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Sustainable Fashion vs. Slow Fashion: Is One Better Than the Other?

Sustainable fashion and its meaning seems to have gotten lost in translation somewhere along the line. While greenwashing is primarily to blame for this, it doesn’t help that there are a growing number of terms that everyone has to now keep up with to stay in the know — and ‘slow fashion’ happens to be one of them. So, is there a difference between the two? And is one better than the other? Keep reading to find out.

Key Takeaways: Slow fashion

Slow fashion is the complete antithesis to fast fashion; the concept promotes a slower, more sustainable approach to wearing clothes. It involves thrift shopping, second-hand clothes, upcycling old garments, shopping from small quantity producers to quality pieces with a longer lifespan. In essence, it embodies everything that fast fashion lacks.

The term ‘slow fashion’ was coined by Kate Fletcher, Professor of sustainability, design and fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, after being inspired by the slow food movement. Like the slow food movement that advocates food prepared with care, using high-quality local ingredients, Prof. Fletcher saw a similar need for a slower pace in the fashion industry. According to Prof. Fletcher, slow fashion challenges the consumerist obsession with mass production and globalised style. Slow fashion represents a hyper-futuristic vision of sustainability. It accounts for the dire long-term effects of fast fashion consumption by focusing on the quality of production & final products that have the most negligible impact on our environment. 

This holistic approach considers the product’s complete lifecycle with an ethical and sustainable system that benefits both consumers and producers. So, when a brand takes time to produce beautiful clothes that are made to last with a social conscience, it abides by the rules of slow fashion.

Sustainable fashion

While sustainability has no widely held definition, sustainable fashion can be considered a practice of design, production, and communication that values diversity, prosperity and well-being of both people and the environment. Sustainable fashion questions the industry’s status quo that still prioritises profit over pressing social and environmental concerns. While the invention of eco-conscious textiles and materials has been on the rise, these efforts remain insignificant if the production rates, consumption, and disposal of fashion constantly keep increasing. 

To make a true impact in sustainable fashion, we have to stop focusing on quick ways and instead commit to long-term solutions that tackle the underlying causes of environmental waste and social costs of fashion. How can we achieve this? A radical “unlearning of fashion-as-we-know-it” and finding new and richer ways of enjoying and giving value to fashion could be the answer. 

Endorsing brands that are sustainable and practice slow fashion ways of production could be a good start. Slow fashion is a piece of the sustainable fashion puzzle, and sustainability doesn’t exist without it.

As proud proponents of both the slow fashion movement and sustainability, ZAVI takes pride in providing perennial styles made consciously with the most sustainable plant-based materials we can source. In our commitment to provide you with the most sustainable fashion, we make sure that our styles outlive trends and can last you a long time.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-04-20

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