Updated: Jun 20, 2021
This article is a small guide to make the switch from fast fashion to slow fashion in order to preserve some kind of ecological integrity. Here we focus on the consumption phase of Sustainable clothing and have explored a couple of changes that can help put the brakes on the fast fashion industry.
Fast fashion is basically when brands try to swiftly mass-produce knock-offs of high class fashion using cheap and often non-environmental-friendly resources. This model has an unsustainably fast rate of production which is served by a general repository of raw materials that is adapted to produce new clothing as soon as a new trend is identified. This is a strategy called ‘quick response manufacturing’ whereby brands instantly react to the prevailing market trend by producing mimics of high class fashion. This is complemented with yet another industry practice known as ‘dynamic assortment’. Read more about how the fast fashion industry functions and the economic costs it poses in: How is fast fashion unsustainable?
In essence, fast fashion has taken a toll on the environment by generating waste that has led to greater landfills, increasing pollution and climate change. But as it stands, there seems to be a glimmer of hope as Gen Z is becoming increasingly aware of ‘conscious consumerism’ by prioritizing social and environmental factors when making everyday decisions. This “woke” mindset has shook companies around the world, making them reconsider the processes in their production cycle. If you think you have made the slightest impact in waking up these companies then take a bow. Speaking of consciousness, it is also important that we understand that a lot of damage has already been done because of fast fashion. It is high time we start shifting to a more ethical lifestyle and so here are a few tips to make the switch to slow fashion.
What is slow fashion?
People have started reacting to the problems created by fast fashion in a number of ways, but mainly do so by focusing on the quality-aspect instead of the time-aspect. This precisely is slow fashion. Slow fashion concentrates on generating minimal waste and using ethical materials to produce clothes that are long lasting. It also involves ensuring that the clothes’ supply chain is on par with fair trade practices (i.e. where labor conditions are not compromised). But I still hear questions like “Why will I go for clothes that are long lasting when the fashion trends are changing real-quick?”, “Isn't the natural production process and eco clothing more expensive?”. The answer for your questions is simple: Reduce and Reuse.
Reducing is an important step towards a sustainable lifestyle. Inculcating a Capsule wardrobe can be a start if you are looking for ways to introduce ‘reducing’ in your lives. Capsule Wardrobe is a technique that involves having a small selection of clothing that complements each other but is also practical to our lifestyle. This would intuitively be a more eco-friendly approach instead of buying clothes just because it looks good on someone else, only to later leave it in the wardrobe forever as it does not go with our personal style. The “seven easy pieces” created by Designer Donna Karan in the 80s had 7 pieces that will take us anywhere. So fun fact, the modern term ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ had its pioneer back in the 80s itself.
Capsule wardrobe will require us to analyze our personal style and also help us to invest in pieces that can be multi-used. Who does not like figuring out their style and experimenting on it!. This will help us to look for pieces that can be styled in numerous ways instead of buying clothes for every different occasion. For example, investing in a solid t-shirt will be more effective instead of buying a dress that will be worn only for Christmas. This only goes to show that we do not need new clothes to make new outfits.
Courtney Carver, the creator of ‘Be more with less’ came up with the 333 challenge which requires us to use only 33 clothes from our wardrobe for 3 months to prove to ourselves that a minimalistic way of life is still possible. So what are you waiting for? Try it already.
Reusing clothes is now extremely popular among the millennials. Renting, reselling and thrifting are the three ways that will help us to stay in trend, as well as reduce wastage due to garments disposal. The CEO of threadUp, an online consignment and thrift store has mentioned, “We are buying twice as much clothes and wearing half along” as the reason for starting threadUp. That statement in itself kindles my curiosity. Gen Z has turned to thrifting to make a sustainable style statement. Especially the COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously increased the purchase of second hand clothes which has made in-trend fashion more affordable as well as helps in reusing second hand clothes, thanks to the virtual world.
Market Watch has anticipated a 10% growth in renting of second hand clothes. Before buying or renting second hand clothes, if we ask ourselves what the retail price is, it will reckon justification to ethical living. Recently the second hand clothes are not only being donated for charity but are also being resold. New businesses are coming up with online platforms for people to resell their clothes. Growth of reselling clothes is 21 times faster than traditional retail.
Innovation and research along with consciousness about ecological integrity has helped businesses around the world to come up with ideas like identifying and utilizing surplus materials and dead stock to produce new clothing. Upcycling and recycling have become the basis of such businesses.
Emacity in conscious consumerism
Emacity being an organic-friendly brand, selling sustainable T-shirts and other organic products online is trying to create a community inculcated with the aim of making the world a better place by damaging less, being aware and increasing the responsiveness to our previous actions. So let's start being aware together, shall we?