If you take a trip down memory lane, you’d be able to recall the takeaway from the story “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
Sure, fast and steady stays ahead of others, but it’s slow and steady who wins the race. This stands true even in contemporary times, especially in the fashion industry.
Like fast food, fast fashion brands may be ruling the fashion industry, but they are awful for both humans and the planet.
Inspired by the slow food movement, the clothing counterpart movement was introduced in 2007 as a response to the fast fashion industry, which was damaging the environment in numerous ways. The good thing about slow fashion brands is that it has survived despite all the odds.
So, do you wish to join the slow fashion campaign? Then join us as we stroll down the runway, letting out everything you need to know about this sustainable fashion movement before becoming a part of it.
Slow Fashion: What Does It Mean And How To Be Part Of It
Are you a shopaholic who cannot resist the urge to buy trendy clothes at Zara or H&M? Jumping on the fast fashion bandwagon by wearing trendy outfits will help you earn the tag of a fashionista. But what’s lesser known is that you’re indirectly promoting labor exploitations and contributing to environmental damage.
The slow fashion movement was launched in response to the fast fashion movement, where consumers splurge money to get their hands on clothes in vogue.
Fast fashion giants know that the fear of missing out (FOMO) triggers people to spend extravagantly on trendy clothes. Thus, they have been successful in building a profitable business by introducing something new every week, tempting people to spend their money trying to keep up with the latest trends.
Slow Fashion– What Is It Exactly?
Remember your childhood days when you went shopping with your parents? No matter how much you’d convince them to buy you a new pair of shoes or jeans, they didn’t give in.
That’s exactly what slow fashion means– being thoughtful, logical, and holistic when it comes to choosing clothes.
Slow fashion encourages the practice of prioritizing quality over quantity. Not just that, but it also urges people to think about whether the clothes have been manufactured ethically or not.
As opposed to fast fashion, slow fashion is rooted in responsibility and quality instead of time and money.
What Is Fast Fashion?– The Antithesis Of Slow Fashion
Today, fast fashion has led to a downward spiral in quality; but even then, it’s deep-seated in the textile industry.
The business model of fast fashion brands revolves around creating more clothes for consumers trying to stay on-trend. They manufacture whole new collections weekly and sell them at a throw-away price to get consumers hooked.
For a budget-minded shopper, this is no less than a dream come true. But there are a lot of dark secrets that consumers are still not aware of about the fast fashion industry.
To begin with, fast fashion brands rely on cheap labor from third-world countries for the production of clothing in the quickest way possible. Fast fashion giants take unfair advantage of the laborers by making them work in terrible conditions. In addition, they aren’t paid a fair sum for the services rendered.
Low-quality synthetic fabrics are produced at breakneck speeds to manufacture clothes and meet consumers’ demands. Thus, the fabric manufacturing process contributes to a lot of environmental damage.
Sadly, most clothes are made of non-biodegradable fabrics– so they stay in landfills for hundreds of years without breaking down after getting dumped due to the launch of fresh collections.
The Emergence Of The Slow Fashion Movement
Kate Fletcher, a professor, consultant, designer, and author, is the genius behind the emergence of the slow fashion movement.
It was in 2007 that Fletcher published an impactful essay in The Ecologist to advocate for a slower approach to fashion. Anyhow, the movement had little impact until a tragedy occurred in a textile plant in Bangladesh in 2013.
Her approach to the slow fashion movement was inspired by the slow food movement, which originated in 1986. For her, slow fashion was a “quality-based” strategy, emphasizing thoughtfulness and responsibility.
Under the slow fashion system, brands could continue to make profits from making stylish clothing, but they must respect the environment and treat workers fairly.
Further, she goes on to explain that because of this approach, every piece of clothing will cost more, but it will last a lifetime due to the style and quality. Though consumers will have to fork out extra dollars, they can rest assured that they are paying for quality items that won’t go out of style.
Why Does Slow Fashion Matter?
Fast fashion brands revamp their stocks almost every week, depending upon the demands of their products.
Let’s take it this way– you bought a peplum dress that was on sale for $10 last week. Again, this week ZARA announced a 30 to 50% sale at their retail outlet on all clothing. Now, who wouldn’t be tempted to grab a few jackets, sweatshirts, gilets, or puffer jackets at a steal? – Of course, anyone! Like this, you may spend more on clothes than you’d do if there weren’t a sale.
For this reason, the slow fashion movement is important, so you stop chasing the trend and be mindful when it comes to clothing. Here’s why the slow fashion approach matters:
1. More Clothes Are Ending Up In The Landfill
Did you know that clothing similar to the size of a garbage truck is being dumped in landfills every second? That’s a whopping amount– enough to fill 1.5 Empire State Buildings!
Even if the clothes are made of natural fibers, they don’t break down when disposed of under mounds of plastic. Conversely, they decompose anaerobically, which is why they release methane gas– the most powerful greenhouse gas.
2. We Are Buying More Clothes Than We Need
In 2014, we purchased an average of 60% more attires than we bought years ago in 2000. Sadly, most of us were too quick to dispose of clothes rather than being sustainable and using them for a few years or at least a year.
Impulsive buying habits and our fickle sense of fashion are to be blamed for wasting money on clothes we didn’t need. Part of the blame also lies on fast fashion, whose constantly evolving trends convince us that the dress or shirt we bought last week is out of style.
