What is slow fashion and why do we need it? To address this, perhaps it would make more sense to first discuss the topic of fast fashion. The term fast fashion implies two components- high output of product, and often consequently, low quality of product. The result is a constant rotation of new collections of clothing, some companies even dropping these collections every week of the year. This industry can be comparable to fast food in terms of production speed and lack of quality.
But the rapacious tendencies of the fast fashion industry do more than provide an overwhelming carousel of options for the public. The nature of creating 50-52 “seasons” of clothing a year creates byproducts that impact both the environment and social standards.
The fast fashion industry produces consequences such as greenhouse gas emissions, water toxicity, and land pollution. From constant and excessive factory production of clothing, the harmful GHG carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere. Other repercussions include polluting waterways with toxic dyes and microplastics. Additionally, precious land resources are quite literally transformed into wastelands to accommodate discarded clothing among other products and food that we throw out.
Clothing that comes from fast fashion often falls into the category of planned obsolescence. The term “planned obsolescence” refers to companies purposefully creating products that last short amounts of time. This is the base concept of how the fast fashion industry functions and contributes to the 5% of gently worn clothing that resides in landfills. This also adds to negative mindsets that we always need to have the newest trend, lest we become social pariahs.
The antidote for fast fashion is slow fashion. Slow fashion incorporates thoughtful, sustainable practices within the fashion industry. The focus is on quality as opposed to time. This ensures clothing can last a lifetime. Slow fashion encourages investments, and if allowed, can result in infinite chicness, monetary savings, and a sustainable future. Here are three ways to incorporate slow fashion into your life!
First Effective Way to Choose Slow Fashion: Shop Your Own Closet!
The most sustainable, “slowest” fashion decision you can make is to wear what you already own! This can often be a struggle for fashionistas who constantly have “nothing to wear.” However, this can be an opportunity to creatively expand your wardrobe while saving money and the future. You might be surprised how pairing unlikely shapes, colors, and patterns can make a confident-boosting outfit. One of our favorite resources is Hanna Lee Style, a Chicago stylist who specializes in creating new outfits from an old wardrobe. Check out her site for more ideas.
Second Effective Way to Choose Slow Fashion: Mending Over Spending
The instinct to throw away broken or “unusable” items in this society is strong in all of us. This is no different when it comes to our clothing. But slow fashion is all about conservation of wardrobes. Fixing small holes or tears is imperative to maintain a slow fashion wardrobe. Finding a trusted tailoring service can make this process so easy.
Tad More Tailoring provides in-store tailoring and mending in Rockford, IL, but also offers online tailoring services for the whole nation. This adds a level of convenience that slow fashion has never had before. Going past mending, online tailoring services can also adjust sizing like letting pants out at the waist, tapering, or taking in a shirt. Further, reimagining “outdated” pieces can update a wardrobe with some simple stitches. Some ideas include removing sleeves from dresses, adding patches to jackets or jeans, or converting pants to shorts.
Third Effective Way to Choose Slow Fashion: Shop Sustainable Brands
It is impractical to think that we will never buy any clothes again. What we can do though is support slow fashion brands that uphold standards of sustainability as well as timeless style. Companies that provide options for natural materials like cotton or linen are a great place to start. Recycled materials like fabric made from old bottles or reclaimed textiles work well to make circulating pollutants worth something and do wonders to clean up the planet. Further, many slow fashion brands strive towards net zero carbon emissions as well as donate to humanitarian causes. Some of our favorite brands include ABLE, Eileen Fisher, Tradlands, Everlane, and Sotela.
Whatever your reason for picking slow fashion, these three mindful fashion choices can be a great way to start making more conscious decisions for our closets and our planet!