Slow Fashion

Four powerful changes making fashion more sustainable

The slow fashion movement aims to reshape the future of fashion by promoting sustainability, encouraging circularity and fostering a meaningful connection between you and your clothing. In this post, we discuss four impactful shifts that are not only redefining style but also promoting a greener and more responsible fashion landscape.

August 12, 2023

Table of Contents

While we may be aware of the negative impact fashion is having on the environment, it’s easy to fall back into bad habits and forget about the considerable damage our shopping habits can cause. And in the midst of our busy everyday lives, who can blame us?

But now it’s more important than ever to create a lifestyle that embraces sustainability and to take steps to protect our environment. And that undoubtedly must include our wardrobe. 

The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters, from the manufacturing processes that deplete natural resources to the excess waste created by fast fashion. Not to mention the enormous amount of greenhouse gases the industry produces.

Fortunately, there are several impactful shifts taking place in the fashion industry making it easier than ever before to embark on a journey towards conscious consumption and ethical choices – while still staying true to your personal style and building a unique wardrobe that you love and cherish.

Here are four of the most powerful developments changing the fashion industry for the better right now.

Upsurge of made-to-order fashion brands

A designer working on a new garment.

Made-to-order fashion brands are on the rise. 

If you’re not familiar with the concept of custom-made clothing, you might be wondering what made-to-order fashion entails and how it works?

In the fashion industry, the term made-to-order pertains to garments that are designed and customised just for you. And in contrast to fast fashion, which churns out thousands of the same ‘designer’ pieces for all to own, custom-made clothing allows you to fill your closet with bespoke, well-made, and most importantly, totally original pieces.

When you order a custom-made garment, you are measured for the perfect fit. Then you can choose the fabric and colours you love, plus any special details. And in the end, you get to take home a one-of-a-kind piece to show off your individual style. 

Some additional benefits of made-to-order clothing are size-inclusivity for all, and a greater attachment to your clothes, which might provide a boost in confidence too!

So, what makes custom-made clothing more ethical and sustainable?

Well for starters, the vast majority of made-to-order fashion brands are small, independent businesses that promote mindful shopping. They aim to ensure each of their designs are made with care and attention to detail. These specialty garment makers understand the value of both their workers, and their customers, prioritising fair and ethical working practices and customer-client transparency. 

Also, by using only the essential amount of fabric required for each garment, textile waste is minimised leading to fewer items ultimately ending up in landfill. This also means that many of the natural resources,  such as oil, water, and land, that are being depleted by overproduction will be protected.

As a natural consequence, made-to-order clothing encourages the slow fashion movement. It encourages us to think more carefully about our clothing purchases. Plus, you’ll doubtlessly be investing in high quality items that will stand the test of time. 

And you’ll be supporting small businesses and local artisans, which has a positive impact on local communities.

While it may not be financially feasible to have all your clothing custom-made, it can be a worthwhile investment from time to time – for both your personal style and the environment. 

By adding some customised pieces to your wardrobe, you will totally elevate your personal style. And, combined with sustainable brand shopping and thrift shopping, you'll reduce your fashion footprint too!

Increased prominence of sustainable and ethical fashion

Sewing machine in a clothing factory

Without a doubt, the number of sustainable and ethical fashion brands is growing. And many of the big fashion houses are slowly transitioning to more eco-friendly materials and boasting greener practices.

But what do we mean by sustainable and ethical fashion?

Sustainable fashion buzzwords have been embraced by the industry and are popping up so frequently, making it difficult to truly know or understand what they actually mean. 

Sustainability focuses on each stage of the production process including textiles used, water and chemical use, materials used, and the working conditions of workers. The goal is to minimise the impact on the environment by choosing materials that are organic, using methods that use renewable energy, reducing textile waste, and considering the factory conditions and wages of the workers. Its underlying ethos: people and the planet are as important as profit.

Like sustainable fashion, ethical fashion focuses on each step of the supply chain, but its main focus is on the human impact the industry has. It considers the farmer who grows the raw materials, the worker in the factory, and even the sales assistant in the shop. The aim is to ensure that every person is treated fairly and paid properly. 

Simply put, sustainable refers to environmental impact and ethical to the human one. And while there may not be a conclusive definition for either, both terms can and should be used to help us determine authentic trustworthy brands that truly show us they care about the planet.

So, if shopping with ethical and sustainable brands is an option for you, it’s definitely worth the investment. 

The rise of circular fashion

Woman shopping on her phone
 “If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, re-designed or removed from production.” – Pete Seeger  

What is circular fashion, you ask? Simply put, circular fashion is about closing the production loop by considering both responsible manufacturing and the end-of-life of every garment, and placing equal importance on both.  

This more considered approach ensures that our clothing and other items avoid landfill by designing for longevity, removing non-recyclable materials from production, promoting reuse, and safely returning the materials to nature when they finally reach the end of their life. 

A major component of circular fashion, and one that has become hugely popular lately, is second hand shopping or recommerce, the reselling or renting of anything from tops and jeans, handbags and shoes, jackets and coats, even wedding and party dresses.

Thanks to websites like Depop, Vinted, and many others now popping up around the world  it’s now incredibly easy to sell or buy pre-loved clothes online. 

Circular fashion is not just about being prudent, it can also be a lot of fun. You can find a tonne of relatively cheap, one-of-a-kind, pre-loved items you can use to enhance your wardrobe. Or you might want to make a little extra income by selling your old stuff if it’s still in good nick. 

There are plenty of clothes out there already. So quite often thrifting makes more sense than buying new. And by reselling your clothes, you can prolong the lifespan of your unwanted garments, help reduce the amount of clothes being dumped into landfill each year, and make a little money at the same time. 

Sounds good to me!

Resurgence of mending or repairing old clothes

Woman repairing an old item of clothing

Whether it’s sustainable brand fashion, second hand garments, or made-to-order clothing, extending the lifespan of your wardrobe is a huge and positive step for the environment. 

Caring for and mending your clothing will extend its lifespan and ensure your favourite pieces stay with you for a long time.

Once you invest in your wardrobe, it’s easy enough, and can even be fun, to learn a few simple sewing techniques to mend your clothing. Not only will you ensure you can wear your favourites for longer, you will slow down your buying, save some money, and reduce waste.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with a needle and thread, check out some of the many online lessons, reach out to your local sewing shop or department store, or join a mending club. Not only are these clubs a good way to learn, you can meet people and have fun at the same time. 

If you’re buying a made-to-order garment, be sure to check the tailor’s guarantee, as they may offer a mending service. And some brands even offer free repairs on their products and will happily help you to fix any issues you might have!

We can all play a role in curbing the impact of fashion on our environment. And these four positive shifts can help guide us toward a more sustainable and mindful wardrobe!

If you’re thinking about upgrading your underwear drawer, be sure to check out our beautiful collection of consciously made bras and panties. Or if you'd like some more tips on how to create a more sustainable wardrobe, check out this article.

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Siobhán Dunphy

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.