Hi, it’s been a while (to say the least). Although maybe it hasn’t been that long, it just feels like it. In my little Let’s Talk series I’ve previously discussed fast fashion, and you can find part one, here, and part two, here. It’s only fair that I follow up on those posts with slow fashion. So, let’s talk slow fashion.
Let’s Talk: Slow Fashion
So, what is slow fashion?
Slow fashion can be defined as a conscious effort to move away from the consumerism that fast fashion promotes through changing behaviours and purchasing high-quality ethical and sustainable fashion that’s made to last. Slow fashion is founded on the principles of conscious consumerism, environmental sustainability, and human and animal rights.
Essentially, slow fashion is about slowing down fashion and creating/purchasing garments to keep for life while taking its production into consideration.
The ethical side of slow fashion focuses on human and animal rights: whether workers are paid a living wage, what their working conditions are like, if they treated fairly, no child or slave labour, no sweatshops, and whether any animals are being harmed or killed.
The sustainable side focuses on the environment and whether it’s being harmed: it opts for organic, recycled, repurposed fibres and limits harmful chemicals and dyes, reducing energy and water usage and waste, and overall chooses low-impact options.
Not too mention, brands also need to show transparency.
Slow fashion can also include secondhand, thrift, and vintage clothes. You can swap, borrow and repair your clothes. It’s about using the clothes you already have rather than purchasing new for the sake of it.
And I like to believe that transition to slow fashion is actually a lot easier and more affordable than you may think. (I no longer purchase fast fashion items unless they are secondhand and have pretty much transformed my wardrobe into a slow fashion wardrobe without breaking the bank [I’m a broke uni student]).
How to transition into slow fashion
The very first step you need to do is analyse your wardrobe. What do you already have? What do you want? What do you need? What can you start wearing? And then the next is stop purchasing from fast fashion brands, use what you have, put aside your wants, and focus on your needs. Good On You is a great app to help you get started on your journey.
Borrow clothes, repair clothes, thrift. By doing these you may be able to find what you’re after or some really cool pieces to add to your collection. If you’re thrifting try to stick to your sizes so you’re not taking items that others with different sizes need – if you’re small-bodied, try not to purchase oversized items to help thrifting to be more size-inclusive for everyone.
When it comes to shopping secondhand there are so many options out there. There’s Poshmark, Depop, eBay, Facebook marketplace, Instagram stores, vintage stores, charity stores, community op shops… Just to name a few. Obviously the prices will vary, but thrifting can be cheaper than buying new. It’s just more of an effort to find what you’re after.
To me shopping secondhand is the most sustainable and slow option. You’re giving new life into clothing that would otherwise end up in landfill.
And then there is purchasing new from ethical and sustainable brands. It’s important to understand how and who makes their garments. I’ve found a lot of brands through Instagram, Well Made Clothes and Good On You. This is where I believe the cost factor comes into play.
And just remember that not everyone has the access to certain options, but if you can make a change, give it a shot!
The best thing you can do is educate yourself and the brands you’re supporting. If they have one conscious collection they’re more likely greenwashing you. This is where Good On You is great. For reference, H&M is rated ‘it’s a start’, Princess Polly is ‘we avoid’ and Glassons is ‘not good enough’.
Take a look around your local area to see what op shops are around, download Depop or Poshmark, see what clothes your friends no longer want, see if there are any local sustainable brands in your area/country.
I just want to make it clear, I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to slow fashion. While I’ve transformed my wardrobe into a more ethical closet, I’m still learning to reduce my consumption and consumeristic habits.
My Let’s Talk series on fashion has stemmed from an assignment my friends and I did last semester.
I just hope that this post, and my previous, two provoke you to have a think about where your clothes are coming from.