When it comes to fashion, most women love great deals, particularly when styles require minimal effort. We’re all over-scheduled, overworked, busy, and drinking more coffee than what is probably healthy. We crave accessibility and ease of use. The majority of women want to be able to shop for their fashion quickly while also saving as much money as possible. This trend has led to the rise of “fast fashion”. Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing that is produced to meet the current trends, and produced quickly by the larger retailers who market the clothing. But most of us don’t take into consideration the effects that fast fashion is having on the environment.
For many, its relatively common to wear cheap clothing a couple of times and then toss or donate it, just to stay on top of the current trends. Women are constantly in the mindset of needing to update their wardrobes in order to keep up with the current trends, or else be left out. This demand has drastically changed the apparel industry, as well as the environmental impact of the industry itself.
However, given the current culture of climate change awareness, people are becoming more aware of the impact their purchases make. Fast-fashion also has brought awareness to poor working conditions and unfair pay for the workers who make clothing for the Western world. Many retailers are beginning to make changes and are becoming more transparent about how their clothes are made and where they come from. Brands are starting to wake up to consumer demand for ethical, environmentally friendly options by going back to more sustainable practices. These positive changes are being called “slow-fashion”. Slow fashion means a more environmentally friendly and ethical alternative for consumers to choose from.
Clothing created as slow-fashion is designed, produced, and consumed in a more sustainable and conscious manner. Apparel is not created to be worn a few times and tossed. Purchases are designed to be slower paced and long-lasting. The entire life-cycle of the product is considered from production to when it is finally retired. Consideration is also focused on the workers and their communities and ecosystems where the apparel is being produced. This goes against what society is constantly telling us – that we need more, faster, and as low cost as possible.
Perspectives about our relationship with our clothing and jewelry is changing. Individuals want to have a more personal attachment to what they wear and where those pieces come from. Choices are more intentional and purposeful instead of just trying to stay with what is on trend. Timeless pieces that will stay in a wardrobe for years, as well as fit the identity of the person that is wearing it beats out trendiness that will be gone next season.
The manufacturing process, from how the fabric is produced and how fabric dye is disposed of, is taken into consideration. Retailers are looking to everything from how waste is disposed of from the factories, to how the apparel is transported. This isn’t limited to clothing either. Lab created jewelry is also reducing the strain on the Earth and its resources.
Some key factors to look for when you’re purchasing slow fashion are:
- Clothing that is made from sustainable or eco-friendly fabrics and materials
- Apparel that is found in smaller, local boutiques instead or larger retailers
- Pieces that are local sourced, produced, or sold
You can start supporting the slow fashion movement by just starting to buy less. Consider investing in higher-quality pieces that will last you for years to come versus many pieces that can’t be worn for more than a year or so. Think quality over quantity! Consider creating a unique, personal style for yourself of timeless classics, plus a few eclectic pieces that show your personality. If you decide to clean out your wardrobe, try to consign or donate your clothing to a charity to keep it out of a landfill, or try and find a way to repurpose it.
Let your dollars begin to make change in how fashion is produced. Do your homework and learn about which brands are practicing sustainable, ethical manufacturing and sales of their products.