By: Hillary LeBlanc , September 6 2022

The terms “Fast” and “Slow” fashion are getting thrown around these days more than ever. Brands and the fashion industry are capitalizing on the societal feeling that consumers are responsible for changing their fashion shopping habits to help fix the planet – and that feeling is true to a certain degree. With this increase responsibility around sustainable fashion, language around sustainability has become more crucial to understand in terms of what clothing you are buying and what impact it has.

“Fast” fashion describes how a vast majority of our clothes are created, how long they remain trendy but does not define the imprint they leave on the planet. “Fast” fashion brands like Fashionova, SHEIN, ZARA produce their clothes without being eco-friendly or sustainability conscious. Clothes are made quickly in order to sell the latest trends, thus the quality is subpar to mediocre at best. Often the working conditions of “Fast” fashion brands are also unethical. “Fast” fashion sells because these awful methods of creating garments allow for the items to be sold at low prices, encouraging more “Fast” fashion to be created. What is not “Fast” or quick about “Fast” fashion is the longevity of these garments on the planet. Textiles created in these methods, with synthetic materials, do not degrade easily and will stay on our planet for twenty to two-hundred years. Not to mention the method that these textiles are dyed can also be detrimental to the planet. 

“Slow” fashion was coined as the term to describe the movement advocating for clothing and apparel manufacturing to be more respectful to the workers, environment and animals used in creating garments. These ideals can be practiced by buying local, sourcing organic fabrics, finding items that are more sustainable or eco-friendly. “Slow” fashion truly does mean purchasing items with deliberate intention, items that were created with that same purpose and intention, staple pieces meant to have a much longer lifespan in your wardrobe that hopefully are created with materials that will decompose in shorter than 200 years. Brands like H&M do also have a more sustainable line to cater to those looking for sustainable options within a more “Fast” fashion price point, though the ideal shopping experience would consist of local brands that have also sourced their factories, fabrics and seamstresses within the same region to reduce your carbon footprint. 

The benefits to “Slow” fashion that people don’t necessarily think of are actually quite important. Shopping local means building a rapport with the designers. By shopping local, often you may get special perks like being invited to exclusive events, borrowing items to model, being given small gifts of appreciation gotten gifts, but best of all is the riveting conversations around how products are made, which designs are chosen, and discussions with designers about what items you like or dislike as they start to think of the next season. Shopping “Slow” also includes small-quantity or fully custom designs. Some ‘Slow’ fahsion designers are not producing overseas nor do they require a Minimum Order Quantity, your item is closer to being one of a kind or guaranteed to be created from a smaller-batch run. This is exciting because you will less likely run into people with the same outfits Often clients can also ask for custom pieces or find designers who do custom work so that you ensure you are fully unique no matter where you go. Choosing fabric, customizing the design and having someone make it for you, is probably the most rewarding and “Slow”-est way to shop. Another popular “Slow” fashion benefit is knowing that money went directly to a person or small business that you may know, trust and whose designs you want to support or whose vision you want to see grow. There is a huge sense of pride in finding local vendors in your home base knowing that you are helping those designers stay in business. 

The “Slow” fashion movement has been encouraging more consumers to shop local as a way to also give back to their communities – as stylishly as possible. There’s no question that consumers like having options but often they are unaware of the differences and / or impact. It is important for consumers to make informed decisions whether they choose to buy “Fast” or “Slow” fashion.

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Published: September 6 2022  |  Author: Hillary LeBlanc  |  Tagged: None