Clothing companies create more than 1 million garments daily, and the average consumer buys 60% more clothing than they did 15 years ago. Today, we become increasingly aware of these issues thanks to countless articles on the fast fashion industry and its negative effects on the environment and communities worldwide.
As a response to this trend and to combat Overconsumption of fashion, slow fashion encourages us to focus our energy on shopping smarter and to become more informed and mindful.
Our guide to the 5 things everyone should know about slow fashion has it all explained.
1. The concept
Slow fashion draws inspiration from the Slow Food Movement founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986. It links pleasure, food, awareness, and responsibility. It opposes taste standardisation, supports consumer awareness, preserves cultural identities, and protects food biodiversity.
Combining the principles of the slow food movement with the fashion industry, slow fashion envisions a sustainable future where fashion, self-expression, and responsibility relate to awareness and responsibility. Therefore, the core concept of slow fashion is about choice, information, cultural diversity, and identity.
Fast fashion prioritises speed and profit, while slow fashion values quality, design, and sustainability.
2. The movement
Before the Industrial Revolution, clothing was made from available resources or . Slow fashion brings back traditional methods and promotes sustainability.
When we shop for new clothes, slow fashion invites us to choose garments made with sustainable and ethical production processes. This way, we can celebrate the art of dressmaking and the skills of the passionate craftspeople who create them.
Slow fashion encourages us to view our clothes as valuable and repair, upcycle, donate, or recycle them when we no longer need them.
3. Main characteristics
Slow fashion brands create classic, versatile, timeless pieces and designs that are easily combinable rather than chasing trends.
Here are some characteristics of a slow fashion brand:
- Clothes are made from high-quality, sustainable, and lower-impact materials, like linen.
- Garments are more timeless than trendy in design.
- Pieces are sold in smaller and local stores rather than huge retailers.
- Clothes are made-to-order in low quantities to reduce unnecessary production.
- Garments are often handmade.
Slow fashion takes more time during the design process to ensure that each piece of garment is made with high-quality materials. Moreover, it involves a manufacturing process that considers all aspects of the supply chain, thus ensuring that people, the environment, and animals are respected.
4. The benefits
The benefits of slow fashion are countless, especially when compared to fast fashion. To name a few:
- Money-saving: although slow fashion brands are typically pricier than fast fashion chains, their durability ensures that we spend less money in the long run by buying less.
- Durability: slow fashion is made with diligence and high-quality standards to be durable and long-lasting over many years.
- Style: is not only sustainable but also stylish. It comes in many different styles, helping us to develop our own sense of trendy style no matter what fast fashion says.
- Eco-friendly/sustainable: slow fashion helps us save resources, reduce CO2 emissions, and thus have a smaller environmental impact.
- Fair-trade: workers for slow fashion producers are better compensated and they have better working conditions
Shopping for new clothes from slow fashion brands is also a way to support local, independent and artisan businesses. In the slow fashion movement, both the designer and the craftsman play central roles in the process, and they take great care to ensure every detail is perfect to appreciate the piece’s individuality. Although the clothes are not one-of-a-kind, they are still unique and rare.
5. How to be part of the slow fashion movement
The fashion industry's negative impact on the environment has gained increased awareness in recent years, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
According to a 2021 survey conducted by ThredUp  74% of shoppers are aware that their consumption habits have a significant effect on the planet, and half of them believe that fast fashion is harmful to the environment. Despite this awareness, 72% of shoppers still prefer fast fashion due to its convenience and affordable prices.
Even though it sounds challenging to flip our shopping habits straight away, supporting the slow fashion movement is extremely easy, and there is no need to buy anything to get started. With a little effort and creativity, we can reduce our closet's environmental impact despite our budget, values, or time constraints.
Here is how we can make the shift to slow fashion:
- Repair and take care of clothes
- Wear second-hand clothing
- Shop mindfully with smaller brands and businesses
- Think twice about whether you really need something new
Never underestimate the power of tiny changes - they can make a big difference for our planet. Besides, it is never too late to start.
Expressing our identity through clothes can be done in more sustainable ways despite the strong presence of fast approaches to fashion, are essential responses to the harmful impact of fast fashion on the environment and garment workers. However, slow fashion is not the only answer.