What is Slow Fashion?

A stack of clothes on a stool
Vintage clothing has been a part of my life for decades. I thrifted clothing with my sisters for fun when we were tweens, and a lot of what we picked up then was vintage. For the last 15 years or so, I've been selling vintage online through my Etsy shop and I've been wearing it nearly every day for as many years.

Looking back, I didn't realize it but I was a part of the slow fashion movement without knowing it. All I knew was that I loved the quality and look of vintage clothing. This was the early '90s mind you, so there was no such thing as "sustainable fashion" or the desire to be trendy and "thrift." 

We thrifted because we knew there were treasures to be found; vintage dishes, vintage jeans, and vintage cashmere sweaters from the men's department that fit just right. 

So what is slow fashion?

To be honest, I had to look up the term to see what others said about it.  I knew what I thought it was, and I knew I preferred to wear it, but what did the rest of the world think?

According to Wikipedia, "...slow fashion is about making conscious and sustainable choices when it comes to fashion, and challenging the fast fashion system that is often associated with negative impacts on people and the plan."

This is true. Fast fashion is slow fashion's nemesis. Fast fashion is about the incessant desire to buy, wear, and discard cheap clothing which has taken over the world in the last thirty years.

Inversely, this means that slow fashion is the option to buy and wear and keep quality-made clothing. Quality is the keyword here.

Slow fashion was initially a phrase given by Kate Fletcher, a professor of Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion. She knew consumerism was at an all-time high and landfills were brimming with unworn discarded new clothing. This led her to create an entirely different way of thinking and living with clothing, birthing the slow fashion movement.

Did you know that nearly two-thirds of unsold new clothing is sent to landfills?

Here is how I term slow fashion.

Slow fashion is quality: As I said above, fast fashion is exactly what it says it is: fast. This means it was created fast, made fast, shipped to us fast, sold fast, worn once or twice fast, donated or thrown away fast (because the material is so cheap it can't last), and the consumer goes on to buy another one or twenty in the year. This is the antithesis of minimalism. I haven't bought clothing from Target in over five years. My plan is to keep it this way. 

Slow fashion is made slowly with the maker's or manufacturer's time, art, and attention to detail. The materials are beautiful and the materials are real. If you have to pay more for better stuff, then do it. As is the mantra with vintage and heritage wearers, "Buy less but buy quality." 

Slow fashion is timeless: Fast fashion is about trends. No way around it. Designers and retailers are in their business because it makes money. After all, advertisers and social media and media in general tell us to consume because we need, need, need. But, do we really need as much as they say we need? I think it all has to do with the bottom line.

Trends are fickles. Trends are expensive. Give your wallet a rest, and buy classic timeless items that can stay in your closet for years -items that will always be in style. The advertisers and manufacturers are all in this together to make money. I'm all for businesses and all for the free market. But, wouldn't you agree it's out of control?

Slow fashion is about fewer items: Much like minimalism, less is more in the slow fashion world. If I'm being honest, it's easy for me to accumulate quality vintage items because I love them and because I'm constantly sourcing them for my shop. I have a penchant for vintage sweaters, belts, and denim. But, I am a minimalist at heart, so I've whittled my closet down to everything I love and everything I wear. All of the items I own are quality - of quality fabrics, quality materials, and quality craftsmanship. Remember, not quantity but quality. That's the essence of what slow fashion is.

Slow fashion is recycled: Half of my wardrobe is vintage. Half. I own about 85 solid pieces that I love and wear and they all came from thrift stores, estate sales, eBay, and Etsy. The rest are modern clothes that are of high quality. The great thing about this kind of fashion is that you get to recycle them; they actually have a chance at seeing the next decade because they're so well made. Can you imagine a cheap blouse or pair of shorts from Shein making it ten years from now? Recycling and re-wearing quality classic fashion allow you to live a sustainable path towards preserving our resources for our future generations as well. 

Whether you decide to be a part of the slow fashion movement or not is up to you. What I know is there has to be something better than constantly buying new clothes every month. A body can only use and wear so many clothes, too.

Take a moment; assess your closet and your life. Maybe the slow fashion movement is something you can hang your hat on. It only takes one person at a time to stop spending on fast fashion and make a small difference. All of these small differences add up to large differences. Differences that really mean something. 

Buy less but buy quality.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts