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Slow Fashion Series: Part One

I think we’ve all heard of Fast Fashion by now, but what about Slow Fashion? In case you aren’t aware of Fast Fashion, it’s a phrase that defines the part of the fashion industry that is concerned with getting trends off the runway and into the hands of consumers as quickly as possible. It is generally characterized by cheap labor, inexpensive materials, and sub standard workmanship, all in an effort to keep the price point low. Fast Fashion is inherently problematic, as it supports a system that cuts environmental corners to get products out quickly, as well as supporting less than ideal labor conditions in foreign countries. There is so much more to know about Fast Fashion, but I would like this series to focus on a movement that has come about in response to it; Slow Fashion.

Slow Fashion is the alternative movement to Fast Fashion, and advocates for principles like good quality, clean environment, and fairness for workers, consumers, and producers. Faced with the option of Slow Fashion versus Fast Fashion, I’m quite sure that very few people would opt for the latter, all things being equal. But, as with most things in life, there are certainly other factors to consider. As I’ve been looking more into Slow Fashion and sustainable fashion brands, one thing is quite clear; it’s expensive. And I whole-heartedly believe that it is worth the expense to have high quality, ethically made products, however the cost is just straight up prohibitive to many people. The argument can be made that you will get more value for your money if you save up to buy one amazingly made pair of $250 pants, instead of five pairs of poorly made $50 pants, and I fully agree with that, however I don’t believe it applies to everyone’s life. What if you are a recent graduate, trying to build a professional wardrobe on a limited budget? Sure, you could maybe buy those $250 pants while you save up for more items, but wearing one pair of pants to the office with just your bra, may mean a few trips to the HR office.

So what are the options here? How can consumers still feel like they are making a difference with their purchases, while still fulfilling some of their needs (and, let’s face it, wants)? I truly believe that change can be made by many people making small adjustments, just as much as it can be made by a few people making major adjustments. I like to compare it to being vegetarian. I’m sure we all know how much of an environmental impact the meat industries have on the environment, but going completely vegetarian isn’t something that everyone is ready, willing, able, or even interested in doing. But, does having one non-meat day per week make a difference? It sure does! So with that in mind, I will be continuing this Slow Fashion series over the coming weeks, with tips and ideas for you to consider, if you would like to help make a stand against Fast Fashion, without breaking the bank, or making drastic changes to your lifestyle. So stay tuned!