The frenetic pace at which society currently races is quite possibly one of the leading factors of so much stress and anxiety felt by people today. Fortunately, the need to regain some peace and sanity has resulted in the SLOW movement – Sustainable, Local, Organic, and Whole: slow living, slow food, and even slow fashion.
Slow Fashion? What is that? This subsect of the SLOW movement is a return to quality over quantity and choosing timeless pieces that can be worn for generations.
What Is Slow Fashion?
The term “slow fashion” was coined by Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Slow fashion is the slowing down of all aspects of the clothing production process:
- Production of materials
- Transportation of materials
- Manufacturing of clothing
- Transportation of clothing
- Business model of clothing store
Production of Materials
Conscientious slow fashion brand companies take the time to source their materials to ensure that all parties are being treated fairly in compensation and working conditions.
Transportation of Materials and Clothing
By focusing on local sources, transportation costs can be reduced, but, more importantly, the environmental impact of shipping is lessened.
Manufacturing of Clothing
This is the biggie: rather than mass-producing cheap goods, slow fashion brands concentrate on limited production of a few good designs. As opposed to fast fashion, where the goal is to get as many variations of designs as possible from the catwalk to the counters as quickly as possible, slow fashion embraces minimalism, offering a few quality designs in textiles that will last longer.
The Slow Fashion Clothing Store Business Model
Slow fashion is about enjoying the buying process, not just grabbing 3 or 4 pieces off of a rack to wear once and then discard. The slow fashion business model is about discussing the pieces with the proprietor: where they came from, how they were made, the materials used, and much more. It is not just a shopping day, it is an educational experience.
Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion
Sewing machines may not seem so fast now, but the beginning of fast fashion started with the invention of the first functional sewing machine in 1830. This coincided with the Industrial Revolution. People stopped sewing their own clothes by hand with just needle and thread.
Fast forward to the late 1900s and 2000s, and you will find the fast fashion industry that thrives on inexpensive, trendy clothes that are on a quick turnaround and then disposed.
When malls started replacing Main Streets, this turned shopping for clothes into entertainment. People started shopping for fun, and the mall was, and still is, their playground. The advent of online shopping turned fast fashion into fast and furious fashion.
More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated in the United States each year, and the average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing a year. Even worse, many manufacturers destroy unused clothing rather than donating or recycling it. In 2017, the Burberry clothing line destroyed $36.8 million worth of clothing.
There is also the human cost of fast fashion. Children in sweatshops making your clothes and shoes are a real thing. Fast fashion can result in:
- Dangerous work environments
- Long hours
- Underpaid workers, farmers, and textile producers
Research done by the Department of Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro indicates that slow fashion is about much more than just the environmental impact of fast fashion clothing manufacturing.
Their analysis revealed that there are 5 dimensions that are deemed important by most slow fashion consumers:
Consumers are returning to pieces of timeless sophistication, durability, and versatility. Bespoke pieces are more often being commissioned through tailors and seamstresses than in the recent past.
Slow Fashion Brands
More and more slow fashion brands are becoming available. These clothiers deal in fair trade practices and look toward fabrics that are more sustainable, such as:
- Fair trade organic cotton (regular mass-produced cotton uses a large quantity of water and pesticides)
Check out these great slow fashion brands to find your style:
The Slow Fashion Movement
Spring Power and Gas is dedicated to making and maintaining a sustainable future, so not only do we believe in the slow fashion movement, we believe in SLOW living. Contact us to set up service or with questions and concerns about your energy needs.