Fast fashion Retailers, constantly needing to meet growing sales goals and investor expectations, rarely acknowledge climate change and workforce demands. The slow fashion movement calls on companies to put the brakes on the overproduction and unethical practices that plague the industry, inviting consumers to rethink their relationship with clothing and the marketplace. What is slow fashion, how does the fast fashion market differ from the unsustainable one, and why should we do more to support this movement?
As fashion takes steps towards sustainability, you may have heard new terms and movements such as circular fashion, eco-fashion or sustainable fashion. They are slightly different overlapping terms, but they all have the same goal: to reduce the environmental footprint of the fashion industry.
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What is slow fashion?
Slow fashion is a movement that supports environmental and social justice in the fashion industry. The point of definition is that it zeroes out the problem of overproduction and overconsumption.
Slow fashion came on the heels of the “slow food” movement. Fashion and sustainability journalist and researcher Kate Fletcher He first used the term in a 2007 article Ecologist.
She explains that fast fashion is not about speed but about greed, “selling more” and “making more money”. Instead, slow fashion is about “designing, making, eating and living better. “Slow” – she added – “is not the opposite of fast – there is no binary – but a different approach where designers, buyers, retailers and consumers are more aware of the impact of products on workers, communities and ecosystems” .
When consumers support An unsustainable model of fast fashion productionThe problem is getting worse. Slow fashion is also about conscious consumption. We buy with Awareness The way we use it has an impact on climate change.
Some key philosophies of late fashion include:
- A shift from quantity to quality in production and consumption. Not hell-bent on steady growth or storage.
- Environmentally friendly manufacturing by using low waste processes and avoiding harmful chemicals.
- Providing workers with a living wage and healthy working conditions.
- Produce collections in small batches or pre-order to avoid unsold inventory.
- An uncomplicated supply chain where raw materials and labor are not scattered around the world. It uses local materials and employs local workers whenever possible.
- Transparency and integrity in the supply chain and practices. A good example is an ethical jeans brand. HNST” said,Fall hall” page showing challenges and failures.
- Use natural fibers, dry fabrics, or old textiles for upcycling.
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The problem of fashion sustainability
The fashion industry likes to do things quickly and cheaply for maximum profit. Low prices for the latest styles can make buyers think they’re getting more for their money, but these “savings” come at a premium. Environmental and social costs.
The industry is a major culprit when it comes to natural resource depletion and ecosystem pollution. It’s the label. 20% of the world’s freshwater pollution. Various sources say that it contributes somewhere between Big Fashion 2-10% of global carbon emissions.
To save costs on labor and get around stricter regulations in the US or Europe, retailers outsource factories to countries like China, Bangladesh or Pakistan. The t-shirt you are wearing may be made in America, dyed and processed cotton in India and cut and designed in Europe before going to the company’s warehouse and finally making it into the store. of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says the industry. It consumes more energy If the aviation and shipping industries are combined.
How fashion has increased speed
Fashion wasn’t always like this. Before the 19th century, people took the time to make their own clothes or, if they could afford it, had them sew. It was a personalized process that involved communication between the owner and the creator. Waiting a week or more for a dress to be finished made people value their dress more. Splurging on new clothes and trends was something only aristocrats indulged in; So the common people invested in cloths that were made to last without royal budgets.
The Industrial Revolution came and ready-to-wear began in It became popular in the 1920s until the 1980s, but there were still people Making their own clothes Or going to local dressmakers.
That all changed in the 90s when high street retailers like Zara and H&M disrupted the industry, compressing trend cycles and clearing thousands of new items in stores every week. If we think that’s revolutionary, then along come new challengers like Shein or Pretty Little Thing – online-only shops that are fast-fashion giants. Very fast fashion Model. Relying on big data and influencer cult culture, these new brands have successfully conquered social media feeds and shoppers’ wallets. Bloomberg’s David Fickling puts Shin’s 2022 estimate at $100 billion. “Win for Fast Fashion.”. This year, the company is ready to work 20 billion dollars in revenue.
