Slow fashion is not just another fad to temporarily adopt in an attempt to ‘be green’, nor is it simply a way for brands to differentiate themselves or target a niche audience. Slow fashion, in a sense, is the rejection of mass consumption, excessive waste, unethical practices and environmental damage. Slow fashion is fashion with a sustainable and healthy future. For the people, for the planet, for the industry.
In the last few years, UK fast fashion brands were found guilty of worker exploitation and environmental pollution, not to mention the incineration of millions of pounds worth of unsold stock 1 . Of course, these practices are not sustainable, and definitely not ones we want to support. The power is in the hands of the consumer - the change starts with us.
While choosing to move away from the convenience of fast fashion can be difficult, it is most definitely a worthwhile decision. You just need to start with one, small step.
Start with your wardrobe staples – identify what it is you wear most often, be it that classic white shirt or your go-to black cardigan. Next time you need to update these pieces, choose to purchase them from a trusted sustainable brand that can offer true quality. Take the Aniela Parys Europa knit sweater for example, or the Atelier Jungles T-shirt. While the initial cost or effort to transition may be higher, this will far be outweighed by the value received in the garment’s extended lifespan and reduced environmental and human impact.
Once you’ve started with your basics and have begun learning which sustainable brands are to your liking, you can move on to your investment pieces. Things such as your staple jewellery or winter coat. As these items are already intended to stick around in your wardrobe longer and have good money spent on them, why not look to more ethical alternatives? Statement gold earrings are my personal favourites, like these ones from Ella Stern Jewellery.
Overtime, your wardrobe staples and investment pieces will be mostly, if not completely, sustainable and ethical. Like any good new habit, it takes time and effort in the beginning, until it becomes your default. Your knowledge of your preferred sustainable brands and go-to ethical stores will soon become second-nature. Regardless of your budget or affinity to particular brands, if you can make a start, eventually you will make the transition until even your weekend cleaning gear is no longer fast fashion.
Tennessee is a marketing and fashion graduate, freelance model and stylist. Her personal style is influenced by her ever-changing environment, geographical or otherwise. Follow her journey @tennis.biscuit / tennisbiscuit.com