Fast fashion has grown in popularity and growth over the years, as retail giants like Zara and ASOS continue to churn out new styles and cuts at an ever-increasing rate, low costs, and low prices, trapping consumers in their bubble. Who, in all honesty, could say no to such a terrific deal?
As fast fashion becomes known as one of the most polluting businesses in the world, more and more people are becoming aware of the negative externalities associated with these brands. As a result, the fashion world has seen a transition with the introduction of ‘Slow Fashion.’
“Slow fashion is the polar opposite of quick fashion,” according to GoodOnYou. It refers to a fashion awareness and approach that takes into account the processes and resources needed to create apparel. It promotes the purchase of higher-quality garments that will last longer, as well as equitable treatment of people, animals, and the environment. Slow fashion and sustainable or ethical fashion, in reality, have a lot in common. They are sister movements with similar general principles. The primary difference with slow fashion is that it focuses more precisely on minimizing consumption and output” (Hill, 2021).
Slow fashion, unlike fast fashion, emphasizes values such as using sustainable materials, producing longer-lasting products, sourcing and manufacturing locally, slower production schedules, zero to minimal waste production cycles, and releasing fewer collections per year. Fast fashion, on the other hand, produces multiple collections per year, and is often referred to as “throwaway fashion” due to its low price points and nondurable materials. It is also known for replicating catwalk trends faster, with greater convenience and affordability, and is often associated with unethical practices.
What is the significance of this?
Slow fashion is a movement started by more aware customers who want to reverse or at least slow down the consequences of the fast fashion industry’s decades of widespread conquest. Slow fashion does not imply unfashionable or exceedingly basic apparel; rather, it is purchasing style without feeling bad. Making the transition from our cherished and known “go- to’s” to an unfamiliar environment might be difficult, but trust me, it’s well worth it.
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We are buying more clothes than ever before and discarding them even more quickly. Slow fashion firms are more than just environmentally friendly clothing; they are a cry for help to anybody who would listen. Consumers feel compelled to keep on trend and replace the old with the new as trends change and evolve at a faster rate. Younger consumers, such as Millennials and Generation Z, are a big target market for fast fashion manufacturers, particularly now that their purchasing power has skyrocketed. However, a sizable portion of this group is opting out of the typical everyday stores and debating whether or not to purchase things from unethical firms. It is critical to raise awareness and knowledge of slow fashion as a concept and firms that adhere to this philosophy and business model.
- Here are some facts from Business Insider to put the negative impact of the fast fashion business in perspective:
- “People bought 60% more clothes in 2014 than they did in 2000, but they only kept them for half as long.”
- “Every second, the equivalent of a garbage truck load of clothing is burned or deposited in a landfill.”
- “Each year, up to 85% of textiles are discarded in landfills.”
- “The fashion sector is responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions in the world.”
- “The fashion business is also the world’s second-largest water consumer.”
- “The fashion sector contributes 20% of all industrial water pollution in the globe.”
Slow fashion brands prioritize the environment, their workers, and other ethical concerns both internally and externally, unlike quick fashion brands. These firms prioritize higher wages and improved working conditions throughout their supply chains, as well as the use of high-quality, biodegradable materials. As a result, such fabrics do not affect the environment and may be safely discarded when no longer needed. As a result, fewer clothes are abandoned in landfills and left to rot, resulting in less waste. In comparison to quick fashion firms, the research and development that goes into the development of such products, as well as the time and effort spent, takes a lot longer.
As a result, the final price point is inflated by the costs of using high-quality materials and paying greater wages. Overall, the one-time cost may be higher, but the value and lifetime of the products acquired outweigh the cost over time. Finally, according to a Forbes article, 90 percent of the apparel we buy gets thrown away before it is needed, according to study. This is a staggering figure that demonstrates how important it is for all customers to first buy LESS and then invest in slow fashion brands that feature timeless pieces and high, long-lasting quality. It’s time to put our people and the environment first.