The Push for Slow Fashion
I remember when skinny jeans replaced boot cut jeans. A slow transition for sure, but one that left enough room for self-righteous condemnation over the “poor out of fashion souls.” Then this past year wouldn’t you know it, but flare and wide leg jeans have made a strong come back! It got me thinking about how silly fashion trends are. Don’t get me wrong. I love fashion and love wearing the latest trends. But why does fashion have to move so fast? And maybe the more important question to ask is, what is the cost to fast fashion?
Fast fashion comes from the world of retailers taking the trends they see on the runway and reproducing them for the everyday man or woman at a much lower price. Sounds fine, right? Not so much. Workers in third world countries end up absorbing the production costs by getting paid low wages and working in unfit environments.
Real people. Real lives. Real impact.
That’s not the only cost through. With trends changing so quickly (have you ever seen the same outfit in Target for 3 months? Clearance doesn’t count!), companies don’t need to make good quality items anymore. Haven’t we come to expect a pair of $30 sandals to last just one season?
But I think fast fashion impacts us personally as well. With trends being pushed so heavily upon us, there is little to no room to think about our personal style. One of the beautiful things about fashion is that we get to express ourselves through our clothes. We get to have a deeper relationship with what we wear, the people who made it for us, and the impact it has on the earth. But all that is taken away when we discard an item when it becomes outdated.
So what is the alternative? Slow fashion. It’s a movement of designing, creating, and buying clothes for quality and longevity.
Are trends nixed from slow fashion? No, Of course not! But the priority is on the quality and longevity. Slow fashion encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, low carbon footprint, and less waste. It’s a holistic approach to life and fashion. This is a movement that takes back control back from big retailers.
The personal benefit to slow fashion is that you begin to think differently about your wardrobe.
My personal favorite is that it encourages the art of sewing. Making your own clothes changes your relationship with your clothing. They become something you cherish rather than something easily disposed of. It’s all a trade off; by thinking less about what other people think of you in your clothes, you get to feel better about the clothes you wear.
Admittedly, this is a process for me too. I often find myself fighting my desire for a trendy cheap top. But I’m choosing to be intentional about what I purchase and why. I’ve been taking stock of what I like to wear and then finding patterns to make it myself. I like the freedom of not being limited to what I see in the stores and the self-expression that comes from choosing fabrics and patterns that I am drawn to.
Join the Movement.
Here are some ways to join the slow fashion movement:
1. Make your own clothes. There are some amazing small modern pattern makers that I just love to support. They make their patterns so that anyone can learn to sew. So don’t be intimidated, you have to start somewhere!
2. Rather than purging your wardrobe, keep wearing what you have that you love and refashion what you don’t love. My absolute favorite inspiration is Cotton and Curls. She makes it accessible so that everyone can refashion their wardrobe.
3. Shop Local!
4. Don’t Impulse shop. Instead, think about it, then plan it out, save for it, and then purchase.
5. Buy higher quality items that will last longer than a season (both in style and quality).
6. Shop thrift and consignment stores. Caveat: Don’t impulse buy! Instead look for your favorite brands and be selective about the items you purchase.
7. Think about doing a Capsule Wardrobe.