Have you ever ran a mile (take it as a metaphor), but wished you could take a moment to breathe slow? Today's fast-paced world craves your attention every minute. It demands efficiency and success, and often pushing yourself to the last limit to achieve it. However, as known, there's a yin to every yang. Slow lifestyle manifests itself as a counter movement to our hectic lives. Promoting a sustainable future and battling the cult of speed is what Savant Magazine is all about. Our very own editor-in-chief, Hanna-Amanda Pant, sheds light on what it's like to slow down when the world keeps moving forward at an accelerated pace.
Words: Meri Frig
#WomenWhoWork: Editor in the Sustainability Industry #Savant
Why are slow lifestyles and slowosophy important?
It’s a counter reaction to today’s speed culture. If you’ve ever heard of binary opposition, like black - white, night - day, fast - slow, etc, then that’s exactly how my brain functions on justifying its necessity. Also, when there’s no people advocating a slower approach to life, and wanting to do things better thinking about the environment, we would witness a drastic change globally — and do believe me, it’s not for the better, as industrialisation and capitalism grow at a hectic pace, without us actually having all the resources. The resources need to be borrowed from somewhere, e.g our planet, which will result in more waste and more harm done. Soon, there will be nothing pure left in the world, if we don’t act fast against it.
In what ways, in your opinion, could they make a positive contribution to the world?
I am giving just a few examples concerning our consumption habits and lifestyles. [It makes a contribution by] helping to protect the environment, shedding light on the dark side of modern-day fashion industry and advocating transparency in fashion, protecting people who work in grim conditions in the Third World, preserving human connection, establishing circular economies to give back to the first source in the production-consumption model, advocating consuming more vegetables than meat, which is also better for the environment, and encouraging us to value a simpler life — although urbanisation and living in big cities is trending and preferred, people may decide to move away to the countryside and start their own agriculture business or grow their own fruits and veg, which again could help reduce the overproduction and pressure our global food industry is facing.
Do you think slow lifestyles will gain importance in the future?
My good guess says it will. We just cannot continue on wasting Earth’s resources and doing nothing about it. The counter reaction is well worth it. Soon, there's simply no other way of doing things anymore.
You mentioned you were originally inspired by other magazines, French lifestyles, young creatives, as well as the book In Praise of Slow. What, or who, inspires you the most right now?
The growing global network of creatives and brands, who are appreciating ethical approach, artisanal techniques and slow production. It’s just amazing to witness how ambitious and hard-working they are to achieve something better collectively! I learn a lot from other young creatives in the industry. Also, my curiosity to get to know new things is quite feeding as well — sometimes I look into the field of green cosmetics in my free time, to know more about an interesting natural plant, or watch documentaries about the realities of the global fashion industry. Also, exploring different cultures and travelling gives me a boost — I was recently in parts of North Africa, where labour still has great artisanal skills and they do wonderful things by hand. I am inspired by multiple indigenous cultures and craftsmanship that, in my opinion, shouldn’t die out. I wish to contribute to the perseverance of these very traditional techniques and cultures rich in history and crafts. I am also a very global citizen, so different sociocultural issues all around the world could be credited for my remaining curiosity. Also, [my birthplace] Scandinavia is well ahead with thinking sustainably, but the West is a little bit behind. I find it interesting to witness how we could change that, and bring more awareness to the West as well.
"Nowadays, people are ready to give up their mental wellbeing and social relations only to somehow 'make it' and achieve personal work goals."
How did you choose to advocate slow lifestyles in the form of a digital publication?
It wasn’t a digital platform in the first place, but I started with giving out a print version of the magazine. It is digital to be more accessible globally, anywhere, any place and any time. However, it doesn’t leave out the chance I might start publishing print again, which was the original idea to appreciate the slower medium, and get us away from the protective screens.
Your key target audience is the generation called ‘isolated connectivity.’ How can this specific target group be reached and captured? What, in the slow movement, appeals to this target audience?
That’s a bit tricky, as young audiences crave for new things fast and often, on repeat and on repeat. However, why it should and might appeal — everything ends and has a limit, so there are groups, you can even say, a counter culture, who want to look into a slower approach to life and everyday, because they are fatigued with the mainstream ways of living and how our society operates. However, this doesn’t deny that we all live in a cultural environment that appreciates speed and productivity. I feel it’s more to do with everyone’s personal interest and the niche they wish to look into in their free time. More or less, it's like an aspirational way of living - even if it cannot be put into practice, it's nice to have altruistic ideals.
"I am also a very global citizen, so different sociocultural issues all around the world could be credited for my remaining curiosity."
Scrolling through the picturesque Savant magazine, it is easy to encounter words, such as sustainable, ethical, authentic, and conscious. Do they characterise the slow movement in an essential way?
All these do characterise the slow movement in an essential way. However, there are also many sub-categories as well. You can basically divide them, all slow living philosophies, into different categories, starting from ‘Slow Cities’ to ‘Slow Food’, ‘Slow Culture’, ‘Slow Travel’, ‘Slow Wellbeing’, 'Slow Work Culture', etc. The list is endless. It really has spread into each and every sector of life, as a counter-reaction to things already familiar to us requiring speed and hectic pace, a move forward. These philosophies are teaching us how to appreciate the speed culture, without actually losing our minds and productivity - it's all possible with taking a different, more mindful approach into account, without necessarily losing the goal. My publication is more concerned with fashion and culture, so it has been a conscious choice to use these terms a lot, for people to understand what slow movement, or a slower approach to creativity, actually means.
Finally, could you reflect on how being based in London might affect your work?
I’m trying not to overdramatise, but London is, by all means, a very hectic city, a cultural hub, where speed culture and being highly productive on a maximum level is well appreciated. To be a high achiever is trending, when everything is measured in success, power and capital: nowadays, people are ready to give up their mental wellbeing and social relations only to somehow 'make it' and achieve personal work goals. It certainly isn’t a city where you can quietly reflect and 'do your own thing', because all creative industries merge with one another, and the level of competition is tough. I don’t consider it a particularly easy city to be based in and to run a slow lifestyle publication from, because there are other things constantly screaming for your attention — events, exhibitions, social gatherings, networking, etc. All happens very fast and once you’re out, you’re out. There's no time to wait, when things happen, you just have to react. Of course, it doesn’t affect my capacity to get work done, but these are some common obstacles to consider when it comes to how the industry works in London, UK.