Over the past 20 years, sustainability, equality, and just labour regulations have been sacrificed in favour of economic expansion and soaring bottom lines.
A problematic culture of consumption and disposal is supported by fast fashion. Concerns about drought, slavery, and food scarcity are prioritised over celebrity appearances, pricing, and novelty. The oppositional movement is gaining strength gradually.
Literally, the fashion industry is filthy. It contaminates our water supply, promotes excessive consumption, and takes advantage of the girls and kids who work in factories. It generates enormous amounts of garbage while requiring an endless supply of scarce resources.
But there is also artistic expression through dress. Taking a chance and expressing your personal style through what you wear may be thrilling and interesting.
So how can you reconcile your love of fashion with your respect for the environment? You can advocate for sustainable practises that preserve the health of the planet while also slowly expressing your point of view.
What is Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion refers to the method of producing apparel ethically while taking into account the environment and the employees. It guarantees that the employees receive fair compensation and work in a secure atmosphere.
The most expensive production processes lead to more expensive clothing.
They are, however, fashioned from higher-quality materials that are more robust and long-lasting than apparel produced utilising rapid fashion techniques.
A t-shirt from a company using rapid fashion techniques may cost you $10, but how long will the clothing actually last?
Within a few months, its colour may start to fade and the lower-quality cloth may start to tear. Now you have to buy a new $10 t-shirt every few months to replace the old one.
In contrast, a t-shirt made in a slow, ethical manner might have been purchased for $30 and would have lasted for years.
Avoiding this option favours the fast fashion businesses because a single customer will ultimately spend more money on their goods.
Fast fashion's low price encourages customers to make impulsive purchases.
Consider all the clothing you have in your closet. Now consider how much you typically use.
Fashion is a fast-paced industry, and because trends change quickly, consumers who are attempting to keep up could be tempted to buy apparel that is of lower quality and less well-made because of how quickly it is released.
Quickly produced in big quantities at low prices is fast fashion. It could take longer to use safer ethical procedures, but the wait will be worthwhile in the end.
FAQs About Slow Fashion
Why is slow fashion more sustainable?
Slow fashion, according to her definition, is time-based but quality-based.
Other early adopters of the slow fashion movement point out that it promotes slower production, integrates sustainability and ethics, and ultimately encourages buyers to spend money on quality, long-lasting clothing.
Is slow fashion really sustainable?
A slower, more sustainable approach is encouraged by slow fashion, which is the antithesis of fast fashion.
It encourages purchasing vintage or used clothing, upcycling old items, buying from smaller manufacturers, and investing in high-quality clothing with a longer lifespan.
How does slow fashion impact the environment?
The Pulse Of The Fashion Industry report states that the fashion industry is responsible for 5% of all man-made glasshouse gas emissions. Additionally, the production of textiles has a greater global warming impact than both international shipping and aviation combined.
What is the impact of fast fashion?
The fashion sector is responsible for about 10% of the world's glasshouse gas emissions, in part because its production methods use more energy than the shipping and aviation industries put together.
Pre- and post-production hazardous byproduct emissions from various fabrics differ.
Fashion And The Environment
The impact of the fashion industry on the environment is well known. Use cotton as an illustration.
Although it is a textile that is used in many apparel items, it is also the crop that uses the most pesticides globally, and its production has a significant negative impact on soil quality.
The crop is also quite thirsty, requiring 20,000 litres of water to produce only one kilogramme (2.2 pounds), or the weight of a single T-shirt and a single pair of pants.
Polyester and other "alternative" synthetic materials are similarly destructive to our environment. This fabric's primary constituents, coal and petroleum, require enormous quantities of energy to produce.
Polyester fibres also don't degrade because they are synthetic. This implies that polyester-made things will spend a very long time in our landfills.
But putting the entire blame on farmers and lab technicians is unfair. Since around 2000, consumer demand has increased significantly, and many firms are not only establishing these trends but also promoting them.
Although there are typically two main seasons in the fashion industry each year (spring/summer and fall/winter), many fast-fashion businesses produce items and go through their inventory at a startling rate.
A retailer may have more than 50 micro-seasons per year because many brands release new collections every single week.
Of course, every piece of apparel has a shelf life. Fast fashion items aren't particularly sturdy, so they don't hold up to heavy use or a lot of washings, which encourages customers to discard them and replace them more frequently.
