We live in a busy world driven by fast consumerism. The fashion industry pushes surface-level, seasonal trends, and consumers are shopping based on ‘want’ over ‘need’. Our CEO & founder, Janaya Wilkins wants to challenge that traditional consumer model. Read below, our interview with Janaya, who explores her inspiration for living minimally, and how SLO active is driving change and raising awareness of the environmental impact of fashion.

The fashion industry is the second biggest global polluter, after oil, that benefits heavily from the fashion industry at every point of the supply chain. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that needs to be broken.

We live fast and have the option to buy clothes even faster. This demand from consumers is making a huge negative environmental impact. Did you know that the fashion industry’s carbon impact is larger than the airline industry, with the total greenhouse gas emissions related to textiles production is equal to 1.2 billion tons annually? Moreover, the value of excess inventory from unsold Spring/Summer 2020 collections is estimated to be $160 billion- $180 billion worldwide. Studies have shown that the average consumer only wears 20% of their closet, with garments only worn 7 out of 10 times before heading to a landfill.

For more facts, figures and information, read our Slow Fashion – A Guide To Sustainable & Ethical Fashion.

Through the pandemic, we have all been forced into changing our lifestyle through worldwide lockdowns and slowing down. This change in society is changing consumer behaviour. Consumers are becoming more aware of how brands are treating both planet and people, and want to see more transparency and diversity. A huge 93% of fashion brands don’t pay a living wage, even when they say they’re committed to sustainability.

At SLO active, we have created a sustainable product lifecycle, focusing on a circular approach to swimwear, considering everything from slow fashion mindset to material using Yulex Pure. As well as concentrating on the ethical fashion manufacturing process. Read about our Sustainable & Product Lifecycle.

We want to share how we Go SLO, Live Minimally, buying better, not more.

An interview with our CEO, Janaya, by Molly Hood

Janaya Wilkins - Founder of SLO ACTIVE

Why did you decide to start a Slow Fashion based brand? What was your inspiration & background?

When I was growing up, I was always on the lookout for beautiful bikinis. I found it difficult to find swimwear that was both sustainable and fashionable. I started to learn more about the fashion industry’s impact on the environment throughout the whole product lifecycle. From the sourcing of textiles to the production and manufacturing of products to shipping and logistics, to packaging, to the care of garment workers from a social point of view.

The more I researched, the more I realised how bad the fashion industry is for the planet and people. Not to mention the companies and brands that dominate the industry, who would impose constant season after season after season changes – AKA trends. So garments would come in, they’d be on-trend, and then three months later, they were not on-trend and would often end up in landfill a year or so later.

It’s this constant self-perpetuating system that is not healthy for anyone. From a social point of view, I don’t see it as healthy for young teens as well, because corporate brands are putting this expectation on young people that they need to constantly be buying new things and changing the way they look to feel validated or be accepted. We live in a very disposable and throw-away society. This mentality needs to change.

We live in a very disposable and throw-away society. This mentality needs to change.

I discovered the slow movement about five years ago when I’d been to a slow food event in Italy. The event was about buying local and eating local produce and just cooking together.

Can you give some insight into the background of creating the Clean Lines Collection? Research and creation?

I found that if I was going for a paddleboard or a surf or going diving –or doing anything that was remotely active, I would just throw on the most practical, most functional and minimalistic thing. And it was usually black and usually something sporty that was easy to move in. But of course, I wanted to wear something feminine. That’s when I thought to design some active swimwear.

There was not much available on the market in terms of functionality that also looked good. I wanted something that had a really beautiful cut that was flattering, and also something luxurious.

The word ’Clean Lines’ encompass what the whole collection is about, minimalism, whilst reflecting the clean lines that we see in the ocean: a really beautiful clean wave or ripple, shadows in the tress, or the black rocks that I grew up around.

Minimalism is taking only what we need, not having any unnecessary features, or trimmings. It’s about having a beautiful slimline, monochromatic collection that looks flattering and is functional.

The word ’Clean Lines’ encompass what the whole collection is about, whilst reflecting the clean lines that we see in the ocean: a really beautiful clean wave or ripple, or the black rocks that I grew up around.

Do you have any fashion based advice for the readers to change to a slow consumer lifestyle?

I would say, buy better, not more. Try and figure out why you were actually buying. Do you resonate with the ethos of the brand? Does the brand give back? Does it harm people or the planet?

To achieve a slow fashion lifestyle, it’s best to avoid trying to constantly stay on trend, and just focus on keeping it simple. In an ideal world, your wardrobe would be made up of neutrals, black, white and denim (sustainable), with the odd pop of colour. Tones that go well with each other so that you can swap pieces out and create multiple outfits from only a few pieces. That’s not to say don’t wear a floral sundress but have a good one that you love and be happy to wear it to multiple occasions. I think we need to get past that stigma of not wearing the same garment in different ways.

The sustainable fashion influencer, Venetia Lamana is a really good example of someone who will post the same outfit that she’s been wearing for five years. And she’ll often post a collage of that same outfit where she’s worn at two different things. By promoting that she’s influencing people’s buying habits.

I think that’s the way the world is moving. And I really hope that more and more people will pick up those habits.

I think to get past that stigma of not wearing the same garment in different ways. We need to overcome that as a society.

Where do you want SLO active to go in the retail landscape? What do you want to achieve?

We want everyone to be wearing our pieces because we’ve put so much love into them and because we think it’s are the most sustainable swimwear on the market.

If more people are wearing our pieces, then we know that more people are choosing the most sustainable option. The more you buy from us, the more we give: our giving model, Earth to Ocean, means that for every piece that you buy, we donate to one of our ocean charity partners of your choice (you choose at checkout). We also plant one mangrove tree for every piece made, in an effort to offset its carbon emissions throughout its lifecycle.

We want to keep growing and this means that we can reinvest in the company and extend our sizes within the existing collection, as well as our new collection, which is coming very soon.

We want to change the landscape of the swimwear industry and what people are wearing in the water when surfing and diving; Choosing a plant-based alternative rather than plastic or petroleum-based. We’re going to be extending SLO’s product range into some different textiles, more sizes, different styles, and a wider price point range so that it’s more accessible and also more payment options as well to allow more people to access our beautiful products.

Watch this space!


July 30, 2020 — Janaya Wilkins