Slow Fashion: Concept & Meaning

Slow Fashion in 2021

Sustainable Fashion has come a long way from addressing environmental concerns as product differentiators to fashion brands incorporating the sustainability as an industrial practise. However, it will still take time before Slow Fashion charms its way to these fast fashion brands.

What is Slow Fashion ?

The term “slow fashion” was coined in 2007 by Kate Fletcher in an article published in The Ecologist, where she compared the eco / sustainable / ethical fashion industry to the slow food movement.

Slow Fashion developed as a natural reaction to fast fashion: where trends change every season, clothing and accessories are affordable but low quality and end up in the trash in no time.

In fast fashion the cost of garments is so low, consumers are tempted into purchasing new clothes with each new trend, meanwhile, their old, unwanted clothes are discarded.

The Slow Fashion Movement works towards creating an industry that benefits the planet and all people. The movement advocates principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.

SlowFashion is an awareness and approach to fashion, which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing, particularly focusing on sustainability. It involves buying better-quality garments that will last for longer and values fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.

Seventy-five percent of fashion supply chain material ends up in landfills. This amounts to the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles per second

The Pulse of fashion Industry, 2018 Report

Few basic features of Slow Fashion Brand

  • Made from high quality, sustainable materials
  • Often in smaller (local) stores rather than huge chain enterprises
  • Locally sourced, produced and sold garments
  • Few, specific styles per collection, which are released twice or maximum three times per year.
  • Zero Waste

From top end to small scale designers the values that make up the SlowFashion movement suggest a complete overhaul of consuming and production.  

This approach has inspired many changes in recent years, particularly in the production of clothing, but also in consumer behaviour. SlowFashion has seen increasing support in the last few years, with an awareness from consumers demanding higher sustainability and ethical standards.

How to Practise Slow Fashion ?

This is surprisingly easier than it looks.

  • Begin by giving up the urge to impulse buy.
  • Invest in well-made and lasting clothes.
  • Shop local
  • Buy timeless designs and evergreen styles vs seasonal trends
  • Avoid fast fashion brands and particularly green washing brands (brands that say they are sustainable, but you know they are not.)
  • Think before you dispose, repair, donate, upcycle.

How Slow Fashion is Different from Sustainable Fashion & Ethical Fashion:

There seems to be a lot of confusion between slow, ethical and sustainable fashion. This is understandable as there is a lot in common, sustainable fashion cannot be sustainable without being ethical, at the same time, what good is slowfashion without being sustainable.

The difference between them lies in their focus. Sustainable Fashion is often concerned with the environmental impact and Ethical fashion is often concerned with human and animal rights.

While slow, ethical and sustainable fashion all describe efforts towards an aspirational goal—rethinking our relationship to clothes—slowfashion combines a brand’s practices with a customer’s shopping habits. The movement works towards creating an industry that benefits the planet and all people.

Over the years, runways across the globe have been addressing environment concerns one theme at a time including Sustainability, Zero Waste and Slow Fashion. While the fashion industry has improved its social and environmental performance. The industry remains far from sustainable.