To explain slow fashion I usually start at the other end. It’s easier to say what slow fashion is not. It’s NOT fast fashion. It’s NOT throwaway culture. It’s NOT buying things that you know will be used just once. It’s the opposite of all that. Opposite of what has become the new normal.
So let’s start with fast fashion and the current consumption behavior. As you might have already understood we are consuming way too much and way too fast, and it’s projected to grow even more. We are today buying 60% more than 15 years ago and the global industry has more than doubled since 2000. If we continue the growth the fashion industry will account for more than one fourth of emissions worldwide in 2050…
Why is this way of consuming a problem?
It requires a lot of resources to make clothes. Everything from growing the crop or extracting oil for making fibers and then fabrics, to all the energy used in factories, to the actual labor making the clothes and then transportation and all the stores and warehouses to provide with lighting and heating.
And we are not only buying at an increasing rate. We are also throwing out faster than ever. On average a garment is used just four times before being thrown away and many of our purchased garments don’t even make it a year…
“Buy less, choose well, make it last”
– Vivienne Westwood
How do we slow down fashion?
There are several ways of promoting slow fashion. Here are my best tips!
Buy less and less frequently
This is the simplest way of slowing down fashion. Buying less will obviously reduce your overall impact and when you force yourself to buy less you become more mindful of the purchases you do make.
Buy quality so it lasts longer
When we invest in qualitative items they are more likely to last. Most of the fashion made today is low-quality and will start to break or lose color in a few wears, which is neither sustainable nor fun.
Buy clothes that fit properly
With standard sizing, this can be a real issue, but if the fit feels off, you will most likely not wear it. We have all bought items that you love in the store, but its a bit too tight at the waist or can’t really fit your shoulders and we all know that those are not the items we reach for in the closet later on. So only buy things that actually fit your current body.
Buy timeless pieces that won’t go out of style
This might seem boring to some, but investing in a closet that stands the test of time is a great way to engage in slow fashion. Fast fashion is built on trends that change every few weeks, while slow fashion is rather built on style, which will last you way longer. So by investing in timeless cuts, colors, and garments, you will find yourself having more to wear every season.
Take good care of the clothes you own
Making clothes last is not only about how you buy them but also about how you care for them. How we care for our clothes has a big impact on their longevity and impact, so make sure you follow the instructions on the washing label, as well as mending items that break instead of buying new.
Consider swapping or rental subscriptions
If you think that timeless is the epitome of boring go for more sustainable options to trendy consumption, such as clothing swaps or rental subscriptions. That way you can have a steady stream of new clothes coming and going, while not actually consuming anything. Win-win!
What’s your best tips for slow fashion?