Slow Fashion and Sustainability: Why It's Important
Posted on May 02 2017
Slow Fashion and Sustainability: Why It's Important
|Photo: Kissing Cage
I love fashion. I love design. I love the process of turning a simple sketch into reality and the more I learn, the more I feel an emotional connection with fashion. I recently came across these articles from LA Times and Manrepeller, and I think about the different ways I maintain my relationship with fashion as a consumer. I've gone through different phases, from buying new clothes to only picking out vintage or trading in for second-hand. I also gone through a phase where I abandoned shopping altogether for the reason I felt overwhelmed with having too much stuff. I learned that shopping is an emotional connection and it's important to think about fashion from a higher consciousness. Who made your clothes? Where did your clothes come from? How is it made and and what materials are used? How will you dispose your clothes after its life cycle? These are the questions we don't typically think about when we go shopping. Maybe now is the time to slow down our relationship with fashion. Here are some ideas to consider next time you go shopping and the importance of supporting sustainable fashion.
What is Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion, as they call it, is something that is considered by ethically and environmentally conscious consumers as the new remedy for the fast-paced yet destructive fashion. The advent of slow fashion may not be widely accepted by many, but this trend is certainly an important factor to highlight the skills of local designers in the global market. These home-grown brands invoke the significance of safer working conditions, along with appreciation of local resources, which are carefully crafted by native artisans from different parts of the globe. Give these local brands a space in your wardrobe and for sure you’ll see fashion in a more fulfilling manner.
Appreciation of Natural Resources
Massive fashion retailers all around the world put heavy pressure on earth’s regenerative abilities just to produce cheap and one-use garments. This unhealthy way of fashion trend causes a lot of problems, and will soon affect the consumers in the long run— from unsafe working environments to varying pollution. In slow fashion, there is a reduction of raw materials, which subsequently alleviates the dangerous pressures on the natural cycles. It focuses on creating slow but quality products and does not take advantage on the natural resources. Local brands feature the healthy coordination between the production of raw materials and the creation of fashion pieces. Well, that’s how fashion should work, and not the other way around.
Diversity at its Finest
One of the significant aspects of slow fashion or sustainable fashion, is its support to cultural diversity. It is always ideal to keep the traditional methods of manufacturing, and to recognize the skills of the local artisans. Numerous skills are put into waste because of the gush of technology, wherein it could have been the means of living for the natives. With slow fashion, it encourages independent designers, local brands or even large fashion houses to focus on handmade pieces that could last up to years. Consequently, raising awareness among consumers to shop wisely— it’s always quality over quantity. However, it could be a difficult phase with retailers selling fashion pieces at low costs. Most of the time, buyers are swayed to purchase more than they need because of the relatively cheap price. Thus, the emotional significance or the practicality of the items is often disregarded.
Acknowledgment of Human Needs
|Photo: Warby Parker
There have been lots of issues in the past that entailed the risk of manpower and their working conditions. You might have heard about the unfortunate tragedy that happened in Savar Building, Bangladesh in 2013. The building collapsed and cost the lives of more than a thousand factory workers, who worked day by day for factories that manufacture prominent apparel brands such as Benetton, Mango, Walmart, Matalan and the like. The accident drew several criticisms and became one of the substantial moves against inhumane treatment of local workers in most developing countries. Modern fast fashion is practically leading to dangerous working environment as it focuses on production than human needs. Fashion should be a two-way process; it must also acknowledge human needs along with the creation of fashion pieces. After all, life does matter.
Collaboration of Works
Local artisans always offer fashion with personal touches, creating a bond between the consumer and designers clothes. And with the help of campaigns and advertisements, designers can now meet fellow artisans in creating a lasting relationship to produce eco-friendly brands. These collaborations will also help in making a stronger movement in the upkeep of the environment. Further, it can increase cognizance to secure the just treatment of workers, especially in unindustrialized nations. Aside from that, big fashion labels are now giving support to the local communities through fair trade practices.
The Bigger Picture
|Photo: Green Glasses
In general, local designers are all interlinked to the bigger picture of environmental and social awareness. These brands further recognize the impact of small and collective choices to the environment and its people, especially that today’s fashion industry heavily relies on globalized mass production of fashion items that are completed in just a couple of weeks or even days. There’s no hint of personal touches or appreciation of skills; it’s just about production for fast fashion. As a result, the natural resources are put into jeopardy because their natural regenerative capabilities are pressured. These damaging processes lead to problems such as floods, droughts, and even climate change, which affect the world at large.
Will You Take The Big Leap?
Now, it is time to take a closer look at your fashion choices. Are your clothes created by artisans who ensure quality production and contemplate in environmental connection? Are you conscious of the consequences of your choices? It’s never too late to intervene in the revolutionary process of slow fashion and give value to the product you are wearing. Partake in the unified movement to help the environment, and choose sustainable and ethical pieces you will be proud to wear, not just because of the brand, but also because of the creative hands that contributed in its creation and the goodness it gives to the environment.
Slow fashion may not be your typical fashion trend, but it is a movement that is likely the antidote of the destructive contemporary fashion. As a business owner and designer of Mei Vintage, I came across and gotten to know some impressive and creative USA brands that support the empowerment of artisan culture along with sustainable and ethical practices: Reformation, Flea Market RX Lighting, Polly Whales Jewelry, Coclico Shoes, and Pawena Studio Ceramic to name a few. These local brands continue to inspire me and remind me to be a thoughtful designer and a smarter consumer. Investment buying has got to become a practice carried out more commonly. Do you have any local sustainable brands you love and support? Also, how do you define sustainable fashion? Love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!