With new emerging innovations, fast-paced news and shameless greenwashing circulating around us every day, it might be overwhelming to navigate oneself through products (online or in stores) that depict themselves as “sustainable”. It’s not always possible to act in favor of mother earth, however, slowing down can make a big difference after all. But what does slow fashion actually mean?
Slow fashion is a movement that is gaining momentum as people become more conscious of the impact of their clothing choices on the environment and society. It is a response to the fast fashion industry, which prioritizes cheap and disposable clothing, often made in unethical and environmentally harmful conditions.
At its core, slow fashion emphasizes quality over quantity and promotes practices throughout the fashion supply chain that are more sensible towards the people and the planet. This could for example refer to the chemicals used to treat a fabric, the transportation means to get the item from the supplier to the shop or warehouse or simply the amount of garments that are produced per collection. It encourages consumers to invest in high-quality, timeless pieces that are designed to last, rather than chasing after the latest trends that quickly go out of style.
Slow fashion designer Ledgebound, working in his studio.
Slow fashion also emphasizes the importance of transparency in the fashion industry, from the sourcing of materials to the production process and the treatment of workers. By prioritizing fair labor practices and viable sourcing options, slow fashion seeks to minimize its impact on the environment and its habitants.
In contrast to fast fashion, which relies on mass production and often results in overproduction and waste, slow fashion takes a more deliberate and thoughtful approach. This includes choosing materials and production methods that are less harmful and designing garments that are versatile and can be worn in multiple ways.
Unfortunately, giant corporate brands like H&M or Zara like to feed on terms like these to promote their products that are far from being slow fashion. This, however, does not mean that their products always have to be unsustainable. There are nuances to this topic that should be considered, such as thrifting, upcycling and recycling. Second hand or reworked clothes have a lot lower impact than new products and can also be categorized as slow fashion. The term does not exclusively describe new products with brands that align their supply chain in greener ways.
In this sense, slow fashion is a response to the negative impact of fast fashion on people, the planet, and the fashion industry as a whole. It is on the one hand a change initiated by companies with a greener corporate social responsibility (CSR), but on the other hand a sense of lifestyle by people who realize that their priorities have shifted. By prioritizing quality, sustainability, and transparency, slow fashion seeks to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion.