People can be sceptical about sustainable or slow fashion because of greenwashing. It’s been 25 years since sustainable fashion became popular, and there has yet to be a reduction in fashion waste. Although sustainable and slow fashion can be interchangeable, they are often misunderstood and conflated. A 2020 article by British Vogue calls slow fashion the “slo-mo movement” and an anti-hype style. Slow fashion can be a problem for the fashion industry.
Claudia Manley is a professor and author of Fashion Writing. Routledge will publish a Primer in 2022. “At least that’s the way fashion views them. She also said that it devalues the commitment to Sustainability, ethical consumption.” She referred to the British Vogue article. It’s good if the story inspires readers to reevaluate their shopping habits and reflect on their values.
Slow Fashion or Myth?
Lindsay Jones is the designer of Mused and the creative head assistant to Zac Posen. He points out that the fashion industry remains one of the top 10 global pollution sources. Although brands may use sustainability slogans and promise Sustainability, it is not unreasonable to consider this marketing jargon. What does Sustainability in fashion mean?
Rachael Zhang, a New York-based stylist who was an early advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion, says, “Not much!” People are smart and can navigate greenwashing to find the fashion that matters to them.
This is exactly where slow fashion comes into play. Manley explains that Sustainability is a part of slow fashion. “Sustainability is primarily concerned with the human and environmental costs of fashion. It examines whether clothing production causes harm or benefits individuals and the environment. Fashion is also brought to the individual level, where one considers not only the Sustainability of purchases but also the longevity (and perhaps the motivation to purchase) of an item.
Slow Fashion: The Evolution
Manley says that the slow-food movement inspired slow fashion. This was in response to industrialized agriculture and the increasing prevalence of fast food. It began as a response to fast fashion but has evolved into a philosophy that celebrates handmade, mended and sustainable fashion. It’s an effort to encourage thoughtfulness in our wardrobes rather than the mindless consumerism that fast fashion promotes.
Jones says that slow fashion is more hands-on than fast fashion by design. All production and fabric manufacturing is done locally, with strict quality control. It is important to create garments that last. Clothing should be “slow” if it is to be considered durable. She suggests that clothing should last at least 10 years or more. She also said slow fashion garments can be “deconstructed and repurposed over time.”
Slow fashion is a collection of intentional processes, Wang explains. It’s a great way to connect with people and shop locally. She continues by saying that “thinking about where our clothes came from inspires us to think about the planet and the future of the planet as well as all the creatures that depend on it.”
Slow fashion is a movement that counters consumption based on fashion cycles and trends. Sheyna Imm is a New York-based stylist who focuses on personal styling. It isn’t easy to be your persona by following the fashion trends and copying the Instagram girls. She continues to state that Sustainability has lost some meaning in the fashion industry. Designers produce collections twice yearly, even if they claim to be green. They do it because people feel the need to buy, buy and buy. This relationship to clothing rings hollow, she says. “Replicas from what’s on the runway make everyone look identical.”