Slow fashion, fast fashion, sustainable fashion – these are buzz words of the recent decades. Beyond the semantics, these words talk to our conscience. Asks us to be more responsible in our garment buying choices. Here is how.
Fashion changes ruthlessly year after year, season after season and the fashion industry is ever ready to cater to the demands of the consumers who ask for more and more. Fashion shows are conducted several times a year. The clothes that are out of fashion are disposed of as easily as they are made. Fast fashion was in fashion. No one cared that the earth is overburdened or that many lives are destroyed in this quest for variety and greed. No one cared for the people behind the clothing they wore. Until the slow fashion movement!
Slow fashion is a movement that started as an alternative to fast, disposable fashion. Up until then, we ignored the fact that the fashion industry was doing its best to destroy the earth’s ecosystem, encouraging unfair trade practices for third world countries, not paying a fair wage to a lot of employees, using small kids as employees, and exploiting adult employees to their maximum, even to the point of ignoring the health implications of some of the processes in the textile and garment industry. No one cared about what went into the making of cheap clothes that they bought and discarded.
Emergence of Slow Fashion
The term ‘ slow fashion’ was used by Kate Fletcher, who is a researcher, author, and design activist in 2007, in her article that she wrote for the Ecologist. But before that, the British fashion designer Katharine Hamnett gave a speech at the United Nations about the environmental impacts of fashion. She is one of the first designers to combine fashion with environmental activism.
The 20th century witnessed fast fashion, a highly exploitative business model, taking the world by a whirlwind. Clothes were produced on a massive scale using inexpensive labor and new materials like polyester and nylon were heavily used since they were cheap compared to their natural or organic counterparts.
Fast fashion also caused overbuying of clothes that were never fully utilized and thrown away to adopt new fashion trends. The effect of fast fashion on the environment and society couldn’t go unnoticed when it began to exploit laborers, pollute the water resources and the very air that we breathe.
Therefore, for the good of the planet and the people, some of the brands decided to put a thoughtful and intentional break and adopt practices that produced good quality garments that last longer, are always wearable, involves local artisans, and are produced respecting the planet, people and animals. It strives to make people aware of the effects of mindless consumption, and their impact on the society thus slowing down the fashion industry into taking a look back and changing their old ways.
Features of Slow Fashion
The major features of slow fashion are the following:
- Clothes are made of good quality natural fabrics
- Production is made locally involving local artisans
- Produce in smaller batches stocking fewer items
- The production chain is transparent
- Quality is given importance over quantity
- Workforce is not exploited
- Designs focus on timeless trends
- Products are sustainable.
- Organically made products are encouraged.
What you can do for Slow fashion and its benefits
Slow fashion is a call for consumers too to make thoughtful and wise buying decisions. Impulsive buying and mindless consumerism are the opposites of slow fashion.
Slow fashion urges you to encourage local produce and artisans by shopping local. Also, the consumers are encouraged to invest in timeless designs made of good quality lasting fabric produced in a fair and sustainable environment by companies dedicated to ethical practices.
Today, many fashion designers and brands have adopted slow fashion as their business model. The slow fashion movement is integrated into the processes of brands such as Cultural Fibres, Encircled, A.BCH, Elle Evans, Bozena Jankowska, Unspun, 7 Weaves, Finisterre, Everlane, and Thought Clothing. If you are eager to be a part of this movement, you can shop products from these brands.
Slow fashion doesnot mean that the fashion element is ignored for sustainability. Everyone wants to wear great clothes and slow fashion should still be fashionable. You can still buy fashionable clothes but ensure that they are not made at the cost of earth and its less fortunate inhabitants. Instead of making environmental and social issues a talk over a cup of coffee, let us be more responsible towards our planet and rethink our relationship to clothes and fashion.