Slow fashion is an awareness and approach to fashion which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing. It advocates for buying better-quality garments that will last longer and valuing fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.
The beginnings of slow fashion
Over the last few years, a wave of change has been sweeping through the fashion industry. An increasing number of brands are rejecting the principles of fast fashion, as a more sustainable approach to making clothes comes to the fore.
The term “slow fashion” came about quite organically. It was coined by Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, following the phenomena of the slow food movement. As with the slow food movement, Fletcher saw a need for a slower pace in the fashion industry.
Slow fashion opposes the fast fashion model that emerged around 20 years ago, in which clothes became cheaper and trend cycles sped up. With brands like H&M burning 12 tonnes of unsold garments per year in spite of its ongoing sustainability efforts to close the loop in fashion, it’s clear that this philosophy is necessary.
Slow fashion becomes a movement
Pre-Industrial Revolution, garments were locally sourced and produced. People would buy durable clothing that could serve them for a long time or make their own from the textiles and resources available to them. Clothing reflected the place and culture of the people wearing them.
Modern day slow fashion has seen a reemergence of some of these old ways. It encourages us to buy fewer garments, less often. Instead of purchasing dozens of cheap clothes, conscious consumers invest in higher quality pieces made from more sustainable processes that emphasize the art of clothes making and celebrate the skills of craftspeople.
Slow fashion has seen increasing support in the last few years as consumers demand higher sustainability and ethical standards. As research shows, 19% of the top fast fashion-related searches are linked to the environment, ethics and sustainability.
Some characteristics of a slow fashion brand
- Made from high quality, sustainable materials
- Often sold in smaller (local) stores rather than huge chain enterprises
- Locally sourced, produced, and sold garments
- Few, specific styles per collection, which are released twice or maximum three times per year
Some staple brands
These brands implement fair practices for their environmental, ethical and animal impacts and are great starting points if you are looking for some initial slow fashion staples.