Slow Fashion and How Setali Work

In choosing clothes, humans are involved in a space called fashion. Fashion has the meaning of a fashion that doesn't last long, which may include language, style, behavior, and hobbies for specific clothing models. Fashion can also be used to show social value and status because people can make inferences about who you are and which social group you belong to through fashion. Fashion is constantly looking for updates because of the focus on change.  Herbert Blumer, Fashion: From Class Differentiation to Collective Selection 1969 said describes the influence of fashion as a process of "collective selection" in which the formation of taste comes from a group of people who collectively respond to the zeitgeist or "spirit/soul of the times." The introduction and simultaneous display of many new styles, the choices made by innovative consumers, and the idea of expressing the spirit of the times gave fashion a boost. Central to any definition of fashion is the relationship between the product for which it is designed and how it is distributed and consumed. The study of fashion in the twentieth century has been framed within the framework of a fashion system model with a distinct center from which innovation and modification lead outward. Not just about function and personal comfort but the expression of a code that includes fundamental aspects of the individual such as age, gender, status, work, and an interest in fashion.

The speed of this change requires designers always to be creative and withstand the pressure of certain situations. Based on the development of the concept of fashion, fashion is interpreted as a combination or fusion of styles that tend to change and display renewal; acceptable choices favored and used by the majority of society, a way to be accepted by the general public as a symbol of expression of a specific identity to give the wearer a sense of confidence in appearance. Fashion is not only about how to dress, image, or design clothes, but also the role and meaning of clothing in social action. Style in the sense of fashion is a feature or character of appearance, while the design is something more specific than the latest style. Based on the above understanding and the results of shared opinions among practitioners, observers, and academics in the fashion world, fashion can be defined as follows. "A lifestyle in appearance that reflects self or group identity."

But in the end, it all depends on supply and demand. Consumers in developing countries often throw away fashion items, even though these items are still valuable. Easy online access to fashionable items at competitive prices has helped young female consumers meet their demand for new fashion styles. "Throwaway culture" exists due to fast fashion clothing readily available at low prices. Fast fashion companies are also blamed for encouraging buying of disposable clothes. For example, Zara and H&M launch new collection lines every two weeks, with prices that tend to be low, attracting customers who are reluctant to miss fashion trends to keep coming back, addicted to buying products, and getting caught up in the loop of the latest fashion trends. Ethical fashion plays an essential role in overcoming throwaway fashion. When fast fashion is increasingly in demand, consumer awareness about sustainability is low. For example, it is often difficult for consumers to use ethical practices in consuming fast fashion products because the information is difficult to find. Therefore, sustainable fashion often becomes 'unfashionable' and can increase the disposal of fashion products with short use. They need to be used to using clothes repeatedly, repairing or recycling clothes independently.

Fashion products can be classified as fast fashion and slow fashion. The concept of fast fashion appeals to many consumers keen to change their dress style, thereby contradicting ethical production with the natural process of making clothes. They want everything to accelerate. The period of all this acceleration started in the industrial era. Companies like Zara, Uniqlo, and H&M emphasize fast fashion to meet consumer demand. This demand was born from a synergy round between marketing strategies to expand business networks and acquire new customers every time. Now that many consumers are quite aware of the need to support slow fashion, the ever-increasing demand for fast fashion has resulted in more mass consumption resulting in piles of used fabrics which have contributed not only to the growing number of fashion waste but also to the social impact of fashion production including the use of child labor, terrible working conditions, long working hours, low wages and health and safety risks are concerns that actual policy needs to be implemented as ethics in the fashion business (ethical fashion).

In 2018, I met Andien Aisyah, who Glenn Fredly recommended performing at Substore Tokyo. Long story short, Andien and I shared an interest in the fashion world, and then I joined a social enterprise founded in the same year. This initiative was named Salur Indonesia, which focused more on exchanging the value of goods for money to donate to educational foundations. But when it became a backfire because of the many clothes and items piled up, I had to find a solution to process the piled up things, which turned out to be 80 percent of the clothes that weren't proper. From there, I was moved to recycle clothes to become more valuable than just piling up trash. At that time, I entered the clothing industry and felt the need to do more focused things since I realized that fashion waste needed to be taken seriously. In 2019, Salur Indonesia was changed to Setali Indonesia, which means that whatever you do, the goal is to spread the spirit of sustainable fashion more broadly. Setali is a social enterprise focusing on extending the life of clothes to address the fashion waste problem. Setali gives a new life to rejected, old, or unsold clothing items and textile waste by transforming them into an inspiring creations. We aim to breathe new life to waste and improve the livelihood of the people who make our garments. Everyone can contribute by donating their preloved items and in return enjoy a selection of our carefully crafted upcycling items. Every sale made and project conducted will be directed to empowering the local artisans and tailors community through training and upskilling activities.


Setali Indonesia is now very developed compared to 4 years ago. The business model is a cooperative affiliated with 12 recycling artists who, in their daily lives, have a slow fashion brand. Absorption of fashion waste is carried out using the pick-up method in collaboration with Rekosistem, a start-up engaged in sorting and picking up various household and SME waste, organic, non-organic, and residue. Mid-2022, Setali is affiliated with New Factory, an ex-convection labor union in the South Bandung area. Our primary focus is introducing inclusive, sustainable fashion with the 4R method.

The first thing is reuse, namely using used clothes, either passed down from generation to generation or adopting the attire of relatives. In a broader scope, the reuse movement is also carried out by several organizations. Today, several communities are actively facilitating the Tukar Baju movement, such as Zerowaste Indonesia. In the world, it was the reuse movement that started thrift shops. A famous organization, to begin with, is the Salvation Army in America. The public can donate used goods and then sell them. The money is used throughout the year by the Salvation Army to provide food to the hungry, disaster relief, assistance to the disabled, reach out to the elderly and sick, shelter and needs for the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. After America, the active ones are Australia and Japan. In Melbourne, some Savers are already big names. Savers also return their form of used clothing to money, and then he subsidizes it to communities in need. Unlike in Japan, secondhand and vintage shops are scattered in many districts filled with curated collectibles sold at low prices. If it is related to the social mission, the culture of buying and selling used goods is labeled as something other than thrifting.

The second is reduce, an effort to choose clothes with awareness to reduce the number of purchases. In other words, the reduction is when someone considers buying clothes so that they can live longer. There are various considerations, including choosing clothes based on basic shapes or timeless designs. So we are advised only to buy clothing in small quantities or too often. And it is hoped that these are local products because purchasing imported goods can add to your carbon footprint. I still like to buy things at Gedebage and Pasar Baru, but in small quantities, not often, and not for commercial purposes.

The third is repair, namely the culture of repairing items that are no longer used. There are various forms. In Japan, people even know this culture as Boro style art; the technique is called sashiko. Roving tailors and sole shoe repairers also reflect that Indonesians still like the culture of repairing.

Lastly is recycling. Recycling is divided into two: downcycling and upcycling. Downcycling is recycling by crushing clothes and melting them into fibers with a chopper or manually with scissors. In this process, the fibers are usually spun into cloth. And what is also essential, in the downcycling process, every part of the clothing -- including zippers, buttons, and others -- is separated first. Meanwhile, upcycling adds value to used goods. Upcycling is closely related to the art of modifying clothes. 



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