Slow fashion has its pros and cons, for sure. And it’s important to talk about them in order to have a better understanding of our fashion consumption. Because one thing is what we see on social media and the other is the reality. So in this post, we are going to talk in deep about sustainable fashion, what it means, and its pros and cons.
Slow fashion meaning
Basically, slow fashion is a movement focused on taking a more ethical and sustainable approach to fashion. And this is for both retailers and customers. As the industry continues to accelerate, slow fashion proposes a stop and makes us rethink our relationship with fashion. It includes buying high-quality garments and values fair treatment of animals, people, and the planet.
Slow fashion environmental impacts
Everything in the production chain of the fashion industry has a negative environmental impact: from the cultivation of the raw material, or the production of the synthetic fibers, to the main production of the cloth and its distribution. Slow fashion garments have a lower environmental impact than fast fashion ones:
- This movement supports buying second hand and vintage clothes, for example. And this is a great way to give another opportunity to a garment because all the production chain of a new cloth was not needed.
- There are some eco-friendly fashion brands that produce their clothes with fibers that have low environmental impacts because they were recycled or their production chain is more sustainable than others.
- Redesigning or recycling old clothes are other alternatives to continue the life of a garment and no need to buy new ones.
- Also buying quality garments is a good thing to do because they are going to last more than the average of fast fashion clothes.
Slow fashion pros
Slow fashion has many pros. And what happens to me is that every time I read this makes me regret all fast fashion consumption I have made last years. If you want to know a little about it and my plan to be a more responsible fashion consumer, then I recommend you to read my post Fashion consumption: How I changed my mind. Now back at slow fashion pros, here are the ones I consider. Feel free to write more on comments 🙂
Nowadays it’s difficult to find clothes of good quality. The fast fashion industry started at least 10 years ago and changed everything. Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap and disposable clothing. It uses trends replication and low-quality materials in order to bring affordable and trendy styles to the public. Indeed the United Nations established fashion as an environmental and social emergency.
Before the fast fashion industry, clothes used to be made of better quality materials and with a fair production. If you think about it, our grannies have literally treasures in their wardrobes. That’s why it’s key to buy vintage clothing. A garment is considered vintage if it has 10 years or more. Indeed, some people consider vintage a piece at least 20 years old. The quality is great and you will find unique pieces. Furthermore, in fashion, everything comes back. So you can look trendy and stylish wearing vintage clothes.
And last but not least, it’s possible to buy new clothes of good quality. There are slow fashion brands that sell clothes made of sustainable and organic fabrics with zero plastic. So it’s important to read a garment label in order to see what was made of and realize if it’s of good quality or not.
A garment will last if it’s made of good quality materials and if you take care of it. Yes, it is essential to know how to take care of your clothes. For example, not wash them so frequently and before that, read the interior label to see instructions on how to wash them, the temperature, and other conditions. If you start being conscious and pay attention to these details, you will see the difference.
One of the main problems of fast fashion it’s the production chain because of its environmental impacts and working conditions. Nearly all of our clothes are made in countries where workers’ rights are nonexistent. Garment workers are exploited because they are forced to work from about 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and just gain $3 per day in terrible conditions. Indeed this thing was revealed to the public when happened the incident at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh. At least 1,138 workers died when the fashion factory collapsed.
So slow fashion came to change that. When you buy slow fashion you know you are buying clothes made under good working conditions and fair production. And even better, it is a way to support small and local businesses. So, what are you waiting for?
The thing I love the most about slow fashion is the unique pieces you find. Especially in vintage stores. I love wearing clothes that nobody else has. And it’s an approach to exploit your personal style and find new combinations and ways of wearing garments. So go ahead and visit a vintage store. I swear it will be a great experience and you will fall in love with what you find there.
As I said before, I used to be a fast fashion addict. When I traveled I went to shops and buy clothes without any consciousness. I only looked at their cheap prices and just shop. I only worried about if it was trendy. Never taking care if I even like it at all and never asking myself how it was produced. And the thing is that start asking about your fashion consumption habits is life-changing.
First, you start paying attention to details such as reading the label of a garment or taking a look at the brand’s website information about their sustainability action and production chain. For sure there is a lot of greenwashing out there and we have to be careful about that. If you want to know about what means and how to detect greenwashing I recommend you to read my post Greenwashing: what means and how to spot it.
Secondly, you will value your clothes even more and use them as much as you want. Because when you buy clothes that you really like, you will want to wear them a lot. And it’s great to have them for a long time. I used to feel so disappointed when a t-shirt I liked so much was unable to be worn because of its quality.
Slow fashion cons
I know that after reading all of these you will be thinking, which are the slow fashion cons? They are not so dramatic but it is a reality. And feel free to add more of them or just comment what you think about this on comments. I love reading you all! Now let’s talk about them a little.
Most of the time, a brand that works with fair production and good quality materials could have expensive prices. Actually, is the price that it deserves. Nothing is free in life, we all know that. And, for example, it’s impossible that a winter jacket costs $60 in a fast-fashion brand. It is pretty obvious at this point that something is wrong there. So when you see something like that, just read about their materials and try to get some information about the production chain of that brand.
Maybe you are paying more money but actually is cheaper. Because when you buy a piece of good quality and well done it will last much longer than another one that doesn’t. This last one will be in bad condition in a very short time. And it will only make you buy another one. To finish, if you don’t want to or simply can’t buy expensive clothes, I recommend you to purchase vintage clothing. They are much cheaper and you will find little treasures there. I swear.
Difficult to find.
It is true that when we want to buy something specific it is more difficult to find it in a vintage store. They use to have one-of-a-kind and limited stock. The same happens with sustainable brands. Maybe you don’t know many of them and can’t find that piece you are looking for. And this could be a reason you end up buying at a fast-fashion brand.
Sometimes it happens the same to me. But to be honest, nowadays we have the Internet, Google, social media, we have many resources to search for a specific thing and be able to acquire it. In my case, I live in Vienna that is a city full of vintage stores. I was surprised when I first came here and see that there are thrift stores even in shoppings. So now I have no excuses because if I want something, in particular, I should start my search for all these stores.
So the same is to you, be curious and look for vintage stores near you. Even the markets are special places and great to find treasures. Don’t hesitate to ask me for any help with it because I’m always happy to answer your questions.
It’s true that style is everything when we are looking for some clothes to buy. We like shopping in Zara because we know what kind of items we will find there, the same happens with H&M and other massive brands. But what happens with vintage stores and slow fashion brands?
First, it is important to say that there is a wide range of thrift stores and you will find a little bit of everything. Some of them are massive, that kind of shops that you have to spend hours looking through mountains of clothes. In contrast, there are others that have a more specific style. So when you find a vintage store which style fits yours, is the best thing ever!
The same happens with slow fashion brands. Many of them have a “hippie”, nature, vibe that not everyone likes. And that’s a point. But not all of them have the same style so keep looking for slow fashion brands. I’m sure you will find it one day.
It is important to think about all this in order to have a better understanding of our fashion consumption and what we should change. It may be not easy at first and a bit hard to swap 100% of consumer habits. And even more, if you love fashion. But I think that you start loving it more when you realize how important it is to shop smart and have a sustainable wardrobe: full of clothes you love wearing, made of good quality and long-lasting.
This matter is very personal that’s why in this post I talk in general and tell you my own examples. So don’t hesitate to ask me anything you need. I will be happy to talk with you.
If you liked this post then I recommend you to read Fast fashion pros and cons.