The international fashion industry depends on global mass production where garments pass through different transformations from the design stage, production, and finally to the retail shops in only a few days or weeks.
As it were, retailers sell the latest fashion trends at meager prices, customers are easily moved to buy more than they will ever need.
However, this attitude comes with a huge price tag on both the environment and workers in the clothing supply chain.
It is advised that you try a different approach on the fashion front — an approach that both mother nature and you would like — the time to join the slow fashion movement is now.
In 2007 while working for the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK Kate Fletcher coined the term “Slow Fashion.”
This movement is not a type of seasonal vogue that comes and goes, but it is a sustainable fashion trend that is becoming more and more popular.
The Slow Fashion philosophy is founded on the same principles as that of the Slow Food Movement. And it acts as the alternative to mass-produced clothing AKA “Fast-Fashion.”
At first, the movement was designed to cast aside all kind of mass-produced clothing, preferring only the clothing made by human hands, but it has grown to be practiced in various ways and have included many interpretations.
Some examples of slow fashion practices include:
1: Opposing and boycotting mass-produced fashion (AKA “Fast-Fashion”).
2: Choosing artisan products to support fair trade, smaller businesses, and locally made garments.
3: Buying vintage or secondhand clothing and donating unwanted clothes.
4: Choosing clothes that are ethically made, sustainable or recycled fabrics.
5: Choosing quality garments that transcend trends, will last longer and be repairable.
6: Making clothes yourself – customizing, making, altering, mending, and up-cycling your clothing.
7: Slowing the degree of fashion consumption by buying fewer clothes.
The Slow Fashion movement is a unifying factor of all the “eco”, “green”, “sustainable”, and “ethical” fashion movements.
The movement encourages education about the clothing industry’s impact and connection on the environment and depleting resources, slowing of the supply chain to reduce the number of seasons and trends.
Slow fashion encourages quality production, and helps return a higher value to garments removing the image of disposability of fashion.
The important key phrase that have been regularly associated with Slow Fashion is “quality over quantity.” This keyword is mostly used to summarize the basic principles of slowing down the rate of garment consumption by choosing clothing that last longer.
Slow Fashion Brands
The fashion industry’s carbon footprint is not a joke. Its energy-intensive production and long supply chains consume more energy than the airline and shipping industries combined and contribute to ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the UN. But, thankfully for lots of eco-conscious fashion enthusiasts and Mother nature, a lot more slow, sustainable fashion brands are coming up, proving that one does not have to sacrifice style for the sake of nature.
Slow fashion is all about quality over quantity. The most sustainable way to buy clothing is to buy timeless garments you will wear for a long period regardless season, rather than buying only trendy pieces that can be out of style before you wear them three times. Also, try to choose only the brands that are making a conscious effort to reduce their footprints.
Ethical fashion is a categorical term to describe ethical fashion production, design, retail, and purchasing. The term covers a wide range of issues such as exploitation, working conditions, fair trade, the environment, sustainable production, and animal welfare.
Why is Ethical Fashion needed?
Globalization means that materials and labor can be purchased in different parts of the world where costs are meager. Also, the mechanized process of growing cotton mean that fabrics can be produced cheaply and quickly, and in huge quantities. All these savings add up and are passed on to the customers, this means that high street fashion garments are available at low prices, and much of them are regarded as disposable.
However, ethical fashion enthusiasts would argue that all of this has a cost that cannot be seen on the price tag.
The aim of ethical fashion is to tackle the problems it sees with the way the fashion industry operates currently, such as environmental damage, exploitative labor, animal cruelty, the use of hazardous chemicals, and waste.
Slow clothing is a philosophy. This philosophy is a way of thinking about how we shop, wear, and care for our clothes, so that they can bring value, meaning, and joy to us every day. This thinking is based on the idea that clothes do for us on the outside what food does for us on the inside. The clothes we buy warm and protect our bodies and influence the way we feel and present ourselves to the world.
Slow clothing sees the clothes we wear from a wellbeing and health angle rather than fashion context. The philosophy is that we need to change the way we dress, to live lightly on Earth through the everyday practice of how we wear and care for our clothes.
Slow clothing is the antithesis of fast fashion. It considers the ethics and sustainability of garments production, values artisan skills, and provenance while focusing on comfort, timeless style, and connection. It is about ethical, creative, thoughtful, and sustainable ways to enjoy the clothes we wear every day while minimizing our material footprint on the world.
Slow clothing can be detailed through ten simple approaches – think, natural, local, quality, care, make, few, adapt, revive, and salvage.
The slow clothing philosophy is a process of thinking about how we can survive and thrive in a material world and become more conscious of what we are wearing.
Slow clothing is about we – the wearers – taking action to buy, use, and discard clothing in ways that minimize our material footprint. It includes a manifesto of actions and choices: think, natural, quality, local, few, care, make, revive, adapt, and salvage.
Rethinking our clothing culture is very important to turning the tide on the exploitation of garment workers caught within global supply-chain empires that promote fast and wasteful consumption.
Can you adopt slow fashion on a budget?
See these tips for adopting slow fashion on a budget from Audrey Coyne: