Launched by Kaitie Manani, online shopping platform The Slow Mode sells sustainable fashion and conscious consumer goods, the website was born out of recovery from illness where meditation helped Manani embody a slow lifestyle
Hong Kong is a busy place, so it’s no surprise that the wellness trend is truly being embraced throughout the city. A range of yoga studios, vegetarian restaurants and eco-friendly design brands like Eico and Womb have been springing up across the city as people look to balance their fast-paced lifestyles. The Slow Mode is one of the latest online shopping platforms to launch in Hong Kong, offering sustainable fashion and conscious consumer goods, so we sat down with founder Kaitie Manani to discuss the website, meditation and her road to living slow.
An interview with Kaitie Manani from The Slow Mode
Hi, Kaitie. We’ve followed you for a number of years now, and we loved Vamastyle – so, tell us – what made you decide to move away from designing?
Manufacturing was taking its toll on me, I felt I really needed a change in direction but I was scared to let go of what I had built with Vamastyle. After 7 years, I was yearning for something a little more meaningful, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that would be.
Cue six months later from those initial thoughts, and my health took a downwards turn, as I dealt with thyroid and autoimmune issues. A severe adrenal fatigue crash was the final kicker that flattened me to the floor; I was a whisper away from complete adrenal failure, suffering from frightening panic attacks, raging cortisol levels keeping me awake all night and feeling drugged out all day – the list of symptoms went on and on. I knew then I had to let Vamastyle go.
What’s the inspiration behind your new online shopping platform The Slow Mode?
During my slow recovery I clung onto my vedic meditation practice, as it was the only thing that would calm me, and however exhausted I was I could always meditate. During one meditation session in late December I had a flash of clarity, and The Slow Mode name came into my vision – a website where you could find beautiful designs made by artisans from around the world. I wanted to create a slow-style store and wellness guide: sharing stories of healing and advice from wellness warriors I’ve connected with, helping others to optimise their own health journey.
I have always loved sourcing and seeking out the beautiful hard-to-find items. I wanted to create a community, connecting with artisanal sustainable fashion and accessories labels that have been made with love and purpose.
What makes something slow or what is the meaning of slow as you see it?
Before the big adrenal crash, I used to associate slow with being lazy, not working hard enough, but in reality it was what I desperately needed to give myself. The idea of slow to me now means tuning back into your own mind, body and soul, and not running on autopilot; slow comes from the heart not from the head.
There is a real awakening of conscious consumerism happening globally – do you see this happening in Hong Kong? And if so, who is leading the movement?
It’s heartwarming to see that conscious consumerism is becoming not a niche, but an open conversation shared by millions of people around the world. The time has really come to question what we are buying, how we are living, what we are putting on and in our bodies; this isn’t a fad.
Thankfully, Hong Kong has now started to come on board, thanks to pioneers like Peggy Chan the founder and head chef of Grassroots Pantry – a sanctuary in the heart of SoHo, offering amazing super food loaded, plant based food.
Also, Dr. Christina Dean founder of Redress, a movement highlighting the fashion industry’s impact on the environment, and how, by falling in love with fashion consumers can help create a sustainable future.
Both have highlighted the need for a slower, simpler way of living. Challenging the non-stop push that Hong Kong portrays.
Other businesses that embody this way of life include: Nika Kai family travel and wellbeing website, Mana Cafe, Kita Yoga, Niin Jewellery and Raiz The Bar health bars.
Shop sustainable fashion, accessories and beauty products at www.theslowmode.com now.
Enjoyed this interview with Kaitie Manani and looking for more great sustainability tips for living in Hong Kong? See how you can reduce water consumption, shop wisely at these waste free grocery stores, or explore these great vintage stores.