“It’s not about the quantity; it’s the quality that matters.”
A lot of people refer to this quote when choosing the friends they wish to keep in their small circle. However, this quote is also very much applicable to your fashion philosophy. It’s like sustainability in your closet. This is especially a point of discussion when it comes to the topic of fast fashion vs. slow fashion.
Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion
The terms ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ literally refer to the rate of the life cycle of clothes. This cycle includes demand, production, sale and purchase, and use and disposal. Let’s discuss this through each stage of the cycle.
- Demand – Fast fashion takes what is trendy quickly to the market. What is trendy changes at a speedy rate, so fast fashion manufacturers act quickly upon these demands. In contrast, slow fashion manufacturers take a more strategic perspective on processing these demands. Their careful approach may be due to a more limited customer volume, and a more intricate production process.
- Production – Fast fashion is “fast” because clothes are rapidly mass-manufactured. Given the speed of production, the materials used are of lesser quality. The manufacturing processes are also less detail-oriented than that of slow fashion. Likewise, slow fashion is “slow” and does not catch up in terms of manufacturing speed. It boasts another strength, however, in the area of quality. Slow fashion uses more quality materials and equipment for manufacturing. This careful production process promises the integrity of the product and its resulting longevity/performance. Slow fashion brands also take into consideration quality control to ensure quality consistency across their products all over the globe.
- Sale and Purchase – Fast apparels leave store shelves faster than slow fashion pieces. This is largely because of the cheap price tags attached to them. The clear tradeoff to this affordability is the quality of material used, the production process, and the resulting product life. On the other hand, slow fashion has a limited customer volume leading to a limited sale as well. However, along with the pricier tag is the promise of quality, longevity, and performance. The majority of slow fashion brands’ market consists of customers who consider their purchases “investments.”
- Use and disposal – The quality of fast fashion pieces is not assured for reasons already stated. Moreover, they are quickly regarded as outdated following the fact that fashion trends come and go almost every day. As a result, they are quickly disposed of, usually without the potential for re-use. In conclusion, fast fashion pieces are also fast waste contributors. Slow fashion, surely wins this round. Pieces last longer and are often more versatile in terms of styling. With this, they tend to stay longer in your closet no matter what the trend is. Upon disposal, they are usually good for donating or sending to thrift stores because they are still good for re-use.
Is Sustainable Fashion Expensive?
With the previous sections highlighting terms like quality, high-grade material, and careful production it is easy to misunderstand slow fashion. Many are quick to link slow fashion to luxury purchases. As a result, a lot of people shy away from the practice. This is a misperception. Although slow fashion does include luxury brands under its umbrella, relatively more affordable brands are in on it too. Rather than identifying brands, it’s the mindset change that we must address.
4 Ways to Support Sustainable Fashion
We go back to the quote “It’s not about the quantity; it’s the quality that matters.” Turning to this fashion philosophy is putting more weight on the factor of quality instead of variety. To “think slow” for fashion, means appreciating how less is more. Curating a minimalist closet is the best way to go about this sustainable fashion movement. Here are some suggestions on how to downsize your closet:
- Establish your style – Going for slow fashion does not mean sacrificing your stylishness. Establishing a signature style helps you avoid aimlessly over-buying clothes. It’s just like taming the fashionista inside you! Consider creating a style board to stand as your guide to help begin this process. Try sticking with a certain color scheme, or a certain fashion concept.
- Scan your closet – After being clear on what your signature style is, scan your closet for anything that does not fit. This is the point where you declutter. This may be the difficult part of this transition, but if you set your mind to think slow, things will seem easier. Besides, decluttering does not mean throwing away, you can box them up for donation. It’s a win-win!
- Choose your brands – With the intention of sticking to a signature style, staying loyal to one brand or two, will help in consistently doing so. Be detailed in selecting your brands. Make sure that these brands do not only fit your style category but your budget range as well. Again, luxury brands are not the only ones that comprise the slow fashion umbrella. A lot of mid-range brands are good options too. It would be a plus to choose sustainable fashion brands in the process.
- Go thrifting – To take your sustainable fashion movement a step further, consider browsing through the racks of thrift stores. Not only do they promise a wide selection of items but cheaper price tags as well. You may be lucky enough to find branded items for much less than its retail price! Thrifted goods are considered eco-friendly clothing and are very much counted as sustainable fashion pieces.
The Advantage of Slow Fashion
Mindful fashion, I believe, is the best way to dress. The conscious purchase of clothing items allows you to buy based on thought instead of by impulse. This will save you bucks and will save the Earth too on a bigger scale. The fact that the fashion industry is a leading pollutant, slow fashion slows down the demand, manufacture and resulting disposal of clothes. That’s one more reason to support slow fashion brands.
Slow fashion helps you enjoy your purchases for longer, declutters your closet, and makes sure you have one less decision to make in the morning.