Slow Fashion Movement
The phrase “Slow Fashion” was coined in 2007 to identify a movement away from cheap, disposable clothes towards clothes that are designed and made locally, sustainably sourced, and with the quality and intent to be worn for years, not just a single season.
Because the public now has a heightened awareness of things we are doing to harm the environment beyond driving automobiles, people are now considering the impact their clothes are having. This increased awareness is leading to a renewed interest in making purchase decisions based on their values, and they are looking more seriously at the environmental impact of the clothes they buy and wear.
Consumers today are asking new questions about the clothes they buy. How has it been processed? What is the material and fabric that have been used? How were the people who produced the clothes treated? Did workers receive a living wage?
Because consumers are asking more discerning questions about their clothing, sustainability is becoming a hot topic in the fashion industry. Let’s dive deeper into the subject.
What is “Fast Fashion”?
Fast fashion is when clothing brands start using cheap, hazardous materials and avoiding ethical standards in order to make big-time profits. The worldwide fashion industry is a $2 trillion industry and is responsible for 10% of the global carbon footprint. The negative environmental effects include water pollution, high levels of textile waste, and the use of toxic chemicals.
During the 90s and early 2000s, the fast fashion trend took over the entire fashion industry. By choosing to use environmentally harmful fabrics and outsourcing labour, it reduced costs throughout the supply chain, resulting in lower clothing prices.
What is “Slow Fashion”?
The term ‘Slow Fashion’ came about quite organically. Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion coined the term in response to the slow food movement. As with the slow food movement, Fletcher saw a need for a slower pace in the fashion industry.
Put simply, Slow Fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. It includes a fashion awareness and perspective that takes into account the procedures and materials needed to produce clothing. It includes a fashion awareness and perspective that takes into account the procedures and materials needed to produce clothing. It promotes investing in higher-quality clothing that will last longer and upholds the importance of treating people, animals, and the environment fairly.
Realistically, Slow Fashion and sustainable or ethical fashion have a lot in common. They are related movements that adhere to the same fundamental principles.
The main distinction with Slow Fashion is that it concentrates on lowering consumption and production in particular.
Why slow-fashion is in vogue?
Consumer sentiment is shifting away from mass-produced apparel manufacturing towards sustainable, locally sourced clothing options. The preference of consumers, particularly those in the millennial and Gen Z generations, is moving away from clothing that is manufactured in large quantities and toward sustainable fashion that is sourced locally and demands better options for their wardrobes.
In the last 10 years, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of educated consumers who think not just about the value and quality of the product they are purchasing, but also about how the product got onto the shelf.
In 2022, changes in consumer perception, new technologies, and supply chain disruptions have broadened the definition of Slow Fashion and made it one of the trends in the apparel industry with the fastest rate of growth.
Individuals, environmental organizations, and the press media are researching the process of manufacturing and revealing the ugly truth about what goes on in the background of fast fashion.
Today, shoppers, in particular, want to align themselves with brands that are working towards sustainability and are more aware of environmental concerns. As a result of their growing awareness of the damaging effects of fast fashion on the environment, consumers are rapidly incorporating sustainability and ethical fashion into their set of values.
The emergence of sustainable slow-fashion brands.
Understanding these shifts in the marketplace, new sustainable fashion brands have been launching at a torrid pace. Many of these brands are working towards the betterment of the environment and creating a social impact by bringing transparency into the supply chains and earning the trust of the consumer.
My company, 2Bodies Swim, is one of these new Slow Fashion brands. 2Bodies Swim is an affordable, sustainable, and ethical swimwear brand designed for women who want to feel good and do good! We design our lines in Toronto, Canada. We use our signature high-quality Italian fabric spun from 100% recycled nylon and reclaimed ocean plastic. And our products are sustainably and ethically made in Bali, Indonesia.
We also donate 3% of our profits to environmental ocean restoration initiatives, removing plastic from our oceans and lakes.
Why does “Slow Fashion” matter?
It’s better for the environment.
According to a 2015 study, only 3% of the materials used to make clothing are recycled. Instead, 97% are new resources. The total annual resource input comes to 98 million tons, which includes fertilizers to grow cotton, oil to make synthetic fibers, and an endless supply of chemicals to dye and finish fabric.
Recycled fibers have emerged as a much more environmentally friendly alternative because they ease the strain on virgin resources and address the expanding waste management issue. For comparison, the production of virgin nylon uses 70,000 barrels of oil and produces 57,100 tons of CO2 for every 10,000 tons of ECONYL® raw material used in our swimwear.
Slow Fashion often uses recycled fibers, which require less water. Water is a major resource for the fashion industry. It is used in the dyeing and finishing processes of nearly all of our clothes. It takes an incredible amount of 2,700 litres of water to produce a single T-shirt. Cotton, in particular, is highly dependent on water but is usually grown in hot and dry areas where water is a scarce resource already.
Many new sustainable fabrics on the market require little to no water during the production phase, including linen, hemp, REFIBRA™ & recycled fibres like recycled cotton.
Fairer and safer working conditions.
Slow Fashion brands advocate for providing humane working conditions, health care, and fair wages for their workers, which are typically above average. Generally, they show a larger purpose towards creating economic opportunities for those in need to end poverty. We all want to feel great about our clothes, and that includes feeling great about knowing under what conditions they were made.
Well-made, high-quality products last longer.
Slow Fashion is all about creating as well as shopping for higher quality items that are designed to last the test of time. Extending the life of your wardrobe is good for the planet and your finances.
It supports smaller, local designers.
Local designer businesses need our support now more than ever! Not only is it great to support Canadian Slow Fashion brands, but doing so also benefits our economy as a whole. In fact, local businesses recirculated 2.6x more revenue back into the economy compared to chains!
Buying from Canadian clothing brands can not only give you beautiful, unique pieces but also support independent fashion labels and the Canadian-made clothing industry.
Additionally, many of these brands, like 2Bodies Swim, integrate environmentally friendly programs into their operations, so you're also choosing clothing that is more environmentally friendly.
Some ways to support “Slow Fashion”.
The following are some things you can do to support the Slow Fashion movement:
Pick clothing that has been skillfully crafted from durable materials. These clothes are typically more expensive initially, but will save you from having to buy more clothes in the long run.
Unfollow influencers who promote trends and fast fashion on social media to end your relationship with bad influencers. The majority of Instagram and TikTok influencers carelessly promote highly trend-based, unethically produced clothing.
Learn about the ethical production practices of the fashion brands you frequently purchase.
Before purchasing clothing, look for certification labels such as Climate Certified, GOTS, and Fair Trade to ensure that the workers and the environment are treated well.
Request that brands make their supply chains transparent.
Slow Fashion items may be more expensive, but you don't need as many when you know they'll last.
Shop secondhand and vintage: Instead of buying new clothes, look for them in charity shops and at vintage sales.
Repair and Upcycle: Don’t be afraid to repair your clothes when they need it rather than binning them. Repair and upcycle: Instead of throwing away your clothes, don't be afraid to repair them.
When your clothes are no longer wearable, repurpose them. There is always a way to use the material after it has reached the end of its current life, from dishcloths and rag rugs to redesigned outfits.
- Support smaller local clothing businesses (like 2Bodies Swim) in your town, city, or country.
It's time to rethink the way we produce and consume clothes. The social and environmental impacts of fashion brands and retailers must be drastically reduced.
As consumers, we have the power to drive change in the textile and apparel industry because we have the power to choose the clothes and brands we buy and support with our money.