Elysia Newman, founder and executive director of Style412. Photo by Kelly Bedoloto / Kiya Tomlin

The Little Green Dress - Slow Fashion Season, A Movement

by Natalie Bencivenga


July 1, 2020 

Thinking about the ways in which you can be a part of the solution to create sustainability in fashion? Some might say that voting with your dollar is where it counts the most. And what if there was a movement to help amplify that vote for change?

This summer and into the month of September, join the Slow Fashion Season. This is a commitment to shopping consciously or not at all. Like any action, change begins with a single step forward. In 2019, roughly 14,487 across the globe joined this movement. This year, the goal is to reach 25,000 people who will collectively make conscious fashion choices.

The aim is to bring awareness to what is happening within the fashion industry and how consumers can play an important role in bringing positive impact to communities.

“Like many organizations, we were really thinking about how we could be of the most value at this point in our changing world,” said Elysia Newman, founder and executive director of Style412. Style412’s mission is to evolve the Pittsburgh fashion industry; supporting the growth of existing fashion professionals, while educating the next generation. The organization is hosting Pittsburgh's Slow Fashion Season.

“We know there are a lot of conversations surrounding sustainability in our fashion communities right now, but what we are pushing for is not for a complete life overhaul but more about integration. It’s important to talk about how we can support local boutiques and slow things down to naturally grow in this direction,” she added.

Style412 has been working towards this goal in part by digitally hosting the second annual Fashion Revolution Week, which took place in April 2020. This is part of a global movement calling for a more transparent, fairer, safer, and cleaner fashion industry.

How can you be a part of Slow Fashion Season and join Style412 in this movement? “We are encouraging the people of Pittsburgh to take the challenge of making conscious choices with their fashion over the next three months,” said Newman. This may mean only buying clothing from second-hand or vintage shops, hosting clothing swaps with friends or choosing to buy from local makers and artisans who use sustainable practices.

“Our thrifting scene feels off-the-charts, doesn't it? In general, Pittsburghers already love Pittsburgh so much. Thus, carrying the shop small, shop local mentality is in our DNA,” she said.

Style412 is also bringing back S412 Labs for another season of podcasts to help keep the conversations going through collaborations with local influences, designers, and partners who share the vision. Jessa Gibboney who is an official ambassador for Slow Fashion Season is also the host of S412 Labs.

“What has always interested me about fashion is having a community of creatives and professionals bring this aspect of lifestyle together. In Pittsburgh, we haven’t had one place to connect to and to learn from each other so that’s why my heart is here. I want to see people engage on many levels with fashion and recognize the power of the collective voice,” said Newman.

Let’s start a fashion revolution — one outfit at a time.


Natalie Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter.