At a protest a woman holds a sign saying, "Less is more, it's Eco-logical".

What is Slow Fashion? 

Many of us have heard of the term fast fashion and the negative effects it can have, but there is also an opposing, positive movement known as slow fashion. Clothes and fashion can be a huge part of our lives. It’s a way to express ourselves and explore styles and fashion movements. 

The slow fashion movement

As we all become more aware of how our choices affect the planet, our consumer mindset has started to shift. 

With the inspiring voices of young activists like Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate and climate scientists. Plus the stirring words from David Attenborough and other nature advocates, many of us are becoming more in tune with nature. We feel closer to nature, and understand how our choices are affecting the world.

One area we can make a difference is in our wardrobes. The fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, accounting for 10% of carbon emissions globally. So choosing slow fashion has plenty of benefits for our world.

A woman with a short brown bob browsing a clothing rail in a small independent shop. A canvas tepee is behind her on the left, and there are two other rails behind her with soft, earthy coloured tops.
Browsing the rails | Photo by Cam Morin on Unsplash

So, what is slow fashion?

Slow fashion is a choice that you make as you browse online collections or the windows of a high street. Instead of buying whatever catches our eye, we need to take a moment to consider the journey that item has been on.

Fast fashion brands create quick, cheap, low-quality products. To save money they cut a lot of corners. Sacrificing care for the environment and even workers’ rights. Slow fashion is a conscious decision to avoid spending your hard-earned money with companies who are only in the fashion game for profit.

Examples of slow fashion

Here are some examples of how we can explore the idea of slow fashion in our own wardrobes.

  • Choose vintage or pre-loved clothing, like a vintage handbag, instead of buying new.
  • Reduce how many clothes, shoes, and accessories we actually buy.
  • Choose quality over quantity.
  • Repair clothes instead of throwing them away.
  • Create a capsule wardrobe.
  • Choose brands with ethical and sustainable values
The front of a vintage store with a neon OPEN sign. The window is full of brightly coloured scarves and unique iron and wood furniture.
Thrift store | Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

The benefits of slow fashion

By curating a slow fashion wardrobe there are lots of benefits for the planet, but also for ourselves. Here are some of the core benefits of slow fashion…

1. It’s sustainable

By buying less and choosing sustainable brands we can reduce our consumption and support sustainable production processes. It’s also one of the benefits we mention in our ‘Why Buy Vintage’ guide.

2. Increased quality and durability

Fast fashion clothing is fast and cheap for a reason. Quality controls are minimal and to keep up with trends the production is rushed. This means cheap materials and rushed stitching resulting in products that won’t last as long. When money allows, we need to invest in fashion brands that promote long-lasting products.

3. You’ll save money in the long run

When you invest in a quality product it’s less likely to wear out quickly. This is especially true of many vintage products. For example, a handbag from Hermès or Prada has been crafted by some of the most highly skilled craftspeople in the world. That means even a secondhand Chanel bag won’t be wearing out any time soon!

4. It supports human rights

Just as product quality is sacrificed in fast fashion, workers’ rights and workplace environments suffer too. By choosing slow fashion brands that value quality, fair wages, and safe work environments, you’re showing fast fashion companies that you prefer to support brands that truly value human rights.

A view along a clothing factory with workers facing away. Pieces of fabric can be seen on the floor and the staff sit on plastic patio chairs.
Fashion factory floor | Photo by Rio Lecatompessy on Unsplash

5. It reduces waste

By buying less and repairing our clothes, we will throw less away in the long term. This means less waste in landfills which in turn can protect waterways and lower emissions from landfills.

A skirt and shoes made from waste products | Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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