This paper presents a series of case studies examining selected slow fashion retailers' use of storytelling elements within their respective store environments to communicate their brand's sustainable process and mission. The term slow fashion, coined by Kate Fletcher, informs and encourages conscious consumers on responsible product sourcing and manufacturing, allowing them to feel connected to their local and global community. For slow fashion brands, fostering a strong and nurturing relationship between consumer and producer is invaluable, however few of these retailers capture that goal within their retail experience. Striving to educate and entice consumers towards more sustainable consumption, this paper presents case studies examining how storytelling elements are utilized within the retail environment to forge the consumer-producer connection.
Currently, many slow fashion retail environments lack storytelling elements, varying little from fast fashion stores. When the retail story and experience is not differentiated from those promoting mass consumption, products hold little emotional value and are disposable. This paper describes how three North American slow fashion brands (Shinola Detroit, Levi's, and The Local by Lululemon) implemented storytelling within their store, educating consumers towards shifting their behaviors. Understanding the emotional connection between storytelling components and products reinforces slow fashion's goal by elevating products from disposable to cherished artifact. Through this analysis, designers and retailers will be provided with tools to better educate their consumers and promote a slower consumption lifestyle.