Slow fashion- what is it and why we need it?

What is Slow Fashion and why we need it?

This lifestyle change may be very different from our current fashion consumption patterns but needs a change right away!

By Shivya Kumar Verma

Lockdown life meant staying indoors and consuming what you have. While it may have been a necessity initially, few have now happily adopted this slow-paced life. Letting go of unnecessary consumption and living with the bare minimum in all aspects of life- whether it is city life, food, or shopping.

One of the major aspects that have felt this shift is, in our wardrobes. For some shopping was an escape and an exercise to enjoy now that we are outdoors. For other’s, it is a chance to wear what is in their wardrobe and instead curate a conscious wardrobe slowly. If you are in the latter category, then this article is for you. If not, then find out why slow fashion is soon going to be in vogue.

What is Slow Fashion?

The idea of slow fashion is to create a sense of apprehension and perspective towards fashion. In terms of
sustainability, it often concerns with buying better-quality garments that will last longer and value treatment to people, animals and the planet.

A major staple of this approach is the idea of ‘Quality over Quantity’. A wardrobe consisting of a few key quality pieces rather than trendy clothes is what a slow fashion preacher aims for. Rather than shopping for new pieces, they find joy in curating looks with what they have and rewear their clothes as much as possible.

Why switch to Slow Fashion?

Slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero-waste processing is what you can expect. Another key component of the movement is to introduce a sense of transparency about the production process and educating consumers about the craft. This will help consumers understand better what goes behind in producing a well-made garment.

A switch to slow fashion consumption means an opportunity to save a lot more than a few bucks monthly. Plus, you are saving the planet from innumerable costs involved in the production of the clothes you never purchased.

India and a slow approach to clothing

A slow approach to clothing is intrinsically woven into the Indian culture and the freedom movement. The swadeshi movement introduced a Gandhian way of thinking. It urged Indian residents to turn, weave and wear khadi. Khadi is known as the ‘texture of freedom’ and even today continues to be relevant, stylish and important in the Indian wardrobe. Khadi is a tough cloth, that does not succumb easily to wear and tear. Rewearing and repairing khadi clothes is easy.

A quality fabric of clothing is not the only slow fashion principle we can discover from our Indian history lesson. Practices like repeating outfits, rewearing clothes over various generations and the art of repairing clothes are common in Indian households even today.

Thus, even though slow fashion is becoming a worldwide trend, it was always practised in India.

Slow v/s Fast Fashion

Slow fashion is the polar opposite of Fast fashion. Fast fashion as a term was first coined in the 1990s and has gained popularity ever since. But today, its malpractices and environmental harms are common knowledge. Having a slow approach to your fashion consumption is definitely much better and here is why:-

1. Production Cycle

Fast Fashion brands create up to eleven distinct assortments of collections in a year, against the standard two cycles around the two major seasons. These assortments breakdown the entire production cycle from paper to creation and retail in fourteen days. While this speed of production may show technological advancement, it is an unethical practice- harming people and planet alike.

Slow Fashion means to diminish the speed of creation, utilisation and arranging by setting more noteworthy thankfulness on one’s buy. It adheres to the two fashion seasons of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. The collections are thus produced around use rather than trends.

2. Costs and Prices

Fast fashion is particularly attractive due to the great styles available at peanut prices. This bargain becomes even more attractive during the multiple annual sales. Targeted to sell old stock, sales lure customers to shop more. The secret to these low prices lies in the hidden costs that are damaging. Garment workers are paid less and the synthetic fibres (which may be quick to produce) cause long term environmental harm.

Slow fashion considers the materials utilised, how the article of clothing is made and who is making it, to be moral without settling on quality. This process acknowledges and values each step in the production cycle and spends money carefully. Thus, you have a sustainable, quality product that costs more.

3. Quality over Quantity

One garment made using a slow approach may be slightly heavy on your pockets, but it will definitely last longer than your fast fashion garments. Thus in the end it is all about choosing quality over quantity. The world that we live in does advertise and encourage shopping more. That doesn’t mean though that other, slow approaches to fashion consumption are not available or possible. The choice is your biggest power- use it wisely!

Markets are co-created by several participants and individuals. There still is a huge demand for cheap, disposable clothing that fast fashion companies deliver on. It is up to us to reverse the trend. We all are collectively responsible for it and thus should change it together.

If you believe in the premise behind sustainable, ethical fashion and wish to support slow fashion then engage with the brands and help to raise awareness about them in your social circles. Become a smart and conscious consumer and choose with your wallet what’s right for you and the environment.

Shivya is currently pursuing her bachelor’s in BA public policy. Since a young age, she has had a keen interest in writing. She has been part of many anthologies and got her first poem published in a children’s magazine when she was young. She recently launched her poetry book by the name Amare. Shivya is currently working as a content writer with Giri foundation.

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