“Slow fashion is about choice, information, cultural diversity, and identity. Yet, critically, it is also about balance. It requires a combination of rapid imaginative change and symbolic expression as well as durability and long-term engaging, quality products.” Kate Fletcher eloquently articulated the value of slowing down our consumption and being purposeful in our choices.
We all know the age-old tale of the tortoise and the hare, with the value of taking your time being expressed through fairy tales and children’s stories. However, these childhood messages tend to fade as we look through our closets, wander aimlessly through stores or browse incessantly online. To be intentionally mindful of your fashion choices can have a bigger impact than you may realize – here are some ways how:
Nowadays, we buy more clothes and keep them for much less time than in recent decades. When you choose slow fashion, you are choosing quality clothing built to last. It minimizes waste along the entire production line, including excess fabric in the workshop, the amount of water used to make it, and the fuel needed to transport it. The final product will remain in a good condition for significantly longer than its fast-fashion counterpart; as a result, you buy less and waste less.
Saves water & reduces carbon emissions
It can take up to 2,700 liters of water to produce a single cotton t-shirt and up to a whopping 10,000 liters for a pair of jeans. In contrast, materials such as hemp require a third of the water needed for cotton and yield 220% more fiber – and that’s without mentioning the many other environmental benefits it reaps! Excessive clothing production, transport, and disposal emits huge amounts of CO2 and heightens our carbon footprints, as well as accounting for 8% of total global carbon emissions. Slow fashion is a response to the overconsumption that perpetuates these unsustainable practices.
Long term savings
The cost of fast fashion is much deeper than it appears on a surface level. While it’s no secret that buying sustainable clothing often comes with a higher price tag, what we don’t hear about is the unseen price of fast fashion placed on those who make the clothes and the environment it comes from. Fast fashion is cheaper in the short term, but it comes at a much higher environmental and human cost. Moreover, fast fashion is not made to last – the low-quality materials break and tear quickly, inevitably requiring the consumer to buy more. Investing in fewer, high-quality items will save money in the long run and not force you back to the shops after two wears.
Gone are the days of sorting through piles of clothing that you didn’t even remember you had, only to wear your favorite shirt for the third time this week. Having key pieces in your wardrobe means that you can mix and match without sacrificing style. The average piece of clothing is worn just seven times before being thrown out. That means replacing clothes ends up feeling like a part-time job that takes more than it gives – no thanks!
Having a few staple pieces means we do not end up with closets full of one-time-wears or items we consider disposable. As conscious consumers, we can limit our spending sprees to what we need and aim to choose materials that have a lower impact on the planet.
Side note: While we can all manage our overconsumption habits, we do not all have the privilege of choosing eco-friendly brands with higher price tags. The real targets of slow fashion are the corporations and big businesses who make a huge profit through corrupt supply chains and do not pay their workers accordingly. On a consumer level, if you can, it’s worth seeking out slow fashion companies and raising the demand for ethical working conditions and sustainable clothing.
Lucky for you, planet-friendly fashion is everywhere now! All different styles and fashions can be found in slow-fashion form, and with a bit of digging, you can be part of the movement to challenge the fast fashion environmental crisis.