Debra and Shari are the hands and hearts behind Bouwer Flowers. Based in Cape Town, Bouwer delivers hand-crafted bunches of local, freshly sourced, quality blooms to your home or office. Making every effort to do this in a sustainable and considerate way, we are so excited to be partnering with them for this Makers Beside feature.
Moments captured by Rebecca of Love Made Visible.
What does slow fashion mean to you?
Debra and Shari: For us, slow fashion is about consciousness and consideration. It means digging a little deeper to try and understand the impact of the decision to purchase, supporting brands and practices that are kind to both people and the environment, and making sure that our personal actions are ones that have longevity.
How do you engage in this movement?
Debra: I try to abide by the concept of buying better quality, less often and learning how to care for the clothes I have. I'm finding myself drawn to simpler pieces that fit well and that I think will stand the test of time.
Shari: I am not a big follower of trends and don’t buy clothing that I will wear for only one season, I look for garments that I know I will love for years to come. I have also bought lot of my clothes at second hand or charity shops. My hope is that by doing this I am giving money to an organization in need, I am not supporting fast fashion chain stores and that by reusing/up-cycling unwanted clothing, I am helping to reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfills. When I do purchase new garments, I try to buy from local brands that produce good quality clothing that will last.
How would you describe your relationship with clothing/style?
Debra: I'm a mom, and I work on my feet most days - lifting, carrying and reaching as we go about unloading flowers, moving buckets and arranging. I think my relationship with clothes has become an increasingly practical one, but I still see them as an expression of myself and how I am feeling on any particular day.
Shari: I would say that I have put a lot of thought into what I wear– maybe too much thought sometimes. I would describe it as a love-hate relationship to be quite honest, I absolutely love clothes but being picky and very aware of how something is made can make finding things you like super frustrating.
Has your attitude towards fashion changed over the years?
Debra: I think my attitude has probably changed in that I am less concerned with being perceived as fashionable, and more with how I feel. I want to feel beautiful as well as ready for the challenges my day might hold.
Shari: Studying fashion made me more aware of the sociological, cultural and environmental aspects of clothing and the fashion industry. People can often view fashion/clothing/style as completely superficial but it can have a huge positive or negative impact on individuals, society and the environment.
What is your personal uniform?
Debra: Finding garments that serve me well in my various roles can be challenging! Generally, I end up in jeans or shorts, sneakers or sandals and a top in a robust, breathable fabric.
Shari: I often wish I had a literal uniform so that I could have a tiny cupboard with only five hangers and no morning decision making! But I would get bored too quickly. The way I dress is actually the opposite, I can’t commit to one style. In a week I will probably wear something a bit mod, then a bit bohemian, then retro etc. Eclectic – that’s me.
Do you have a favourite JS piece? and why?
Debra: My Mila sandals and loafers have served me well and lasted me a few years already. I love the mix of black and brown leather that goes with whatever outfit I am wearing. I also have a black top from a few seasons back that I'm particularly partial too as it can be worn tucked in with high waisted jeans and worn over tights or skinnies. I'm proud to be the owner of some of the first Jane Sews pieces, many of which have travelled with me on adventures overseas and survived the journey of a pregnant body too!
Shari: I am really fond of the Zana Top. It’s flattering, classic and I love pieces that can be worn in more than one way.
Is there a garment that has had a special place in your life or is linked to a treasured movement?
Debra: I still have the silk top that I was wearing when I got engaged, some five years ago. Even though the print might not be my favourite anymore, I love the soft peach colour, and can't seem to part with it even if I wear it only very occasionally.
Shari: I have this second-hand pleated mustard dress from the 60’s that I found at the Portobello Market in London many years ago. I love the colour, style and fit, but most of all I love that it reminds me of a fantastic day overseas with my favourite person.