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With clothes that are cheap and easy to find, we often don’t even question where our clothes come from or how they are made. Makers and carriers are continents apart. It is the companies that decide when choosing styles and materials. It was only after accidents like 2013 Frog square The failure of a garment factory or the 2011 “Killer genes” exposing silicosis The community has started paying attention to the silent workers who suffer from the deadly practices of an industry that produces seemingly harmless things.
How can you join the slow fashion movement?
Awareness of the fashion industry’s problems has increased, but much work remains. A 2021 survey According to ThredUp, 74% of consumers know that their consumption habits have a significant impact on the planet and 50% believe that fast fashion is bad for the environment. Despite this perception, 72% continue to buy fast fashion because of its convenience and unbeatable price.
It can be difficult to break away from the status quo and completely reverse your buying habits. The good news is that supporting the slow fashion movement is super easy, and you don’t need to buy anything new to get started!
Here’s how to transition into slow fashion:
1. Repair and maintain your clothes
Extend the life of your clothes by following care instructions. If you can, machine wash on low heat and tumble dry to save energy. For jeans, Levi’s Eq He advises. Wash once every 10 years to maintain fit and fabric.
Learning basic sewing and stain removal techniques is also a great way to get more wear out of your clothes. If you don’t have time, take them to a professional or find out if there is one Fix the cafe To repair various items in your town or city (a free pop-up event where volunteers and other visitors gather).
2. Wear second-hand clothes
We have finally bid farewell to the stigma of wearing second-rate clothes. Today, thrift is rampant and covered in the pages of glossy fashion magazines; This was unthinkable even two decades ago.
There are many options for finding second-hand clothes. For one-time events, you can borrow from your family or friends closet. You can also do a clothing swap or offer your own unused clothes to someone you know who might like them.
Freecycle groups are also a gold mine for “new” old clothes. These are online sharing groups where people can donate or ask for free. It facilitates gift-giving and communication between members of the local community, because the exchange is often in person. It is growing in popularity as more and more people are looking for ways to donate their items without having to go to charity centers. Unfortunately, the statistics show that 80% donation The end is either incinerated, in landfills or sent abroad for sale. Find a free cycling Facebook group in your area or check out websites like this FreeCycle.org Or Nothing dirty.
Looking for the thrill of the hunt? There are always one-of-a-kind and beautiful pieces from thrift and vintage stores. Thanks to platforms like these, online savings are easy today. Poshmark, Depop, EtsyOr Common changing room; There is something for everyone’s tastes and price points.
3. Shop mindfully
Somewhere between Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States 50% – 80% People’s laundry is unused. A closet full of clothes you half-love or never wear is also a sign of constant impulse shopping. The next time you feel the itch to shop, check your closet first. You really Desire Fifth new dress/pair of pants/crop top in your closet? Chances are they won’t. Your well-stocked closet will thank you, and so will the planet.
If you want to shop, support local creators in your country. Choose high-quality fabrics that last a long time, they can be single-textured fabrics Easily recycledOr natural fibers easily biodegrade.
Shopping with awareness means being aware of companies’ greenwashing strategies. Slapping an “eco-friendly” label is not a guarantee that an item is sustainable. Googling or doing some background research on the brand Good for you App. For biased and educational sustainable fashion content, such as websites Fashion revolution And Fashion takes action They are great resources.
Remember those expensive price tags Don’t always guarantee Better quality and practices. Brands such as Versace, Prada, Nike, and Adidas are in a Clean clothes campaign paper He reported on these companies’ below-legal worker wages and terrible working conditions in their factories in Eastern Europe.
Fast fashion has revolutionized industries to the point where we treat clothing as a disposable commodity. Slow fashion is more than a shopping street. This is a way of life and a philosophy, which shows the real value of clothes and the whole process – from materials, planets and people.
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Featured image In cotton bro from pixels
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