By: Claire Seizovic
Slow fashion is thoughtful, holistic, and intentional. Study NY defines slow fashion as the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, and lower carbon footprints. Slow fashion is also the widespread reaction to fast fashion, which denotes inexpensive, low-quality, mass-produced, and machine-made garments that often quickly end up in landfills.
According to Tat Udomritthiruj (Social Compliance Manager at the Fair Labor Association – Washington DC), slow fashion pieces are typically designed with longevity and quality in mind, and—most importantly—slow fashion usually means the items are made in factories with fair labor conditions (which broadly means they have strong health and safety systems in place that respect workers’ voices and provide fair wages).
Jocie Fifield (Sewist and Slow Fashion Advocate – Boston, MA) notes, “On the producer side, slow fashion pieces are often designed, made, and shared with ethical, inclusive, and intentional practices that are documented transparently. This includes everything from living wages and benefits for workers to clarity on social justice practices, fabric sourcing, and environmental practices. On the consumer side, slow fashion can be considered a practice of being intentional about the clothing that one acquires.” That may mean buying from “slow fashion” brands, however, those brands often have inaccessible price points for the majority of consumers. Luckily, Fifield asserts, that’s not the only way to participate in slow fashion. Slow fashion could include repairing garments when they rip instead of disposing of them, making intentional choices about how much clothing to acquire, or primarily purchasing second-hand.
So, why slow fashion?
- Save Money
Invest in fewer, better things. Paying more now for something that lasts longer will ultimately have a lower cost-per-wear than a comparable fast fashion piece. Learning how to thoughtfully purchase pieces that you will have for a lifetime will ultimately save you more money.
- Enjoy a More Minimalist Lifestyle
Practice a minimalist lifestyle by truly considering every purchase and researching the practices of companies you purchase from.
- Feel Better About Your Purchases
Participating in slow fashion is one way to combat fast fashion, which has detrimental effects on the economy, environment, and labor rights. For more information, go here.
- Save Money
Advice for transitioning away from fast fashion and towards slow fashion:
You don’t have to buy from “slow fashion” brands to practice slow fashion. “Start with your existing wardrobe and think about how you can mend, change, re-style pieces you already own to increase their longevity. And if ‘slow fashion’ brands are within your budget, vote with your dollars. Support brands that have transparent labor practices, donate portions of their revenue to causes you care about, and are environmentally conscious,” says Fifield.
Udomritthiruj recommends that consumers shop from brands that care about who makes their clothes. “One of the easiest actions is to find the section on the brand website where they state where their clothes are coming from. It has become the norm for companies to have a Social Impact or a factory information section on their website, where they list the factories they work with and hold themselves accountable to any issues the factories might face publicly. If a company does not have social compliance information available, but you really want to purchase from them, contact them and ask them for more information! Tell them that you want to learn more about where their clothes come from and how they ensure workers are protected in their factories.”
Slow Fashion Expert Contributors
Jocie Fifield, Sewist and Slow Fashion Advocate – Boston, MA
Tat Udomritthiruj, Social Compliance Manager at the Fair Labor Association – Washington DC
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Fair Labor Association.