We hear or read more and more these two words – “Slow Fashion”, which is great. People who care about what they wear might know what this means. However, i believe this is a blurred expression for many of us. So here it is, WHAT MEANS SLOW FASHION?
You have probably read my previous article “Is fashion the 2nd most polluting industry in the world?” and so it is not a secret for you anymore that the FASHION INDUSTRY HAS A PLACE OF CHOICE ON THE PODIUM OF THE MOST POLLUTING INDUSTRIES IN THE WORLD.
Slow Fashion is somehow forcing us to go back to some old traditions as well as old natural fibres which tended to disappear, but it is not about leaving aside all what we learned for this last century, it is not about going back to the Stone Age. We have created wonderful technics to be able to use more types of crops, to make the tasks less arduous for the people working in this industry, and so on.
Slow fashion is about loving the apparel for a fair long time.
Slow fashion is about appreciating the value of the seamstress, is about knowing her/him personally.
Slow fashion is about considering the “slowness” of the process.
Slow fashion is about willing to leave a clean planet behind us and so to use fibres which would easily decompose in the sol.
As you may know the movement Slow Fashion is fairly new but what you might not know is that actually slow fashion used some principles of the slow-food movement – GOOD, CLEAN AND FAIR, because both are part of the slow movement and because it applied well to the fashion world; simple as that. It was organically formed by Kate Fletcher (The Centre for Sustainable Fashion) with reference to the trend of slow food.
Deciding to change our habits for slow brands is not only buying with integrity, it is also creating and sewing with a conscious, buying well-made clothes which will last, supporting fair-wages and good work conditions. It is about reducing the harmful impact the industry can have to the planet. It is about fair treatment to animals. It is about wearing beautiful clothes – No, you do not have to buy only clothes from thrift stores to follow the slow fashion movement but somehow you have to shift and to stop to constantly buy garments like fast fashion “suggest” us to do.
ANOTHER SIDE I LIKE ABOUT SLOW FASHION IS THE ACCENTUATION ON THE ART OF MAKING GARMENTS. I assume many of us do not think about the person who design, and even less about the person who sew the garment when we buy a piece of clothing. We have to remember that there are many people behing one piece of clothing, and it request a lot of skills and knowledge to manage to sew and to imagine new collections all the type. SLOW FASHION MOVEMENT IS ALSO A WAY TO PAY A TRIBUTE TO THE CRAFTPEOPLE.
At this point, you might think, – “Alright, this is all really nice but those clothes, accessories, shoes will be more expensive”…
Do not worry, in the past we had way less garments and it worked perfectly fine. This need of constant new clothes has been created by fast fashion and this “bug” is fixable 😉
Anyway, when you think it is expensive, try to remember how much those ten t-shirts you bought last year costed you in total – Isn’t it the same price than one or two good t-shirts you could keep five years and over?
Please question the price tag – Why is it that cheap? How can it be? How many times will you be able to wear it? Would you like to be considered as low value as some people on this industry chain are?
However, if something is incredibly expensive question it too. Unfortunately many luxury brands are expensive but do not offer ethical, eco or lasting clothes.
As always when you want to buy responsibly in this field you have to do your research, but hopefully one day slow fashion will be the norm and you will not have to.
WHAT SLOW FASHION BRANDS OFFER?
About you and your clothes
.High quality clothes, made to be durable and not disposable
.Location in small shops instead of big chain firms which create an intimate friendly feel
.Few pieces per collection, which themselves are released twice or three times a year – Isn’t it great not to wear the same clothes than everyone else?
.Transparency on the materials, the fabrics and the process
.Connection to the artisans who make your clothes and accesories
Behind the scene
.Create safe work conditions and fair wages to live properly
.Reduce the carbon footprint as the brand sell locally sourced and produced garments
.Reduce the water pollution thanks to natural fibres and dyes
.Treat the animals as living beings
.Pick the best fibres for the environment such as the bamboo, the eucalyptus (Tencel), or the linen for instance
Let’s keep in mind that a brand does not have to check all the boxes to be considered a slow fashion brand. Yet more the brand will embody those above ideas more it will tend to a “true” slow brand.
Slow fashion stand up for both nature and people.
6 Essential rules to be a great SLOW FASHIONISTA
1.Consider only what you need – Always go for shopping or browse on internet when you need something
2.Create your own style – MANY PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU TO BE MINIMALIST TO FOLLOW THE SLOW FASHION MOVEMENT; I TEND TO DISAGREE WITH THAT as it often means black, white and pale colors on classical pieces.
There are so many creative artisans out there who make colorful, fun and daring garments and accessories who deserve to be known and i still believe that fashion is a wonderful way to express our personnality and emotions!
3.Invest in quality and lasting garments – From new well-made clothes but it can also be secondhand or from deadstocks. Well-made clothes will last for years.
4.Buy well fitted and comfortable apparels – Easier to say i know… Sometimes we fall in love with a dress and sincerely think we will wear it from time to time but we knew it was not really comfy however we bought it… If it is not comfortable you will stop wearing it (exceptions appart).
5.Never throw away – Your garment is still in good condition but for some reasons you cannot or do not want to wear it anymore you can sell it or donate it, host a clothing swap or a garage sale. There are some holes or you want to change the style with some tricks – It is time to learn how to sew or at least mend, patch and alter, but you can also give it to a dressmaker.
6.Do your research – You can find more and more material on internet to get how to find fair brands, to discover brands which are “slow”, to be aware where not to go, which brands to avoid etc.
If you want to EXPLORE SOME LEADS, following are SOME SLOW FASHION BRANDS offering garments for women and men, jewels and shoes
Son de Flor
As a consumer myself, i know how confusion it can be when we want to change our habits, how hard it is to know where to start and in which direction to go. You might feel powerless, but YOU ARE POWERFUL! Choose brands committed to slow fashion and avoid the fast fashion brands which are well known, and even boycot them if you dare 😉 If everyone does that, at some point things will evolve for good!
To conclude, none of the so-called slow fashion brands might be perfect but it is great that some brands try to make a change in the fashion industry and VALUE EVERYONE ON THE CHAIN – the Earth, the crops, the seamstresses, the consumers… Every company has its own way of seeing slow fashion and so apply slow fashion rules in different ways.
IF YOU WANT TO GO FURTHER, i suggest these 4 BOOKS to you
Slow Clothing: Finding meaning in what we wear by Jane Milburn
A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life by Tara Button
The Future of Fashion: Understanding Sustainability in the Fashion Industry by Tyler Little
Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe by Greta Eagan