Not to forget, planned degradation and cheap manufacturing processes are equally responsible for our compulsive buying habits.
3. Gallons Of Water Is Needed To Manufacture One Cotton Shirt
After wearing your white cotton shirt a few times, you may ditch it because it is no longer hip. But would you do the same if we told you that nearly 2,700 liters of water are needed to manufacture one cotton shirt?
If that one shirt wasn’t made, those 2,700 liters of water could have supported a hydrated person for two and a half years.
4. Fast Fashion Means Unfair Wages
Fast fashion brands exploit their workers notoriously. In fact, one study claims that garment workers in Bangladesh, particularly women, earn only $96 per month– yes, that’s the sum they receive for working in dangerous factories. The money they take home is nowhere near the efforts they put in to make attires that are sold for hundreds on the market.
Another report from 2018 pointed out that forced labor and child labor were rampant in the fashion industry of Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, China, and the Philippines.
How Can You Be A Part Of The Slow Fashion Movement As A Consumer
Fast fashion is characterized by quantity, and garment factory workers are exploited without fair compensation. So, if you wish to lessen the negative impacts your wardrobe choices are having on the world, turning to the slow fashion movement would be the best bet.
Remember, being a part of the slow fashion movement requires only a change in your purchasing decisions and shopping practices rather than style. There are several things you can do to be an advocate of the slow fashion movement, which are as follows:
1. Buy Less And Only Sustainable Clothing
Now that you know the reality of fast fashion brands, don’t just toss your branded clothes in the bin in frustration. The transition from fast to slow fashion brands must be slow– make sure you wear all the clothes you’ve purchased as much as possible to reduce waste.
When shopping for clothes, look for clothes made of sustainably sourced fabrics because they lessen post-consumer textile waste. Sustainable clothing isn’t limited to the material used in manufacturing, but you must make sure that the brand you’re considering provides healthy working conditions to its workers.
2. Don’t Fall For Cheap Price Tags
Everyone knows that you get what you pay for, but even then, people tend to pick clothes with a low price tag.
Earlier, we didn’t have access to as much clothing as we have today at dirt-cheap prices. As a consumer, you must understand that low-priced clothing is manufactured with low-quality fabrics.
Like, a polyester attire sold for $20 won’t be as long-lasting as its counterpart that comes with a $70 price tag. Similar to other fabrics, polyester varies in quality and durability– so, of course, the cheapest polyester fabric won’t last long. Not just that, but cheap fabrics are processed cheaply to make sure they don’t exceed the set budget.
Conversely, the clothes of slow fashion brands come with a steep price tag because they are made of high-quality fabrics that contribute to their longevity.
3. Read Labels
The slow, sustainable fashion industry loves eco-friendly materials, whereas fast fashion uses synthetic fibers.
Jeans, shirts, sweaters,s or jumpsuits– every garment comes with a label that divulges information about the raw materials used in the manufacturing process. So, make sure you take a look at the label before buying attire.
Instead of polyester, lycra, acrylic, and spandex, opt for eco-friendly fabrics like hemp fabric and organic cotton or clothes made from recycled materials.
4. Shop Differently
You don’t always have to open Shein and Amazon or rush to a shopping mall to purchase clothes to transform your wardrobe. Instead, get creative and search for different ways whenever you need to buy something to wear.
Here are a few ideas that you must consider when joining the slow fashion movement.
i. Look for small boutiques, local clothing, and apparel manufacturing brands to purchase clothing.
ii. Search for dress rental and online clothing companies if you wear clothes only a couple of times before disposing of them.
iii. Host a clothing swap with your friends because one friend’s fashion faux pas is another’s fierce getup.
How Can You Be A Part Of The Slow Fashion Movement As A Brand
Here are two recommendations that you can adopt to create a more sustainable fashion industry as a slow fashion brand owner.
1. Sell Quality Garments And Timeless Pieces
Slow fashion brands are focused on better quality garments, unlike fast fashion, which attaches importance to quantity. To manufacture long-lasting pieces, you must use high-quality materials and state-of-the-art methods.
Instead of making trendy clothes, focus on creating timeless pieces that can stay in your customers’ wardrobes for years.
2. Create A Sustainable And Ethical Production Process
Sustainable clothing doesn’t end with the fabric; instead, it encompasses the production process too. So, slow fashion brands must find ingenious ways to make their manufacturing process more ethical and sustainable and pay fair wages to their workers. Also, slow fashion clothes suppliers must look for ways to minimize waste during production to reduce their carbon footprint.
Wrapping It Up
Over the years, sustainable fashion, or slow fashion, has become more popular than it had ever been in the past. As a result, brands are forced to adopt sustainable practices when it comes to manufacturing clothes.
In this regard, OM The Brand, Together Segal, Halsduk and BIANKALÚ deserve mention because they are at the forefront of the slow fashion movement.
To keep up with the emerging trends, fast fashion brands have damaged the planet to a great extent. But now is the time to adopt the slow fashion approach and change our shopping habits, so we can save the planet from an environmental catastrophe.
That’s all we have for you today. Let’s start embracing slow fashion so that Katniss Everdeen’s dress is the only thing that catches fire, not the environment!