Unfortunately, 85% of all textiles produced in the United States are disposed of in landfills, and each year, the average American discards 70 pounds of apparel. Therefore, there is still much opportunity for development for consumers.
Slow Fashion And The Environment
Slow fashion promotes ethical working conditions and sustainable techniques. The opposite of fast fashion emphasises quality and durability while defending both people and the environment.
The slow-fashion movement is being backed by an increasing number of farms and organisations.
The Better Cotton Initiative is one such instance, outlining the rules and procedures for sustainable farming, but other more organisations offer resources and data to modern farmers.
Although consumers frequently believe they have little control over the fashion industry, we can all work together to improve it.
Recognize your own purchasing power first.
Then you're taking a statement and igniting change when you choose companies that support slow fashion and opt to boycott (or at least avoid) those who support fast fashion.
Can you believe that, only behind the oil business, the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry? It makes sense when you consider the garbage it produces and the damaging procedures needed to make most apparel.
Long-term sustainability is taken into consideration when slow fashion companies manufacture their clothing.
They employ morally sound procedures that reduce the use of dangerous substances.
Additionally, they want to increase the product's durability so that it will last longer and you won't have to buy things as frequently. Ultimately, the notion is that cutting back on consumption will result in less waste and a need for less production.
For clothing that is not made to last and is not biodegradable, fast fashion uses synthetic and inorganic materials.
Most of their clothes is disposed of in landfills. Eco-friendly and natural materials are used by businesses who practise ethical manufacturing.
Natural and environmentally friendly materials include alpaca, organic cotton, silk, lyocell, and silk.
However, a corporation is not necessarily using ecologically friendly practises just because they employ natural fibres.
Many businesses treat fabrics with harsh chemicals that are bad for the environment.
For instance, organic cotton is a natural fibre grown without the use of pesticides, however it may be dyed and treated with formaldehyde and other harmful substances.
A surefire approach to ensure that you are avoiding clothing produced using these processes is to look for clothing that is naturally dyed and labelled "Certified Organic", sustainable, or eco-friendly.
By creating new technologies that enable "greener" ways to manufacturing clothing, science is also transforming the fashion business.
New techniques are being developed for making, dying, treating, and recycling fabrics.
It's also a good idea to organise your unwanted stuff in your closet by quality before getting rid of them.
You can hold a clothing swap or garage sale, or you can sell your high-quality items online or at a shop that sells used clothing.
Good-quality things should be donated to thrift shops, while low-quality items should be recycled at drop-off points or as part of in-store recycling initiatives.
Don't just put those clothes in the trash, whatever you do!
How To Get Into Slow Fashion?
While we anticipate structural change to take place in government agencies and political gatherings, individuals like Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg show the profound influence of individual devotion and action.
Thus, even while few of us may have aspirations to travel to New York on a carbon-neutral yacht to urge for greater emissions reductions at the Climate Action Summit, we can still join the campaign by making smaller but still significant actions to cut back on our consumption.
Deselecting unethical fashion makes it clear to businesses that climate change is a serious threat.
Big brands also adapt their strategy to the purchasing patterns of their customers. As a result, we bear a heavy duty in the fight against global warming to make moral decisions.
Wear your clothes multiple times
Recently, Zara pledged to use only sustainable fabric by 2025, creating a strong precedent for the sector.
For women of this (quick) fashion calibre, the Duchess of Sussex and Kim Kardashian made a point of wearing the same dress twice. Slow fashion, on the other hand, is environmentally friendly and is normalising many wearings of an outfit.
Even the greenest clothing still requires resources during production and shipping to your home, having an influence on the environment.
Our excessive consumerism is the source of the issue; our grandmothers bought two items, but we buy 10.
We frequently believe that acquiring new clothing will make us happier. We might want to reevaluate some of the tenets of our way of life.
Buy Clothes From Sustainable Brands
More and more fashion companies are considering how their production will affect the environment and society.
In the section under "The Brands We Like," you may find our top sustainable product picks.
We won't lie to you: the supply is still limited, and it is simpler and less expensive to visit the nearby mall to restock your wardrobe.
But as more people seek eco-friendly apparel, more will become readily available—just as it was formerly difficult to find organic food. Today, the majority of supermarkets carry it.
Yes, buying sustainable clothing will cost more than shopping for fast fashion, but at least now we know why the costs are so low.
However, the price of sustainable clothing won't necessarily be more than that of name-brand clothing. We frequently pay high costs for image, but infrequently for quality or sustainability.
