What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word, “Slow”? For many of us, “Slow” has a negative connotation. When you type “Slow” into the google search bar, some of the definitions that you find include words like,
Sluggish, Lazy, Unhurried, or Passive.
Alternatively, when we think “Fashion” we see a constantly changing culture full of bright colors, strong silhouettes, willowy fabrics, textured bodices, and pointed toe heels. Fashion to the everyday consumer is anything but slow, in-fact it may be seen as chaotic and overwhelming.
Slow Fashion, when viewed with a basic understanding, seems like an oxymoron.
How can something be both “Slow” and “Fashionable”?
Quite simply put, in order for something to be considered “Slow Fashion” it must be Timeless. Slow Fashion is high-quality, made to last, garments that don’t go out of style. They’re leather jackets and dark wash denims – midi skirts and cat eye sunglasses – styles that have stood the test of time and rather than becoming a “trend” have become wardrobe staples for people all around the world. These are items that will be worn over and over again and create a lasting impression on our personal style – which is why it’s important that when we choose, we choose wisely.
The reason why slow fashion is so important, is because it’s the opposite of a growing waste epidemic in the fashion industry that we refer to as, “Fast Fashion”. Fast Fashion brands create excess items in excess styles, made from low quality materials that do not hold up well to normal wear and wash. These brands often manufacture their items in factories overseas where the working conditions are poor and the pay is minimal.
The idea behind this, is that these brands are able to quickly and inexpensively provide on-trend items to consumers who can then buy them cheaply and wear them a hand full of times before the item falls apart or is no longer considered on-trend. The item then ends up thrown away, given away, or otherwise disposed of. Once this process is complete, the consumer can return to the fast fashion store to buy from a brand new selection of on-trend items and the cycle begins again.
The problem with this, is that largely due to fast fashion’s excessive waste, the clothing industry is now the second most polluter of the earth’s clean water. It takes almost 700 gallons of water to produce enough cotton to make 1 “fast fashion” T-shirt that may only last 2-3 wears. On top of this, the world now consumes an estimated 80 billion pieces of new clothing per year, which is almost 400% more than what was consumed just 2 decades ago. It’s also worth mentioning that 40% of all clothing purchased is NEVER worn, EVER, and the average person is responsible for 82lbs of textile waste per year.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
One of the best ways to combat fast fashion, is to be a conscious consumer and invest in quality items made by brands who value their workers, the integrity of their items, and the environmental impact they have.
Buying second hand from companies like The Real Real, Fashionphile, and Rebag helps you do that AND helps reduce the carbon, waste, and water footprint of each item by 20 – 30%.
Plus, when you buy second hand (where tons of items are practically new anyway) you save serious $ off of retail. When we put all of these factors together, environmentally, economically, and socially – it’s hard to ignore the huge negative impact that fast fashion has on our lives and the fact that what we chose to wear matters for more than just aesthetics.
Fashion is not a passive whisper that we wear, but rather a bold statement about who we are and the way we see the world.