What is 'slow fashion' and why should we care about it?18th Feb 19 | Fashion
In an era of consumerism, the movement calls on shoppers to think more carefully about how they buy into trends.
When fast fashion first arrived on the scene, with it’s rock-bottom prices and ‘designer inspired’ knock offs, it was a welcome remedy to our insatiable appetite for new clothing.
But the tide now seems to be turning against disposable fashion as we learn more about the devastating effects it can have on the environment. Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary, Fashion’s Dirty Secret, recently told of how the industry is one of the top five most-polluting in the world.
Dooley discovered how chemicals released by the fashion industry pollute water sources that millions rely on, while some cheap polyester garments shed thousands of microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans when they’re washed.
According to new statistics from Fashion Retail Academy though, consumers are finally listening up.
Over a quarter (25.4%) of shoppers surveyed say they are wearing their everyday items, such as jeans or T-shirts, for over two years before buying new ones, and we’re now 13% more likely to choose expensive, long-lasting clothes over cheaper fashionable items
The movement is being dubbed ‘slow fashion’, and we’re totally here for it.
What is slow fashion anyway?
Instead of buying a bunch on acrylic jumpers that shrink in the wash or T-shirts that fall apart after more than 10 wears, the idea is that you buy less but spend a bit more on each piece, investing in hard-wearing items that will last a lifetime – rather than just one season.
The term was coined by Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, as a follow-on from the slow food movement. Much like its culinary sister, which encourages people to prepare and eat locally sourced foods, Fletcher called on a ‘slower’ approach to fashion, where we stop burning through new clothes every season and shop in an environmentally-conscious way – whether that’s shopping less, buying from sustainable brands, or having a go at making your own clothing.
With sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s mind, slow fashion is a term that we should all get used to hearing a lot more often. More than ever, magazine editors and fashion influencers are creating content that recycles pre-worn clothing and promotes the idea of investing in items that look great and last.
Many popular YouTubers, who previously made videos sharing their fast fashion ‘hauls’, are now making an effort to be more sustainable – recognising that overconsumption is damaging to the environment.
Slow fashion basically gets back to basics and encourages everyone to shop in a more sustainable way.
How can I jump on the bandwagon?
Upcycle your old clothes. If a piece of clothing gets a hole in it, our default response is often to throw it away – but plenty of pieces can be fixed with a bit of TLC. If you don’t know how to sew or darn, there are loads of YouTube videos that can teach you this inexpensive but handy skill.
Think about how you can adapt clothes too, either by dyeing them a different colour, having the hemline shortened or adding some embellishments. It’s a really cheap alternative to buying new clothes.
Set yourself a buying limit. If you’re a sucker for spending your lunchtime scrolling through Asos and Missguided, self-impose a spending ban for a few months.
Save that £150 or £200 you’d normally splurge on random ‘treats’ and spend it wisely on one hero piece at the end of a three month period. That way, you’ll have time to strategically think about the pieces that are missing from your wardrobe, that you know you’ll get loads of wear out of.
Shop at slow fashion brands. Every time you buy a new dress or top, check the care label and look for items that are made from high quality, sustainable materials. These are often found at independent or smaller fashion shops rather than huge chain brands.
Generally, if a brand has fewer styles and less collections per year, they’ll probably have a more eco-friendly footprint – although it’s always good to check online beforehand.
Create a capsule wardrobe. Keep your clothes stash to a curated selection of trend-resistant items that can be worn again and again, in lots of different combinations.
The hardest part of jumping on the slow fashion trend is knowing what to invest in – so here are five non-disposable pieces that every woman should have in their wardrobe. Buy them once and love them for years to come.
1. A good wool coat
2. An investment handbag
3. A leather jacket
4. A cotton shirt
5. A good pair of jeans
© Press Association 2019