Slow Fashion in the Modern Age

What is Slow Fashion?

In order to understand Slow Fashion, let’s address what Fast Fashion is. Fast Fashion, by definition, is n approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing that emphasizes making fashion trends cheaply and quickly available to consumers.

Slow Fashion is pretty much the opposite of that. It focuses on high quality clothing that is made all the while being mindful of ethics and sustainability. It’s actually often compared to the Slow Food movement.

How did we get here?

Our relationship with clothing has changed in the last few decades. We have become more disconnected; Our producers have moved miles and miles away. Transparency from companies has become clouded and dishonest.

Think about this with me - Years ago people would know exactly who their shoemaker was, they knew where their clothing and belongings came from, it was all (fairly) local! These products took time to create but would last for lifetimes because they were mindfully made with high quality materials. Clothing was actually seen as an heirloom that could be passed down through generations. Now, clothing pieces barely make it past a single season.

Why should I care?

We often think about what we put IN our body but not as much about what we put ON our bodies. Let’s slow down and see this through, together.

Fast Fashion affects us, the consumers, by creating a mindset of “MORE”. We’re told we need the next “bigger” and “better” thing. As a result, we get rid of our clothing before the life of the item expires. Fast Fashion also makes us believe that we’re saving money. We believe this because the pieces we buy tend to cost less upfront. In reality though, we’re spending more in the long run by having to replace lower quality items more often. Fast Fashion also influences the people making our clothing. Corporations are in pursuit of cheaper materials, as well as cheaper labor. A lot of overseas countries intentionally keep their wages low so that they can attract large corporations that seek cheap labor. In essence, it’s great for that country’s economy but in reality, this forces a culture of poverty. Not to mention, these overseas factories have loose regulations that promote inhumane working conditions and encourage child labor.

Fast Fashion alters the planet. The fashion industry is one of the highest contributors to our desperate problem with pollution. The lack of strict regulations on the chemicals used in the production of clothing, as well as their disposal, means that a lot of harmful chemicals are ending up in water reservoirs, streams, and oceans. Needless to say, the chemical exposure these factory workers have to tolerate is no less concerning. Since corporations are seeking to cut corners, the quality of materials decreases. Materials like Polyester have increased in usage because they’re cheap. The downside? Polyester is a microplastic that pretty much never breaks down. It ends up in our oceans and consequently, in our food. Did you know that all the Polyester ever created is still existent. Crazy, right?!

“Buy less. Choose well. Make it Last” - Vivienne Westwood

Some may argue that sustainable and ethical clothing (Slow Fashion) is way too expensive. Sure, there are some pieces that will cost you a little more upfront but not all. In the long run, these pieces will all last you way longer than your Fast Fashion pieces. The best part? There will be less replacing. This means less resources wasted to create another piece of clothing! Switching to Slow Fashion can also mean that you buy less. When you buy less, you have more room to make investments in high quality pieces that you absolutely love and that will last you decades to come! Clothing pieces that truly bring us joy!

If you’re looking to switch to a Slow Fashion wardrobe, I suggest starting slowly by swapping out key pieces. We still want to remain mindful of our current situation too. As you go, be sure to declutter but more importantly, donate and repurpose! You don’t want to create waste (throwing old clothes away) simply to get new, higher quality pieces. 

About the Author:

Dana Johnson is a Mindful-Living and Sustainability Blogger in Austin, TX. She encourages inward growth and believes that our inner wellness directly impacts our relationship with the environment, and those around us.