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  • Writer's pictureMichaela A de Guire

What is Slow Fashion?

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

If fast fashion is mindless consumption. Then slow fashion is mindful investments. When you invest in something you are more careful with it. You are more concerned about maintaining it and keeping it appearing well cared for. That is how you should treat your wardrobe. Slow fashion is also quality based, over time based.

The term “slow fashion” came about rather organically as it is the exact opposite of fast fashion. Slow fashion has been around for a little more than 20 years, but it has been really taking off in the last few years as more people are becoming more aware and conscious about their purchase decisions and the pollution of the earth.

It is you, as the consumer, who is taking into consideration the process and resources required to make the garment before you choose to purchase it. It is you being aware of the toxic approach fast fashion holds to. It is you choosing to purchase higher quality garments that will last longer and value people, animals, and the earth throughout the entire process of sourcing the raw fibers, making the garment, and getting it into your hands.

Fast fashion includes not just the finite materials and wasteful manufacturing that is depleting the planet's resources and creating pollution. Fashion consumption and garment maintenance or rather the over consumption and under maintenance we have today play a huge role in creating the monster of fast fashion. We, as consumers, have the ability to create slow fashion. We as Christian's, as Catholics have the responsibility to end fast fashion.

Ethical and fair trade are terms used to describe ‘who’, that's the person who actually sowed the land for the fibers, prepared the fibers to become fabric, cut, sewed, and finished your garment. Thus, it is focused on the people. Farmers, manufactures, delivery drivers. It is the people behind the clothes.

Slow fashion is not just the conscious purchase decisions made with slow fashion brands, it is also the reuse, mending of things broken and purchases made at pre-owned clothing stores. It is the constant use of one's mindfulness directed to clothing, accessories, and shoes.

Unfortunately, today's clothing is so cheap that it is now seen as “disposable” and in some cases it is such a low quality it is unavoidably thrown away and cannot outlive you, the wearer. Unfortunately, there are many who throw clothes away before it is necessarily "worn through" and therefore continually adding to the issue of fast fashion.

Slow fashion is going less with the trends and focusing more so on your individual style. In other words it is a wardrobe curated to your individual preferences. Usually made up of mostly timeless, classy pieces more often than not leaning heavily on neutral and solid colors. But as it is a wardrobe curated to you, the colors and styles are 100% you. That means if neutral colors are not your thing, then you do not need to include them in your wardrobe.

If fast fashion is mindless consumption. Then slow fashion is mindful investments.

Slow fashion is wardrobe mindfulness. It is you as an individual being aware of the companies you are supporting. Slow fashion is about you being intentional about each piece you add to your wardrobe, whether it be a pair of shoes, earrings, belt, coat, or makeup. It is you taking into consideration each individual piece and making conscious decisions. It is you being present in the now.

Slow fashion is you having an extraordinary relationship with your wardrobe. Slow fashion is slower production schedules, smaller batches of collections (so there is no over producing), and zero waste designs. Companies that are truly working for a better fashion industry with less disgusting habits, such as over production, increased waste, and chasing trends (that are mostly made up) create classic styles with layering and reversible options to create versatile pieces. With companies like this and concerned fashion forward people (like you and I), we can build minimalist wardrobe's and invest in garments that will actually outlive us.

To actually have a garment outlive you, you need quality fabric. And like our ancestors had before us (just visit any old museum with attire from hundreds of years ago and you’ll see my point) organic cotton, hemp, linen, Tencel, and wool are still readily available. Does it have to be organic? Ah, if you can get it, then I'd say yes. Because what would be the point in becoming mindful and purchasing quality clothes if we are going to continue supporting companies that use pesticides to grow the fibers needed to produce the clothes? If you did so, you would be indirectly supporting the destruction of the waterways for drinking water and the planet's health.

What Can I Do to Join the Slow Fashion Movement?

Reconnect with your wardrobe. Look through your wardrobe, your shoe collection, jewelry, everything. There are pieces in everyone's wardrobe that cannot simply be replaced. Fall back in love with these pieces, with everything you have. And if for some reason or other you cannot seem to love a piece, simply release it, and give it a new home.

Uncover your capsule wardrobe. Most of us have a capsule wardrobe without even realizing it. It is made up of our trusted pieces we fall back on time and time again. It is made up of clothing that best fits your lifestyle. A capsule wardrobe is typically made up of just a few items, making an array of outfits. One method you could use is project 333. That is selecting 33 items from your wardrobe and wearing only them over a 3 month period. Yes this includes shoes, jewelry, and any other accessories. This helps to declutter.

Become mindful. If you find yourself impulse buying, work on giving up the urge. Have someone you can call before you purchase the shoes, dress, etc. Consult your current wardrobe, does it need this piece to make it better? Is this company you are shopping with sustainable, ethical, organic? Which brings me to my next point...

Do the research. Before you decide to purchase make sure you VET the company. Companies have been known to purchase sustainability certificates. Are they ligament certificates that are in alignment with the brand values and activities? Check out the brands website, do they share where the clothes are made, where they source their materials, how many collections a year they produce, etc.?

You are on your way to becoming a mindful fashionista darling! I know you can do it. Keep up the work. It takes effort in the front end, but once you get to the tipping point and have a wardrobe you are excited to visit each and every single day you will find getting dressed a whole lot easier!

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