Simply put, slow fashion is the polar opposite of fast fashion. It entails a fashion awareness and approach that takes into account the processes and resources required to make clothing. It promotes the purchase of higher-quality garments that will last longer, as well as the ethical treatment of people, animals, and the environment.
Slow fashion and sustainable or ethical fashion, in reality, have a lot in common. They are sister movements that adhere to the same general principles. The main difference between slow fashion and fast fashion is that it focuses on reducing consumption and production in particular.
There are numerous terms in the sustainable fashion world, and it’s easy to become confused—especially when some of them appear to blend together! So, what is slow fashion, and how does it differ from sustainable fashion? We’re here to decipher the term for you and explain why slowing fashion down is critical for a fashion industry that leaves a smaller carbon footprint for future generations.
The concern with fashion
Before we get into the area of Slow Fashion, let’s scan the exact concern with the fashion industry.
The fashion industry accounts for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions, producing five times more CO2 than the aviation industry. However, carbon emissions are not the only environmental threat posed by the industry.
Today’s society encourages us to consume more quickly than ever before. We can now afford to simply discard products we no longer want and replace them instantly with little impact on our wallets thanks to mass production.As a result, products have a shorter life expectancy and are of lower quality. The fashion industry is one of the worst of its kind, with mass production taking place on an unsustainable scale.The clothing and textile industry is estimated to emit approximately 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, significantly contributing to global warming.
Excessive amounts of water are required to grow the necessary raw materials, and the use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals, such as fabric dyes, harms soil, biodiversity, and local communities’ water sources.
The Exact Meaning of Slow Fashion
Kate Fletcher, an author, design activist, and professor, was the first to coin the term. Slow fashion, according to her, is defined by its focus on quality rather than time.Other slow fashion pioneers point out that the movement promotes slower production, integrates sustainability and ethics, and ultimately encourages consumers to invest in well-made and long-lasting clothing.Slow fashion combines a brand’s practises with a customer’s shopping habits, whereas ethical and sustainable fashion all describe efforts toward an aspirational goal—rethinking our relationship with clothes.The movement strives to create an industry that benefits both the planet and all people. In an ideal world, and hopefully soon, fashion would simply be slow fashion.
Fast fashion companies spit out new collections almost every week, and less than 1% of all clothing materials are recycled into new garments. This model is turned on its head by slow fashion.
Slow fashion brands aim to reduce the amount of textile waste in our landfills by using slower production schedules, small-batch collections, and zero waste designs. Instead of chasing trends, these brands create classic and versatile pieces by combining enduring styles with layering options.
Customers are encouraged to create minimalist wardrobes and invest in garments that they will keep for a lifetime as a result of this.Slow fashion brands, in addition to caring for the environment through thoughtful design, produce clothing in-house or locally, giving them complete control over the supply chain process and labour conditions. There is no rush to scale quickly or to create items that will appeal to the masses.
How to join the Slow Fashion movement?
Slow fashion has a low entry barrier—anyone can join the movement. You don’t even need to buy new clothes! Here are a few ways you can help:
- Reminisce your closet memories: Examine your closet and recall the origins of some of your favourite pieces. This can be as simple as recalling a time when you spilled spaghetti on (and then saved!) your white t-shirt, or as grand as making room for a piece of clothing passed down from a loved one.
- Create a capsule wardrobe: This wardrobe method requires you to be honest with yourself about what clothing makes sense for your lifestyle. A capsule wardrobe is made up of only a few items. Your clothes must be both functional and fashionable.
- Indulge in sensible purchases:Begin by resisting the urge to buy on the spur of the moment. Before splurging on a new pair of shoes, call a friend or consult your current wardrobe before purchasing an item that will not go with anything you own.When you’re ready to buy something new, consider checking out secondhand apps or thrift stores first.
- Seek the advice of experts: Here are a few examples to get you started: Clothing Brands That Are Ethical & Sustainable, Ethical Shoes, Affordable (Ethical) Clothing Brands, and Organic Clothing Brands
- Conduct some research: If you come across a new slow fashion brand, take the time to research the company and make sure you’re investing your money wisely. Investigate the brand’s website for information on the design process.Is it slow, long-term, and ethical for all parties involved? Is the brand’s manufacturing process and location disclosed? How many collections does the brand release each year?Answering these and similar questions will reveal whether a company practises what it preaches. When in doubt, send the brand an email or reach out on social media!
How to Repel Fast Fashion?
Advocating for the slow fashion movement includes anti-fast fashion activism. Brands have no reason to change their supply chains if they do not hear from their customers.Don’t be discouraged if you can’t afford to buy every fancy minimalist garment; you can still help push for fair fashion by using your voice. Here’s how to do it:
Do you go to the mall?
Inquire about the brand’s sustainable practises and ethical supply chain efforts at your favourite fast fashion retailer. Employees are unlikely to have any information for you; however, you will begin an important conversation that may spread up the management chain. The more people who ask questions, the more likely it is that the company will listen.
Do you enjoy social media?
Ask fast fashion brands about their manufacturing practices on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Fashion Revolution provides an excellent model for this.
