Routonomy started because we wanted a change. And if you want a change, you gotta be responsible for it. We weren’t inventing the wheel, we were just becoming part of it. Hemp clothing was already there, slow fashion brands were a thing, and most certainly every big and small brand had included at least one item made of recycled material to their portfolio.Yet, it’s not enough. We wanted to add more and real value. By being transparent, by being just slightly different, by creating great essentials, by paying fairly and, most importantly, by just being ourselves. Because so we are and so we’ll be. The story of our path to building a slow fashion brand in Colombia.
What is slow fashion for Routonomy?
Slow Fashion is going back to basics; the essentials in life. We strongly believe in highlighting what we do right, instead of focusing on what others do or don’t do. Still, sometimes it is inevitable to look around. Slow fashion is increasingly becoming more popular. But, is it just the term slow fashion that is gaining terrain or is the world actually shifting towards a more sustainable look at fashion?
Let’s be fair, fashion will never be the most sustainable industry. And, even though we would certainly see benefits in us all walking around naked all the time, we suspect there will always be a need for clothing. But that is exactly the key word – need. We too know the thrill of finding that one perfect dress that we will only use for that one single event. However, wouldn’t it be much better to have a closet built around timeless, ethical and versatile essentials? That is precisely what Routonomy is all about.
Sustainable fabrics and materials
There is so much bla bla bla about the use of sustainable fabrics. Every major brand now has a sustainable line of recycled PET. But what exactly makes a fabric sustainable? Sure, we also use recycled PET sometimes. But there is so much more. Let’s look at water usage. And this is where our hemp clothing comes in. It uses 4x less water than other fibers, does not need pesticides, and is super durable. We also use organic cotton, which uses no chemical pesticides.
Almost all of our clothing is fully compostable or recyclable. Sure, we hope you´ll use your Hemingway Blouse for a very long time. And then once you stop using it, you’ll upcycle it. Or take it to be recycled. It is 100% Hemp, so it is fully recyclable. Perhaps your West Virginia Top, after a long time and hopefully after a second and third use, will probably end up in a landfill. It gives us peace of mind to know it will fully decompose over time.
Fair Pay and ethically produced clothing
What about a beautiful piece of clothing produced under dirty, terrible working conditions that are often labelled as modern slavery? It loses all of its beauty, if you ask us.
One of the factors we consider a big part of slow fashion is the working conditions of those involved in production. We pay on time, we pay fair. We personally know who we work with, celebrate their birthdays and Christmas, and know the names of their kids. Yes, Routonomy is a commercial company, but we like to put the well being of our collaborators over profit. We care.
It is the only way to truly make a change in the fashion industry. And, this is what makes us different from fast fashion brands out there,
Low stock and constant analysis
We produce in very small quantities and then analyze what our clients give us as feedback.
On our Organic Cotton T-Shirts, we noticed how the sleeves were a bit too short for most men trying them. By working with small batches, we could correct it almost immediately.
Although we have global ambitions, we really like to have our own store too. We can establish real conversations with our clients, who give us immediate feedback. Therefore, we get to offer something they really need and will use. Because no matter how slow fashion we are, if the final product isn’t used at all, the footprint is still too big.
At one point we thought our slogan would be ´boring clothes for interesting people´. Marketing wise, certainly not the best. But in a way, it captures what we believe in.
- Useful basics
- High quality basics
- Basics one will use today and 10 years from now
We use the word edition for our ‘collections’. And that is simply because an edition is timeless. Each item of all our editions perfectly combines with each other.
Our clothing is made with high quality material, like Organic Hemp. It resists the wheel of time. We are not into prints, we use solid colors, we provide clear washing instructions. We make sure our designs can be worn at home, at your go-to coffee shop, on your wine tasting getaway weekend, and most importantly, that will always be the first thing in your bag for your vacation trip to LA, Tuscany or Bali. After all, an object, the simpler, the more stories it will have to tell.
Inclusivity and accessibility
The only way to make a change in fashion is to make sure our products are accessible for everyone. It is not an easy task. We can’t even count the times we have heard we are too expensive. Honestly, we think others are too cheap. Our margins range from 35-40% which we need, to be economically sustainable too. This will then allow us to invest, research, make mistakes and correct them, try new things, expand our size range, improve packaging.
We understand that a small change made by a major fast fashion giant will probably create more impact than our efforts as a small slow fashion brand. However, every change is relevant. We aspire Routonomy to be a way of living, owning only what you need. Our clothing will be a tool for something much bigger: forging your own path, being fair, living in peace with yourself and being authentic.
So we are. so we’ll be.
Virginia & Floor – Founders of Routonomy