What is Slow Fashion?
Born as a reaction to the “fast fashion” ecosystem, slow fashion is a trend that takes a critical look at our shopping and consumption habits to encourage us for change. So, it offers a consumption practice with more mindful practices for shopping and usage. Before we take a closer look at what slow fashion is about, we need to understand how “fast fashion” works.
Just like the fast-food industry, the fashion industry relies on cheap cost, cheap labor, low quality and more accessibility. In the fast fashion ecosystem, everything is disposable, and the estimated lifetime of a garment is measured by days. And, with online shopping getting more popular, these fast-fashion brands have become more and more accessible, which means most of us buy cheap clothes without knowing who made them under which conditions. This fast consumption cycle encourages us to shop more often and reduces the lifetime of the garments we buy. So, the slow fashion approach aims to break this cycle by encouraging us to return to our old chopping and fashion habits.
The Origin Story of Slow Fashion
Whether we like it or not, we are all a part of the fast fashion industry, which is based on the exploitation of people and the environment. As the speed of consumption increases, the quality of the material and the working conditions continue to get worse. And, this cycle makes the fast-fashion industry one of the biggest actors when it comes to labor exploitation and pollution. You might feel like our shopping and fashion habits have always been this way. But, if you look back on your childhood our how your grandparents lived, you will realize that the rate and frequency of consumption wasn’t so accelerated, and that people consumed in a more mindful manner.
And this is where slow fashion comes into play to remind us of our old practices. If we can go back to our old shopping and consumption habits, where we possessed a smaller number of clothes made from higher quality materials. If we can achieve this shift, repairing or at least reducing the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry is possible. So, slow fashion approach imagines a fashion industry where we know how the raw material is supplied, where we make sure that people who made our clothes work in good conditions with the provision of their human rights, and where we do not refrain from repairing and upcycling our clothes to continue using them for years to come.
How to Apply Slow Fashion in Our Daily Lives
As an approach focusing on sustainability, mindful shopping, eco-friendly materials, ethical production conditions and working conditions worthy of human dignity, slow fashion puts emphasis on the power of consumers. Each consumer has the power to change something in the fashion industry because it is an industry that reacts to consumer expectations and demands. If you are wondering about what you can do as an individual consumer, you can start by doing some research on how responsible your favorite fashion brands are in terms sustainability, working conditions, and the environment.
You can prolong the lifetime of our garments by avoiding short-term trends and choosing more sustainable materials. It’s also a good idea to check out minimalism, capsule wardrobe, and other sustainability-oriented approaches. But the most important step is to consume less. That’s why you should try and be more mindful when you’re shopping and prioritize quality over quantity. Don’t forget that mending and upcycling your clothes will make them last longer and reduce the need to shop more often.