Slow fashion is the fastest way to a more sustainable future

September 2021 _ Slow fashion for a sustainable future
Main illustration by Isabelle Feliu

The concept of fast fashion may be common knowledge, but slow fashion is quickly becoming the new way people engage with their wardrobe. We believe the more that slow fashion is supported and celebrated, the better and more sustainable the whole industry will be, leading to a very bright future.

Look, let’s be honest, the title to this article is pretty punchy, and we’re definitely not saying that fashion is going to be the one and only way to create a more conscious-driven, sustainable planet. But each and every one of us are consumers, which means we have purchasing power, which also means the decisions we make on a daily basis do impact our environment.

So the clothes we buy for our wardrobe, is one of those impactful decisions that affect our daily lives.

The reality is, that most of us don’t know where our clothes come from and how eco-friendly the production process is...

...but we believe it’s time for that reality to change.

The different fashion movements

parallax

"fAST FASHION ISN'T FREE. SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, IS PAYING"

Lucy Siegle

Often it’s easier to look at what the opposite of something is, to actually get a better sense of what said thing really means, take fast fashion for example. The opposite of slow fashion.

What is fast fashion and what does it look like?

These two facts give you a very good sense of what the results of fast fashion look like:

1. Around 84% of clothing is thrown away ending up in landfills or incinerators. according to a recent study by the EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency.

2. The average person buys 60% more items of clothing every year and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago, producing immense volumes of textile waste. (Greenpeace 2016)

When fashion is fast, it’s cheap, doesn’t last long in your wardrobe and ends up being thrown away and most often rarely or never worn.

In recent years, fashion has been transforming, offering cheaper clothes, trend cycles have sped up, and we’ve seen shopping become a hobby, which have led to an unhealthy and unsustainable fashion culture.

The economic, social and environmental impact of this type of culture and mindset of consumers is harmful. Enter slow fashion!

If slow fashion was a person it would be your calm, kind friend. The friend that always has time to listen to what’s going on with you, wants to enjoy sipping on tea for hours and prefers quality over quantity. Slow fashion is clothing that has been made to last. It’s made up of sustainable fabric, using sustainable practices, that don’t harm people or the environment and a piece that you fall in love with for life.

Slow fashion also supports buying vintage or second hand clothes, repurposing old clothes, buying from smaller brands, and buying quality garments with a longer lifespan.

Slow fashion was originally coined by Kate Fletcher, a fashion consultant and design activist from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The slow food movement was in full effect and Fletcher saw a need for a slower pace in the fashion industry, just like that of the food industry. She now consults companies on how to transform their processes to become sustainable inside and out.

Innovation and technology will be our saviours

As always when we find ourselves in a pickle we turn to fresh ideas, new innovations, and emerging technology to bridge the gap and find a solution.

Innovative processes, designs and ideas

Below are some super cool innovations we’ve discovered to create clothes, without compromising on style!

Recycling fashion

Check out this town that’s turning waste into clothes. A small town in Italy called Prato has built its fortune on taking old scraps and transforming them into new clothes, particularly knitwear and wool pieces.

Good on You

A new application that provides ethical ratings for fashion brands that are based on their impact. This brand rating system brings together standards, certifications and publically available data and offers this knowledge into a simple and accessible 5-point score system. A wonderful way to promote transparency across the fashion industry and which also allows customers to make conscious purchasing decisions.

Algiknit

Produces durable yet rapidly degradable yarns from kelp, a variety of seaweed, which is one of the most regenerative organisms on the planet. Algiknit’s process transforms the biopolymer mixture into a kelp-based thread that can be knitted or 3D printed to minimize waste. The end result is a biodegradable material that operates in a closed-loop product lifecycle.

Frumat

The brand uses apples to create a leather-like material. Frumat's founder Hannes Parth came up with the idea to develop this plant leather alternative from apple pomace, an industrial waste product used to create sustainable materials that are totally compostable whilst still being durable. The leathers can also be dyed naturally without the chemical harm to the environment.

Vollebak

A compostable plant and pomegranate-based hoodie. This innovative clothing brand has created a hoodie made from the pulp of eucalyptus trees that will break down in a compost heap within eight weeks. Sourced from sustainably managed forests, the plant-based jumper has been dyed using pomegranate and designed to be fully biodegradable and compostable.

Joining the slow fashion movement

1. Inform yourself

Researching into the slow fashion movement and then applying it to what works for you is the first step! Check out some slow fashion book suggestions here, listen to podcasts here, and watch some documentaries and short stories here

2. Make meaningful purchases

Ever gone on a splurge or spontaneous shopping spree and got home to think, what is all this stuff I just bought? Buying quality, practical items that are going to bring meaning into your life is a great exercise to start practicing. Think before you buy.

3. Invest in solid basics

It’s called a capsule wardrobe, made famous by Donna Karan. This wardrobe method encourages you to choose 7 practical, stylish and lasting pieces that you can mix and match with for eternity, (well you know what we mean!)

SUMMARY

The past decade has seen a wave of transformation sweep through the fashion industry. Fashion companies and brands have begun to reject certain principles of fast fashion and opt for a more sustainable approach to making clothes.

And we believe it’s important for all companies and brands to be accountable, take responsibility, begin being transparent and make changes to the processes or practices within their production that aren’t sustainable.

Slow fashion is the fastest way to a more sustainable fashion. Slow fashion is the new black, and we are here for it.

“We do not
inherit the
Earth from our
Ancestors, we
borrow it from
our children”

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