Buy Better Quality
We no longer worry as much about quality in clothing because it has become so affordable. Instead, as our clothing loses its shape or charm, we just purchase new ones.
In addition, we have all experienced the disappointment of spending a lot of money on clothing or shoes only to discover two months later that they are already worn out or have holes in them.
Stopping our purchases of subpar goods will encourage brands to raise the calibre of their clothing. Additionally, it will let us to retain our clothing for longer, benefiting both the environment and our wallets.
Think Twice Before Throwing Out Your Clothes
Avoid placing your clothing in the regular trash cans! The majority of them are made of synthetic, non-biodegradable fibre and will simply accumulate in landfills. There are additional choices:
- Attempt to fix them. A ripped garment can occasionally be repaired or even completely redone with a little creativity.
- Give your used clothing to charity or to your friends, relatives, or neighbours.
- On used apps like Vinted, sell them.Some clothing stores accept worn clothing from other brands or even from their own line.
- Put them in the recycling container for textiles. Clothing can be made from recycled textiles.
Buy Second Hand, Swap, & Rent Clothing
Take a look at these alternatives to buying new clothing:
- The idea of a secondhand store is not new. Secondhand stores can be found all over the world. Numerous websites and applications also provide a wide range of used clothing options, from the least expensive to name-brand garments.
- Change your clothes: Projects of this nature are becoming more and more common. Participants exchange their used clothing for new clothing by bringing their old clothing. This is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to restock your closet. It can also be planned by you and your buddies.
- Rent clothing: This sector of the economy is also expanding. This is a fantastic alternative, especially for clothing that you won't wear frequently or for a long period (baby or pregnancy clothes, party dresses). Some businesses also charge a monthly subscription, enabling customers to regularly update their wardrobes.
The coordination of renting, swapping, and using clothing is typically done locally.
Shop ethical and reduce consumption
The slow fashion movement has evolved into a number of sustainable action strategies. While some advocate for less consumption, others search internet retailers for brands that are ethical.
Those who are completely dedicated to clothes swaps or modifying what is already hanging in their wardrobe belong in a distinct category.
But as we search the internet for alternate consuming practises, it would be worthwhile to reconsider what it means to consume.
The fashion industry is just one of many highly polluting sectors that must all come to terms with their effects on the environment.
The supply chain and afterlife of the food we consume, the vehicles we drive, the nations we travel to, and the homes we construct all require close examination.
Slow Fashion Means A Slow Lifestyle
Painfully demonstrating how far beyond a single item the fashion business functions was the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 garment workers.
Before we can swipe our cards and claim them as our own, each item must first travel a far-reaching and frequently undetectable distance.
Ignoring the effects of rapid fashion and lopsided margins poses a threat to the movement's overall viability.
In the end, this necessitates a change in lifestyle where we accept, love, and cherish a life that involves less meat, public transportation, no flying, and a more condensed wardrobe. It transforms leisurely fashion into a tranquil living in many ways.
We must work together to promote a circular economy where no one is excluded from contributing regardless of their financial situation.
From the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed, we must make intentional decisions.
This requires dedication, perseverance, and patience. It denotes that we support candidates who promise to alter economic structures in order to bring about genuine change.
It may be necessary for us to boycott beloved products, locations, and travel destinations. However, action must be taken right now, not tomorrow or next week, if we want to see a planet fit for the next generation.
The Environmental Cost of Fashion
With a global economy of over 2.5 trillion dollars and over 75 million employees, the fashion sector is a significant contributor to our economies.
The industry has had phenomenal growth in recent years, with the manufacturing of apparel doubling between 2000 and 2014. Although individuals purchased 60% more clothes in 2014 than in 2000, they only wore them for 50% as long.
Although the fashion business is flourishing, a growing number of harmful environmental effects that the sector is accountable for are coming to light.
For instance, the creation of clothing contributes 10% of the world's carbon emissions, depletes water supplies, and pollutes rivers and streams. Additionally, 85% of all textiles are disposed of in landfills annually, and washing some types of clothing releases a sizable amount of microplastics into the ocean.
Activism against rapid fashion is a part of supporting the slow fashion movement. Brands have no motive to alter their supply chains if consumers aren't giving them feedback.
Therefore, don't give up if you can't afford every trendy minimalist item; you can still support ethical fashion by raising your voice.