Slow fashion is a term we are hearing increasingly often within the fashion industry and with the number of slow fashion labels on the rise, it seems people are enthusiastic about leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
January 9, 2022
Slow fashion is a term we are hearing increasingly often within the fashion industry. The number of slow fashion labels is growing rapidly, and it seems people are enthusiastic about shopping with these brands.
But, what is slow fashion? And why does this revolutionary term hold so much weight? As society continues to develop a more eco-conscious attitude, new words and phrases get thrown into the mix. Is slow fashion the same as sustainable fashion? And if not, what's the difference?
We’re sharing all there is to know on the topic in this article along with why we think both are valuable when protecting the environment and potentially revolutionising the industry.
What is slow fashion?
The easiest way to understand slow fashion is in relation to fast fashion. Fast fashion prioritises churning out large quantities of the same clothing made from poor-quality, unsustainable materials while slow fashion takes the opposite approach. It refers to a mode of creation whereby fashion designers and makers aim to create long-lasting, individual, high-quality garments. Instead of purchasing several items, slow fashion encourages buying less and investing in higher quality materials that last a long time. They go for the the quality over quantity approach.
Why is fast fashion harmful?
To understand the importance of slow fashion, we first need to establish why fast fashion is so harmful. These unsustainable clothes and accessories are all created with the intention of pushing sales. The easiest way to make money from these items is to use cheap labour and materials. Rather than creating on-demand, fast fashion brands create thousands of their products before they've even hit the stores or websites. Many of these clothes won't sell due to fashion trends changing so quickly and unsold items will be disposed of or destroyed.
The small percentage of garments that are sold will likely be worn a few times before being damaged due to their low quality make up. If they are not disposed of correctly they will add more toxic, non-biodegradable materials into the earth causing irreversible damage.
How to slow down fashion consumption
As the destructive fast fashion cycle continues to spin, it is important to note that the giant corporations that encourage this detrimental style of consumption are multi-million dollar operations with a lot of power. But let’s not forget that the consumer has power too. Why not choose to reduce the amount of clothes you buy, be more mindful of your purchases and lets show that we care about the social, economic and environmental impact of the fashion industry. Small changes can lead to a much larger impact. Lets take a stand against fast fashion.
Here are a few ways you can slow down your clothing consumption:
You can slow down your clothing consumption by checking the materials of a garment or accessory before you buy it. This will allow you to understand the quality of an item and its environmental impact. A polyester t-shirt is unlikely to have a long lifespan and will release millions of microplastics during its lifetime. Once disposed of, this same t-shirt will release toxic fumes that pollute and damage our atmosphere. In contrast, an organic cotton t-shirt will last longer and can be composted, returning it to the earth when it’s no longer suitable for wearing.
Shop second hand
Alternatively, a more budget-friendly way of slowing down your fashion consumption is to shop second hand. Although many of these clothes will still have dangerous microplastics, purchasing second hand reduces the demand for clothing manufacturing. Second-hand shopping extends the lifespan of existing clothes and can enrich your wardrobe with vintage and one of a kind garments.
Research brands before you buy
With so many brands greenwashing, it can be hard to know which businesses are led by an eco-friendly initiative and which are not. Before you purchase a new item, investigate the brand you're buying from. Many brands will claim they're kind to the planet, but is this true? Make sure to read the information provided on their websites, but also use third-party sites. Certifications and directories such as The Ethical Consumer and GOTS, these ensure brands implement the eco-friendly initiatives that they promise. Engaging more with your purchases encourages you to slow down and consider the wider impact of our investments.
Consider what you already own
How many times have you bought a new dress or top only to realise that you already have a similar one already. It is something that we are all guilty of and we must consider our current wardrobe situation before we make a new purchase in future.
If I need to invest in clothing for an event or an occasion, I'll choose to save up and shop with a slow fashion brand that can make the ideal garment for me or shop with a sustainable brand that uses recycled materials.
Slow fashion helps to reduce the amount of textile waste, carbon emissions and plastic pollution in the world and these brands are led by an environmentally-friendly ethos. Small changes like being more mindful of what you purchase along with choosing ethical, sustainable brands will help lead the way to revolutionising the fashion industry. As with all elements of the sustainability movement, progress is better than perfection. Implementing a few of these changes to your regular shopping and styling habits can make all the difference.
If you're serious about living a more sustainable lifestyle and learning more about the fight against fast fashion, you might also be interested in our tips to create a more sustainable wardrobe.