"Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast" - Shakespeare
So slow fashion - what's it all about?
At it's core it is the opposite of fast fashion: We think immediately of cheap items produced with cheap labour, and cheap materials, for fast turnaround and a pile 'em high, sell 'em quick approach. An approach that is not only bound up with issues of ethics such as workers rights and poor production facilities etc. ( remember the Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013?) but is also HUGELY bad for the planet. Fashion, and its supply chain is the 3rd largest polluter on this planet. Such a difficult thing to hear when fashion is such a joy to so many of us - for its ability to make us feel a certain way, to allow us to get creative with colour and shape, or just the pure pleasure of cosying up in your favourite jumper on a chilly autumn day.
But fast fashion doesn't just cover the budget stores - higher end brands can also be a contributor due to the concept of trends and seasons- promoting the activity of buying a new batch of current trend items, each time a new look is revealed. And higher priced items don't necessarily mean better quality goods or working conditions. Having worked for many years in the fashion industry (predominantly, but not exclusively, producing headwear for a variety of designers, retail outlets and photo shoots) I understand that there is not a simplistic, black and white solution on how to resolve fashions' contribution to the climate crisis.
The black and white version could be 'well just stop buying stuff, lets live as our predecessors lived with very minimal wardrobes, no mass off the peg garments, and make our own and mend what we can... Aaaaargh!!
So yes we do need to buy less, buy well, reuse, recycle, and repair to help ... but first we need to slow down, look and think. LOOK at what we have, can it be mended, can it be reused by someone else? Can I mend it, or is there a specialist who can help? And if we are buying... THINK where does it come from and how is it made? Is it second hand perhaps (50% of my wardrobe is treasured vintage and 2nd hand finds - and they're some of the best quality items I have - robust, beautiful fabrics- even on an 80's M&S dress!) Or perhaps you're buying new... is it using materials and processes that are detrimental to the planet, or are they working with it? Both small independent businesses as well as larger corporations are joining in this effort to minimise their impact on the planet (but do be aware of greenwashing ). To start you off with the big brands, the Goodonyou website and app is a great tool, rating the eco/ ethical credentials of thousands of worldwide brands
There is a plethora of other amazing organisations, websites and experts out there to help us in this exciting new challenge of changing the way we purchase and consume, and to help us to engage in a slower fashion lifestyle. Over the coming months I will be exploring some of these in my Journal so we can journey together, discovering weird, wonderful and everyday ways to help us in our quest for amazing fashion, alongside a cleaner planet.
And for those of you who are revving to start, here are some websites packed full of information to get you going -
OR if you fancy getting stuck in and getting creative yourself, check out my Get Creative journal for articles, pointers and inspiration to make and create!