Fast fashion negatively impacts the environment, quality of products, and workers in the supply chain. Slow fashion, however, is about improving working conditions, taking care to the environment, using regenerative sustainability resources, and empowering communities.
Fast fashion is a term that may be familiar to everyone. Fast fashion is often criticized by the larger fashion brands. Slow fashion was born in response to this trend. Author and activist Kate Fletcher introduced the term “slow fashion” in an article published in The Ecologist in 2007. Slow fashion has attracted a lot attention since then and continues to innovate new ways to design, produce, and consume apparels.
Google Trends’ image on the facing page shows that there has been a steady rise in searches for slow fashion, particularly since 2015.
According to The Business Research Company’s Fast Fashion Global Market Report 2022, the current fast fashion industry is valued at $99.23 billion. By 2026, it will grow to $133.43 million. This shows that it is still difficult to change the consumer’s consumption habits.
It is essential to understand both fast and slow fashion in order to comprehend the severity of the problem.
Fast fashion is characterized by low-priced and mass-produced clothing. These are often the replicas of designs from runway shows by premium brands or designers. Trends change quickly and styles are out of fashion very quickly. To stay competitive, fast fashion companies produce garments in short lead times to make profits. They look for ways to reduce costs and make their products cheaper due to consumer demand. This downward spiral results in garments that are both low-cost and high quality. The superficial appearance of fast fashion seems to be financially lucrative. The immense pressure is slowly destroying the industry’s ecosystem. Low quality standards, poor workplace practices, and environmental damage are some of the factors that lead to the lowest prices.
Fast fashion has a major impact on the environment, quality of products, and workers in the supply chain. Modern consumerism is the worst for the environment. The only creature on earth to cause harm to the ecosystem is humanity. Fast fashion is no exception. This sector uses cheap raw materials that have been extracted from agricultural practices that aren’t regenerative. They also use pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Many thousand tons of microplastics are released into the oceans by synthetic fibers. It is also the world’s second-leading water pollutant. Without proper effluent treatment, toxic chemicals from factories can often escape to the environment. These chemicals and microplastics end up in the food chain.
From farmers to factory workers. Low wages, poor working conditions, and a lack of human rights are all reasons why apparels have been priced lower. Workers are overworked due to the short lead times and rapid production. These workers are often from developing or underdeveloped countries and they often pay for the price reduction at retail stores.
Cheap clothing means that you have to use lower quality materials and designs that aren’t popular. Clothing that is not durable and of high quality will last a long time. Many of these damaged items end up in landfills. This creates a vicious circle of ever-increasing demand. As the old items are discarded, the consumer continues to buy newer products.
Slow fashion emerged to address this constantly-changing system. Slow fashion encourages shoppers to make conscious shopping decisions. It is important to consider the impact of clothing on the environment and social sustainability. Apparels are made to last. This includes improving working conditions, reducing environmental damage, using renewable sustainable resources, and empowering local communities.
Slow fashion has been popular over the years and consumers are now more concerned about the environmental impact of their choices. Slow fashion aims to not only reduce environmental degradation but also to repair the damage already done. Slower supply chains put less pressure on the production of raw materials. Slow fashion garments are made from organically grown natural material. These garments are essentially made from recycled polyester. Natural ecosystems are protected as the materials are made at a natural pace. Dyeing and finishing are done without the use of toxic chemicals. This helps to reduce the risk of water pollution.
When a movement speaks about purchasing less clothing and using what one has, durability and quality are crucial. A higher price for quality is better, but it doesn’t mean you are getting less durability. Raw materials are made to last longer than cutting down on prices. Manufacturers can make garments that are more durable and have better quality stitching by limiting their pricing. This is because people tend to buy more when they buy cheap. Cheap clothes are not durable.
Slow fashion also means doing the right thing at every stage of the supply chain. This movement encourages responsibility for the lives of workers, from farms to factories. Slow fashion demands fair wages, safer production methods and better working conditions. The local communities are empowered and employed, as well as amenities for education and health.
It is evident that slow fashion and fast fashion are opposites. Slow fashion is often in conflict with the behavior of the budget-friendly consumer who responds only to discounts. However, it is important that you understand that buying cheap does not necessarily mean better. It is important to understand that not all things are equal. The products may be more expensive. However, you don’t need as many products if they last longer. Many people who join slow fashion choose to have a minimal wardrobe. It is time for consumers to distinguish between what they want and what they need.