What if the clothes you were wearing could tell you how they were made? Would you be embarrassed by their answer or proud; would you reconsider your purchasing habits?
Here are several words that come to mind when I hear the words ‘fast fashion’ and ‘slow fashion’:
Fast Fashion– Cheaply made, sweatshops, big brands, unfair wages, falls apart, seasonal, trend, mass-production, exploitation, hunger, addictive consumption, child labor, toxic, waste, landfill…
Slow Fashion– Artisans, craftsmanship, quality, handmade, vintage, small brands, sturdy, fair treatment, sustainable, ethical, transparent, local, classic, minimalistic, long-lasting, natural, thoughtful, individuality, unique, consciousness, timeless…
The ‘slow fashion’ term originated from Kate Fletcher, a researcher, author, consultant and design activist, and has been defined in the following way: “Slow fashion is not a seasonal trend that comes and goes like animal print, but a sustainable fashion movement that is gaining momentum.” It is an overall representation of ‘sustainable’, ‘eco’, ‘green’, and ‘ethical’ fashion movements.
No doubt you can appreciate and relate more to the words associated with ‘slow fashion’, so why does the mainstream consumer base continue representing themselves by wearing clothes that have been made cheaply and whose manufacturing process may have caused other people harm?
Often people are motivated by the convenience of fast fashion clothes and their cheap price tags, but now that more sustainable brands are emerging with the ease of online shopping, this can no longer be an argument. It really comes down to habit and individual choices.
The good news is that by 2013 the annual spending on healthier and sustainable products had doubled in the span of 4 years to at least $21.5 billion, and each year there is an increase in the number of people who are willing to pay more for a product or service as long as the difference has a positive effect on society. Also, larger brands ARE starting to see the importance of transparency and ethical practices. Some large-scale companies have even founded their brands on sustainability policies and transparent production, such as Everlane. What they have realized is that this strong set of values will set them apart from other brands, will create more positive press coverage around their company, and that there is a demand for it.
From experience I can say that now, owning less and higher-quality clothing, I feel a lot better about my life and myself. I also don’t spend hours trying to figure out what I’m going to wear and then regret wearing it later, because I only have pieces that I love and feel good in. There’s no more ‘spring cleaning’ since I’m focused on owning only a few high quality basics. Now I use my time and money on valuable experiences.
How would you describe fast fashion and slow fashion? I’d love to know.
Respond in the comment box below or send me a direct email at danicaratte [at] gmail.com
Danica Ratte is a travel addict who grew up and went to university in the US, moved to Australia for 3.5 years, and now resides in Vietnam, living out her dreams of designing consciously. She was inspired to start her sustainable handbag line, Wild Tussah, after a life-changing 5-week trip through South East Asia. Danica was blown away by the local ethnic weavers’ skills and their excitement to teach others about it. After she found out that these weave cultures were in danger of going extinct, she decided she had to work with the artisans directly to help preserve their traditions. Now she asks this question every day: “Do you know where your bags come from?” If you are interested in her bags, you can check out her Ecohabitude shop, or read more about women’s empowerment, sustainable fashion, culture preservation, weaving traditions, eco-tourism and anything else Vietnam-related by going to the Wild Tussah blog.