Slow fashion is not a design style – it’s a movement. If you haven’t heard of slow fashion yet, keep your ears peeled because it’s only going to become more prominent in the coming months/years. In today’s fashion world, fashion is all about creating mass produced, cheap, frankly garbage clothing – what we call “fast fashion.” A designer can create a style, and in just a couple of weeks it goes from the sketchpad to the retail floor. What’s the problem, right? Cheap, accessible clothes made in the practical snap of a finger? Sounds amazing! Well, fast fashion has a number of concerning drawbacks. From the poor treatment of the laborers making these garments abroad, to the damage fast fashion causes to the earth, it’s a bad equation. Add in that fact that as consumers we buy a lot more than we need, when you really think about fast fashion there is no doubt that things need to change.
The Problem with Fast Fashion
When it comes to sustainability, the fashion industry has a lot to answer for. Clothing manufacturers exhaust natural resources and overuse fossil fuels in the name of profit above all else. Clothing manufacturers are wasting fresh water just to water cotton crops for clothes. They also overuse pesticides. If we don’t change our behavior as consumers, the impact on the environment and our global society will only get worse, as more manufacturers join the parade and the population grows. Unless we make changes now, the momentum of this destruction could be hard to unwind.
The Solution: Slow Fashion
The slow fashion movement is a response to the damages of fast fashion. The slow fashion movement is about being aware, green, and ethical in all of our purchasing decisions. Think slow! Value quality production over speed and cheapest. Value quality products instead of cheap materials and bargain bin prices. Finally, care about the environment in your purchasing decisions.
Slow Fashion Values
If you are ready to transform your shopping habits, the following four values should be top of mind:
The Big Picture Matters. Remember that you are one person in an interconnected world, and everything you do – what you wear, where you shop – matters. When you keep the bigger picture in mind – environment, economy, social – you might find yourself making different purchasing decisions.
Slow Production and Consumption. Slow fashion goes beyond retail and clothing. With less new fashion production and reduced use of raw materials, eco-systems can better be regenerated. Also, lower demand allows factories to work on slower, more reasonable production schedules, which will absolutely improve conditions for workers.
Value Diversity. Social, ecological, and cultural diversity matters! It’s time to start caring about fair trade and buying second-hand/vintage clothing. Also, shop at independent designers and choose traditional methods of textile-making.
Respect People. Respect everyone, from the cotton farmers to the factory workers to those involved in shipping and distribution. When you respect people and put faces to the hard work that goes into every piece of apparel you wear, it is easier to make ethical shopping decisions.