Though it might be tempting to bolt into the nearest Forever 21 on payday to buy inexpensive trendy garb in bulk for some good old fashioned instant gratification, the Slow Fashion Movement urges you to do otherwise.
The term, ‘slow fashion,’ first introduced by eco-friendly fashion consultant and author Kate Fletcher, is representative of both sustainable and ethical practices as they relate to fashion design, manufacturing and consumption, and provides an environmentally-friendly alternative to ‘fast’ fashion, (i.e. blowing half of your paycheck on an entire new wardrobe every time the weather changes).
Textile manufacturing consumes and pollutes as much as 200 tons of water per ton of fabric, according to the environmental nonprofit group, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Plus, if 100 small- to medium-sized textile mills followed the NRDC’s recommended improvements, China would save more than 16 million metric tons of water and eliminate nearly the same amount of emissions from 172,000 cars annually.
Designer Eliza Starbuck told Ecouterre, in regards to H&M, “It takes such a huge amount of human energy and textile fibers, dyes, and chemicals to create even poor-quality clothes.”
You don’t necessarily have to be a designer to partake in the slow fashion movement. The collaborative design hub behind A Bit Slow say that if you’ve ever done a DIY project, shopped at a thrift store or tag sale, or splurged on a quality piece that won’t go out of style, unlike those drop-crotch pants you wore one time and then proceeded to shove to the back of your closet, you’re already riding the slow fashion movement’s coattails. Get even more involved by supporting smaller boutiques and designers that work with local products, manufacturers and producers, or by taking the time to repair an item from your wardrobe instead of tossing it out on a whim.
The next time you’re tempted to buy a pair of inexpensive, low-quality acid wash jeans that will probably rip in the crotch during your weird dance ritual you have to perform to get them on after a few washes (I’ve been a victim of this exact situation, don’t think it can’t happen to you!), stop and ask yourself: “How much use will I actually get out of this?” Or better yet, experiment with an old pair of jeans and achieve the same acid washed look with bleach to reduce your carbon footprint. And the bragging rights you’ll gain from your new-and-improved, one-of-a-kind jeans sure won’t hurt, either.
Images courtesy of Forever 21 and Ecouterre