This is by far the most important. Made-slow methods and factory-free products help secure the fair treatment of workers. This approach instills integrity, honesty, and respect not only into design and production but for the people making our apparel and accessories.

04 | The Bigger Picture

Made-Slow production is a way for producers and consumers alike to embrace a more important way of living for our future. When we are more conscious about how both environmental and social systems are interconnected, then we will make better choices as a whole, and our choices matter. What we decide to do today, will affect how we live for years to come for both the environment and people.

The Trend Setters: Chilote Shoes
At Conscious, we feel strongly about not only starting a conversation but also providing our readers with alternative options to adopt a more sustainable way of living, therefore, we are thrilled to share about Chilote Shoes with our conscious community.
chiloteshoesartisans-1Chilote Shoes is an unstoppable brand that 100% embodies the philosophy of Factory-Free and Slow-Made methods. Founded in Chile’s Patagonia the mission behind Chilote Shoes is to provide responsible products for consumers, such as the ethical wool slippers created by artisans in Patagonia, in order to empower indigenous communities to preserve their unique culture and community. The Conscious team is unanimously impressed by the caliber of the people behind the company, their business model, as well as the creativity and care that is woven into each pair of slippers.

Chilote Shoes is 100% transparent. They produce the slippers with only noble-local materials and is crafted with an upscale design.

The Slippers
Each pair of Chilote Shoes slippers is hand-crafted with utmost care and pride by independent artisan women in Patagonia, doing what they know and love: knitting. This iconic design is the result of a co-creation between the local artisans and Chilote Shoes co-founder, the award-winning designer Stiven Kerestegian.

“Chilote Shoes, are a perfect example of how a product can be extremely useful and desirable while making a positive impact on the people and planet”

Materials
The slippers are constructed from natural raw sheep wool that has been sourced in Patagonia. According to Chilote Shoes, “it is nature’s ideal provider of comfort and warmth, snugly adapting to your feet to keep them insulated yet ventilated.” The salmon leather is durable, yet as soft and flexible as suede. The leather is also made of locally repurposed and upcycled renewable material. Each pair includes an extra salmon leather and wool kit to personalize and repair if needed.

Design
The multiple award-winning, Chilote Shoes offers consumers a gorgeous product that is both ethically and environmentally-friendly made, while also creating impact. The slippers are designed beautifully with traces of the women of Patagonia’s heritage in order to sustain their culture while offering a unique story behind each pair.

Check out some the beautifully crafted Chilote Shoes wool slippers!

LEARN + CONNECT
Learn More About / Shop Chilote Shoes
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FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.

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