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What Is Slow Fashion And Is It Really Revolutionary?

Fast fashion is bad and we’ve come to realise that fact the hard way. With harsh realities about throwaways being constantly sent to landfills, micro-plastics getting released into the ocean with every wash of synthetic fibres, not to mention the cheap and exploitative labour that help manufacture the clothes. These pressing issues are exactly why ‘slow fashion' has surfaced as the solution to beat the fast fashion conundrum. 

Slowing down 101

Slowing down 101 - slow fashion

As its name suggests, slow fashion pretty much the opposes the fast fashion philosophy. The concept promotes a slower, more sustainable approach to fashion that involves buying vintage or second hand clothes, upcycling old wears, shopping from short quantity producers and buying quality pieces that could potentially have a longer lifespan. 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. As with the slow food movement which advocates food that has been prepared with care, using high-quality local and seasonal ingredients, Prof. Fletcher saw a similar need for slower pace in the fashion industry.

According to Prof. Fletcher, slow fashion challenges the consumerist obsession with mass production and becomes a guardian of alternative ways of fashion provision and expression. Slow fashion represents a vision of sustainability by requiring a changed infrastructure and a reduced output of goods. This holistic approach considers the complete life cycle of the product with an ethical and sustainable approach that benefits both consumers and producers.

A change of pace

A change of pace - slow fashion

When it comes to shopping, high price points are usually what stop us in our tracks but it won’t defer us from buying high-quality items that last longer as it would serve as a more cost-effective solution than buying clothing that is prone to wear and tear after a few uses. Slow fashion will inevitably prompt consumers to do exactly that by helping the consumer invest in only a few superior items that will not only promote less expenditure but also prevent waste — the latter being one of the worst existential outcomes from fast fashion. 

Additionally, the concept promotes taking care of what already exists in our wardrobes via means of mending, upcycling and restoring. As a society, we have become less inclined to upcycle because of the cheap fast fashion options that have made clothes so easily available that there is no motivation to repair them. Slow fashion will also promote a rethink and restructure around the current seasonal fashion week setup that not only produces spring/summer and autumn/winter pieces but has also added pre-fall and resort/cruise collections to their existing roster.

Ultimately, slow fashion will end up doing more good than harm while simultaneously promoting sustainable practices with a minimalist school of thought. 


Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-01-15

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