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What is Slow Fashion and how can it save the planet?

What is Slow Fashion and how can it save the planet?

What is Slow Fashion

What is Slow Fashion versus Fast fashion? And what is the difference between the two? And how you can make a difference? Let’s take a look.

Where does fashion come from?

Before we dive into Slow vs. Fast fashion, why don’t we first take a look at where Fashion came from in the first place. The truth is, it’s difficult to say who “created” fashion. Prehistoric people made their clothing from animal skins, but it was probably more to keep them warm than making a “fashion” statement. But somewhere in time, fashion took a turn and became an expression.

Palace Versailles where Fashion has originated by King Louis
@Victoria Shmakova Ananchenko/

Originally, fashion was inspired by Kings, Queens, and other Royals. But the first real fashion “designer” didn’t make headway until the 1800s. It’s believed that the first fashion designer in history was a man named Charles Frederick Worth, who set up the first fashion house in Paris, France. Eventually, the trend caught on, and fashion designers would present patterns to clients who would purchase the clothes if they liked them. By the 20th century, Paris became known as the fashion capital of the world. Here you can see a nice video about the History of French Fashion.

The history of France`s love affair with fashion/

In the mid 20th century, production increased, and we started to see a rise in mass-produced clothing. The wide availability of different styles now gave people a choice to dress differently to fit their personality and style. 

What is the Slow Movement?

Maybe you have heard of the term Slow Movement.This movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace. It does not promote doing everything at a plodding pace. But it seeks to do everything at the right speed by enjoying the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. And doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It promotes sustainability and quality above quantity and local versus global.

“It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.”

Carl Honoré

The Slow Movement is not organized or controlled by an organization. Individuals worldwide advance and maintain the momentum of the Slow Movement by expanding the global community.

Its acceptance has grown a lot since the rise of Slow Food in Europe, with slowness initiatives rolling out as far as Australia and Japan.

What’s the difference between Fast and Slow fashion?

Choose your clothing well

Slow fashion is part of that slow movement culture shift. It promotes
manufacturing with respect to people, the environment, and animals. Contrary to industrial fashion practices, slow fashion involves local artisans and eco-friendly materials to preserve crafts and the environment and, eventually, provide value to both consumers and producers.

`Slow Fashion’ is about the whole process around the clothing’s life cycle, from sourcing, producing, and distributing. Looking at fashion from all angles.

This is a broader concept than, e.g., ethical clothing, which focuses more on human and animal rights. Or sustainable/ Eco clothing, which is more concerned with the environmental impact.

Fast Fashion is quite the opposite of Slow Fashion. It was made possible and accelerated by the second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

The focus was on mass-production, synthetic resources, and low prices. As high-end fashion was not so affordable for people, the reproduction of high-end fashion items were pursued, mass-produced, with low-quality materials at very little cost. At least for the consumer’s wallet, because nowadays we know the high cost to our environment.

Why is Slow fashion a good choice?

If you’re looking for high quality and that can last you a lifetime, Slow Fashion is where it’s at. Not only will Slow Fashion last you a lifetime in terms of fabric and quality, but it will also last you a lifetime in terms of wearability. This is because the designs are timeless. They are not seasonal and don’t work like trends. For this reason, you can keep this kind of clothing for a lifetime. 

Aside from being the more long-lasting, fashionable option, Slow Fashion is also eco-friendly. How?

  • It helps to reduce waste.
    Over half of our mass-produced clothing ends up in the landfill within a year of being produced. Slow Fashion, however, can be saved or passed on for second-hand use.
  •  It lowers the carbon footprint.
    Did you know that over 8% of the world’s greenhouse gasses and emissions can be attributed to the clothing industry? Choosing hand-made clothing can help reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for mass production factories.
  • It reduces the risk of exposure to chemicals. 
    Did you know that mass production companies use chemicals that can be toxic to humans? These toxins not only affect our breathing, but they can also run off into our water supply. Most Slow Fashions, however, are made from natural fibers and non-toxic chemicals. 

What can you do to help the planet?

Fashion Quote: Buy less, choose well, make it last
Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. – Vivienne Westwood

Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy Slow Fashion clothing. Remember, Slow Fashion is very durable and lasts a lifetime. Therefore it is good to make the right choices. Like the Quote of Vivienne Westwood above: Buy less, Choose well, Make it last.

  1. Buy less.
    Think about which clothes you enjoy wearing. Do you have some favorites, and why is that so? Make clear which pieces you wear often and which not. Then choose new pieces accordingly. Try to select a few primary colors so that you can combine all your clothing easily.
  2. Go for quality over quantity.
    It is better to buy one good quality piece than two low-quality pieces. Clear, you have less choice, but if you cleverly combine your wardrobe, you don’t need so many items and still look good.
  3. Buy timeless pieces.
    Classic never goes out of style. You always look good when you have some essential pieces. So try to avoid trendy clothing.
  4. Look after your clothes.
    If you treat your clothing well, it will even last longer. So keep your favorite pieces stay in shape with some extra tender loving.
  5. Do your own repair.
    If your clothing needs repair, why not try to fix it yourself? Because we are used to clothing being so cheap, we instead buy something new. Maybe we also have forgotten how to use a needle and thread. Here are some great online courses you should have a look at:
    Learn to Repair your Clothes with a Sewing Machine
    Learn to Repair your Clothes by Hand
  6. Buy second-hand.
    Wearing second-hand clothing is a great way to be eco-friendly. And by re-using clothing, you reduce the waste. A lot of fashion items end up in landfills. Second-hand clothing is a great alternative to buying new clothes.

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