In today’s world, everything is instantaneous. The twenty-first century is the first time in human history that people have access to the internet. Ever since the creation of the internet, trends and pop culture phenomenons are popping up just as fast as they’re becoming irrelevant. This constant rush from one thing to another may seem harmless, and for the most part is, however, it is complacent in the growth and popularity of one of the most dangerous things known to mankind: fast fashion.
Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. Fast fashion is what allows consumers to dress in the same styles as their fashion idols. Although making fashion more accessible to mainstream consumers is most definitely not a bad thing, the way the fast fashion world makes fashion “accessible” is far from good. Fast fashion’s very survival is reliant on the pressure to reduce costs and speed up production, which almost always ensues in disastrous environmental consequences.
A 2019 study by the UN Environmental Organization found that the fashion industry was responsible for 8% of global carbon emission that year. It would be a considerable understatement to say that fast fashion is not good for the environment. Fast fashion is lethal to the future of human survival. If we want to continue surviving, let alone thriving on our planet, we need to abolish this never-ending cycle of destruction with no return. This is where slow fashion comes in.
The Good Trade defines slow fashion as, “a movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and ideally zero waste.” To put it simply, slow fashion, as the name implies, is quite frankly the opposite of fast fashion. Rather than using trend replication and mass production techniques, slow fashion slows down the pace of the fashion industry by using sustainable materials, and eco-friendly practices while fairly compensating their employees.
The slow fashion cycle begins with brands and companies creating unique designs. These designs then get turned into reality, using eco-friendly materials and practices that are safe for employees. Employees of slow fashion companies are provided with liveable wages for their work and do not have to worry about life-threatening working conditions. Once garments are made, they are sold to consumers and, due to the quality materials that make them up, end up lasting for years, doubling and even tripling the life span of fast fashion produced garments.
As a result of the grimness of fast fashion, slow fashion companies and brands have started popping up around the world. Even better, the slow fashion movement is causing many brands that have resorted to fast fashion to reconsider their practices and start working towards boosting their sustainability game. As time goes by, slow fashion is taking the fashion world by storm. Sustainably made garments are becoming increasingly easier to find as more and more people are aware of the dangers of fast fashion.
As climate change continues to escalate, some companies and brands are stepping up in order to secure a safe and livable future for generations to come. Slow fashion won’t completely end global warming; however, it’s a giant leap in the right direction. Only, when the fashion industry begins taking accountability for the atrocities that it has contributed, we can end this epidemic of environmental destruction.
That being said, as a consumer, there is still a lot you can do. As slow fashion gains more popularity and attention, it is becoming more affordable and accessible to everyday people. Next time you consider going out shopping, look to see if you can find a sustainable alternative to your usual fast fashion stores. As a consumer, you have a huge say over which business models flourish and which become extinct. Use your wallet in a way that benefits the Earth.
Fast fashion is one of the biggest problems facing modern civilization, and slow fashion is the answer to stopping it. By providing safe working conditions, investing in quality materials, and minimizing environmental impacts, slow fashion brands are able to create sustainable alternatives that invest in the future of our planet. As we continue living our lives in an instantaneous society, we need to remember to slow down our wardrobes. Switching to slow fashion may very well be one of the last chances we have for preventing irreversible damage to our planet. If we want to prevent climate change, sustainable fashion needs to be the new way of life. There’s simply no other way.