BY EMMA SHELTRA
The truth is…
Over the last several years, more buzz has been surrounding the fast fashion industry and its (insanely negative) impact on the environment and those who work in textile and garment factories- with good reason. The fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world, coming in with numbers just under that of Big Oil. It’s true; our need for the newest, trendiest items is wreaking havoc on social and environmental sustainability. It’s easy to talk statistics and dictionary definitions, but what is fast fashion really and how can it be combated by the everyday Joe? The answer is simple: The opposite of fast is slow. So, Joe, here’s a breakdown of what slow fashion is and how that information can be easily incorporated into everyday life.
Slow Fashion =
In order to support slow fashion, it’s important to understand what it means in the first place. Coined by Kate Fletcher, slow fashion is defined as “fashion conceived of from a different starting point to growth, consumerist fashion.” In other words, slow fashion is a movement set to counter the fast paced, seasonal trends big brands currently follow. Fast fashion means that products are high waste, have a short garment life, and are produced in factories with low labor standards. Slow fashion means the opposite; low waste, long garment life, high labor standards.
Let’s talk implementation…
Now that you understand what slow fashion is, let’s talk implementation. Transitioning from a fast fashion based lifestyle to one of slow fashion can be tricky. There’s a constant feeling of un-coolness when everyone is following the latest trend (why do sleeves need to be 6 inches longer than the average arm, anyway?) and you’re not. That’s normal. The most important thing to remember is that trends don’t last, but your clothing should. While it’s easier to head to Forever 21 and grab a $5 latex skirt, odds are that piece will be out of commission, and style, by next season. Instead, save your hard earned money and invest in classic pieces that will last through trends and regular wear. Look for brands that invest in their workers, textiles, and who practice transparency within their company. If you still feel the pressure to follow the trends as they come, thrift first. Oftentimes people donate clothing in great condition simply because they’re bored of the items- trendy stuff included. Hit up your local thrift store and if that doesn’t satisfy, hit the web. Google will be your best friend when it comes to finding both second hand items for sale and new ethically produced, good-for-the-environment pieces..like this to-die-for tunic from Known Supply, paired with a statement jacket.
So, that’s it!
Living a slow fashion lifestyle is simple, but it requires some adjustments not only with regards to purchases, but in shifting the way we view societal standards on how we spend money and where we place value. What it really comes down to is research, research, and more research. Spend your spare time looking up the policies of your favorite brands. If they aren’t practicing ethical or sustainable production, look elsewhere for your next garments. Follow that with some purchases that have a high impact on social sustainability and a low impact on the environment and you’re going to positively change the world and support workers’ rights through your purchases.