Today's constant need to splurge on high amounts of clothing with ongoing trends with the latest manufacturing miracle solutions has taken a toll on the supply chain, the workforce and ultimately, the environment. The urge to abandon fast fashion as a trend and to introduce slow fashion with sustainable practices continues to grow. What exactly is slow fashion and what separates it from fast fashion?
Let's first define what exactly is fast fashion. Fast fashion refers to the mass production of clothes at affordable price. It is cheap, trendy and very fast due to high consumer demands to get a cheaper sample of a high end brand. The way fast fashion works is by a quick response manufacturing approach which helps maintain the demand in manufacturing and delivering trendy clothing items in a never stopping distribution cycle. This exact cycle of fast production is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions worldwide. The pressure to reduce the costs and speed up production results to not only environmental damages but overworked and underpaid workers. They also operate beyond unreasonable conditions from 16 hours a day or even more. The garment workers have no basic fundamental human rights that require them to work in such dangerous environments like the Rana Plaza clothing manufacturing complex in Bangladesh collapsed back in 2013 that killed over 1,000 workers. Over the years there has been high reports of sexual abuse, child labor, devastating impacts on the physical and mental health of fast fashion garment workers. The speed at which garments are produced also means that more and more clothes are disposed of by consumers, creating massive textile waste. The average U.S consumer throws away 81 pounds of clothing that end up in landfills.
Slow fashion on the other hand is the complete opposite of fast fashion. Slow fashion focuses on a more organic, natural and most importantly sustainable approach. The process of manufacturing dismisses water pollution, water disposal, harmful toxins, and chemical dyes. The treatment of garment workers and everyone that is behind the production of clothing is treated in a more fair manner. The essential point of slow fashion is to produce sustainable garments that are more timeless rather than trendy items that will last you longer. Slow fashion raises the question of do we really need this clothing item? because it asks us to stop treating our clothes as disposable. Having a more ethical approach to fashion, the aim is to reduce consumption and production as much as possible and to encourage consumers to become more conscious. Respecting the supply chain, environment, garment workers, and the animals is key to solving and maintaining a sustainable cycle. With conscious consumers that fall into the slow fashion movement creating a mindful, healthy, and consideration of humanity and the environment as a whole.