Sent Emails or find out more from brand owners by asking the following questions
- How do you pack and ship your clothes?
- Does your company give back or support any charitable causes?
- Where do you get your textile materials from?
- Could you please provide a detailed breakdown of your supply chain?
- Do you have a third-party auditing your factories on a regular basis?
What are the distinguishing features of Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion is a movement that aims to improve sustainability by challenging the industry’s social cultures and encouraging both retailers and consumers to adopt a more ethical approach to fashion.As the industry accelerates and, with it, its carbon footprint, there has never been a more important time to think about your purchasing decisions.
The Slow Fashion shows the following distinguishing features:
- Made from high-quality, environmentally friendly materials such as linen
- Garments are more classic than trendy.
- Frequently sold in smaller (local) stores rather than large chain stores.
- Garments that are sourced, manufactured, and sold locally
- Few, distinct styles per collection, released twice or no more than three times per year, or a permanent season less collection
- Frequently made-to-order in order to reduce wasteful production.
Slow brands that are a must-have
These brands follow fair practises in terms of environmental, ethical, and animal impact and are excellent places to start if you’re looking for some slow fashion staples.
A.BCH is a Melbourne-based, Australian-made fashion label for people who care about the origins of their clothing.It makes use of materials that are renewable, organic, and recycled. Its goal is to change the way people buy, wear, and dispose of clothing and it even includes a digital care manual with every purchase to assist you keep the clothes looking new and fabulous for a long time Find the range in XS-XL sizes, or customise to fit you!
Ships To: Worldwide
Shop Online: https://abch.world/
OhSevenDays was founded by Australian-Canadian Megan Mummery to promote slow fashion and the “power of circularity.”The Istanbul-based label upcycles end-of-roll fabrics from the city’s garment factories to create sharp, everyday womenswear that is both wearable and ethical. Essentially, it creates slow fashion from fast fashion leftovers!OhSevenDays clothing is available in sizes XS-XL, as well as custom sizing.
Shop online: https://ohsevendays.com/
Asket does not design for seasons; it designs for eternity. Since 2015, the brand has been perfecting the slow fashion wardrobe one piece at a time, without compromise and with love. Sizes XS-XL are available.
Shop online: https://www.asket.com
ARIELLE is a sustainable clothing brand that is dedicated to organic, fair-trade operations, and plastic-free packaging and production. The brand also emphasizes sustainable textiles and domestic manufacturing, both of which are hallmarks of slow fashion brands. It is available in sizes XS-L.
Shop Online: https://shop-arielle.com/
TWOTHIRDS sees itself as a brand for people who are aware of the immense value of our oceans but also thirst for style and substance. They estimate how many pieces they will sell from one product using their Pre-Order system: they, therefore, produce what they sell, which is another great slow fashion approach. The clothes are available in sizes XS-L.
Shop Online: https://twothirds.com/
6. Elle Evans
Elle Evans Swimwear, founded in 2013, creates beautiful, sustainable swimwear and activewear for people who care about fashion and the future. The brand makes use of post-consumer waste fabrics and tracks the entire supply chain. The collection is available in sizes XS-3XL.
Shop Online: https://www.elleevansswimwear.com.au
7. BOZENA JANKOWSKA
Bozena Jankowska is a London-based label founded in 2016 by BozenaJankowska, the label’s founder and creative director. The label began with a focus on small capsule collections that were inspired by and told the storey of critical social and environmental issues, driven by her passion for sustainability. The collection is available in UK sizes 6-14
Shop Online: https://www.bozenajankowska.com
Unspun is an American brand that is working to create a denim world that reduces global carbon emissions by 1% through a zero-inventory and low-waste process. Its product sizing is completely customizable, ensuring that you always find the perfect fit.
Shop Online: https://unspun.io/
LANIUS’s maxims are “Love Fashion, Think Organic, Be Responsible.” The German label makes use of environmentally friendly materials such as GOTS certified cotton. LANIUS’s facilities are all SA8000 certified, and the company is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. LANIUS clothing is available in European sizes 34-44.
10. THE R COLLECTIVE
The R Collective’s womenswear collections are created by reusing rescued excess materials from well-known luxury brands and manufacturers. The brand makes extensive use of eco-friendly materials, reducing the amount of chemicals, water, and wastewater used in production. It also ensures that a living wage is paid in its supply chain, which is why we rated it ‘Great!’ The clothes are available in two sizes: XS-S and M-L.
Shop Online: https://thercollective.com/
The values that comprise the slow fashion movement suggest a complete overhaul of consumption and production, from high-end to small-scale designers. As we have seen, this approach has inspired many changes in recent years, most notably in clothing production, but also in consumer behaviour.
And, while support for slow fashion is growing, there is still a long way to go. To truly support the slow fashion movement, we must be a part of the growing movement of people who are looking beyond the “appeal” of fast fashion’s low cost and high turnover.By simplifying our wardrobes, we can maintain awareness of what a brand truly represents and focus on quality rather than quantity. Isn’t it true that “less is more”?