How the ‘slow fashion’ movement is forcing brands to take a more ethical route

When most of us can’t find a product that perfectly matches our criteria, we usually settle for second best.

As it turns out, Patrice Gibbons isn’t most people.

When Gibbons was on the hunt for a new handbag, she had three non-negotiable criteria in mind: “I wanted the bag to be stylish and luxurious. It also had to be ethically made.”

After failing to find anything to match her description, she decided to go ahead and make her dream bag herself. “I couldn’t find a bag that ticked all three boxes – so I created it,” she said.

It was out of this – which Gibbons has called her “moment of frustration” – that her brand ZURII was born.

 

<em>ZURII founder Patrice Gibbons. Photo: Supplied</em> 

Featuring classic lines and minimalist design, ZURII prides itself on fully embracing the burgeoning ‘slow fashion’ movement – an idea rapidly gaining traction, as more and more buyers shun cheaply-made clothes based on fading trends for those with seasonal staying power.

“Shoppers are becoming more conscious of choosing well-crafted pieces that will stand the test of time,” Gibbons told Robb Report. “Buyers are also starting to ask more questions of the brands they support, which can only be a good thing.”

Gibbons prides herself on that fact that ZURII pieces are designed in Australia and crafted by hand in a small, high-end, family run atelier in the south of Spain. She writes on ZURII’s website that “every zip, stitch and strap is carefully placed and perfected with a labour of love.”

‘The Manhattan Clutch’ by ZURII. Photo: ZURII 

The process behind each design begins with Gibbons questioning what she needs in a bag and how to go about creating her vision. “For me, the design process starts with functionality,” she said.

“At the moment, I am working on the design for a small cross body bag, which started because I wanted a bag to take out on weekends that was light and easy to carry, but big enough to fit my essentials.”

She added that the fun part, such as “the style, material, colours and hardware”, all come after the “functionality is locked down”.

Gibbons is also proud of her brand’s “Fashion For Good” purpose, in partnership with The Hunger Project, which donates money from each purchase to help support 50 women across Africa, giving them access to micro-finance loans and financial literacy training.

“The money enables them to start their own business, pay for their children’s schooling and chase their dreams,” she said. “I love the fact the program makes a real impact.”

For more information and to purchase a ZURII bag visit www.zurii.com.au

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