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What is Slow Fashion?

Updated: May 18, 2022

The fashion industry has a long way to go to be considered sustainable.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t ignore the numerous reports and posts exposing the fashion world for contributing to unethical standards, pollution and producing waste worldwide. Nevertheless, little by little, the slow fashion movement is starting to change our perspective about the fashion industry for good.

We are heading into exciting times where individuals and organisations worldwide contribute to sustainability. Today, thousands of slow fashion organisations are taking the industry by storm and making sustainability the core of their business.

How Did Slow Fashion Begin?

Before the early 2000s fast fashion boom, clothing was produced at a much slower rate, and many organisations used sustainable production systems. However, today's trends move faster due to accessibility and fast-evolving trends resulting in companies using cheap materials to keep up.

The challenge with fast fashion is that if we continue creating clothes rapidly, it only guarantees an unsustainable future. Yet, as designers, professionals, and individuals recognise the challenges, slow fashion is now considered an important part of a better future.

What is Slow Fashion?

Slow Fashion is the movement that works towards creating an industry that benefits the planet and all people. This means implementing sustainable practices such as low-carbon manufacturing, recycling, reusing, sourcing organic materials and producing better quality items to last longer. Although slow fashion is still in its infancy, over the last few years it's begun to thrive in an evolving industry.

Slow Fashion Vs Fast Fashion

Did you know the world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year? This is 400% more than what we consumed just two decades ago. These clothes are an accumulation of fast fashion and slow fashion clothing. Yet, fast fashion has the reputation of impacting the environment less positively.

So, we’ve pulled together some key challenges in the fashion industry and the benefits of choosing slow fashion.

Challenges with Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is everywhere! It’s cheap, trendy and in-demand, but what are the challenges?

- Unethically created – If demand is high, it generally means there will be a higher cost to source materials, marketing and distribution. Therefore, to cut costs, some companies are renowned for paying workers much less than standard, resulting in workers not being able to feed their families.

- Non-biodegradable – We live in a highly disposable world, and the fast fashion industry is a key contender. Cheap materials are often made with synthetic fibres that are not biodegradable and, therefore, accumulate as waste on our planet.

- High-cost – If the materials are made cheaply, it will not last; therefore, over a lifetime, the consumer will generally pay more for clothes.

Why Purchase Slow fashion?

Making the change to slow fashion can be difficult as we are conditioned to purchase fast fashion, but there are a few reasons to help make the decision:

- Less impact on the environment – Slow fashion means clothes can be made using low-impact techniques such as hand-crafting or using less industrial equipment. Low-environmental impact means fewer carbon emissions and pollution released into the environment.

Biodegradable – Some slow fashion items are made with biodegradable materials. When these materials are outdoors, they will biodegrade quickly compared with fast fashion items made with synthetic materials that can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

- Circularity – Slow fashion champions circularity within fashion by using organic and sustainable materials, recycling and reusing clothes, ultimately ensuring fewer clothes end up in landfills!

Overall, it’s evident that slow fashion is better for the environment. So, it’s important to remember why sustainability should always be considered when shopping for your favourite items.

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