Your Ultimate Guide to the Slow Fashion Industry
As the founder and creator at Hola Gwapa, a small batch slow fashion line, it is SO important to me to continue to do my part to educate others about the fashion industry - the good, the bad and the ugly. While we’re all focused on wanting to look good and be our most fashionable selves, the question of whether our clothes are produced sustainable and/or ethically is often overlooked. Together we will explore the slow fashion industry and how it is taking fast fashion by storm.
One of the ideas behind slow fashion is that you buy less clothing, but you invest in quality pieces that last longer. This means that you are spending less money on clothes over time because you don't need to buy new clothes as often.
Slow fashion brands are also typically more conscious about using natural fibers like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo instead of synthetic materials like polyester. This makes for a more sustainable textile industry because these fabrics are biodegradable and do not release toxic chemicals into the environment when they break down in landfills.
The other less talked about benefit of slow fashion is that the founders and creators are usually always at the helm of their brands so you can actually shop from and support the people and designers you know and love vs. a larger corporation lacking any human connection or mission oriented motive to make the world a more beautiful place.
What is The Difference Between Fast and Slow Fashion?
Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing that is mass-produced in order to keep up with the latest trends. This type of clothing is often low quality and made poorly in terrible working conditions. Fast fashion brands are also known for their ability to quickly copy new trends, stealing the creative ideas, silhouettes, prints and patterns of slow fashion designers with zero accountability or remorse claiming them as their own.
Slow fashion is an alternative trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Slow fashion brands produce clothing that is made with high-quality materials and designed to last for years. Slow fashion brands are more expensive than fast fashion brands, but they are worth the investment because they are well-made from quality materials by mission focused designers you know and love.
Does the Slow Fashion Movement Cost More Than Fast Fashion?
The slow fashion movement has been picking up momentum over the past few years. The idea is to buy less and buy better quality clothes that last longer and that you truly love and never want to get rid of. Many people have found that this does not cost any more than purchasing fast fashion as slow fashion designers have worked really hard to price goods fairly while educating consumers on the value of their products' high-quality sustainable materials and ethical labor practices, but there are a few exceptions to this.
How Does the Slow Fashion Movement Help The Environment?
Slow fashion is a movement that has been gaining momentum, especially in recent years. The movement aims to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion, which is often produced in large quantities and has a high rate of wastage as garments are often regarded as trash and tossed as soon as the next trend comes along.
Slow fashion has many benefits that are not only good for the environment but also for consumers and shifting their mindset to make better purchasing decisions. It encourages people to not only think about what they buy and how it will last, which could lead to less consumption as well as owning, wearing and supporting the production of better quality products at large.
As also previously touched upon there is typically more thought and care that goes into sourcing and selecting the materials sourced to produce slow fashion. Some slow fashion brands are even committed to solely purchasing deadstock fabric or any leftover fabric that can't be used for its original purpose or order fulfillment.
Additionally, because slow fashion designers are often educated on the fast fashion industry's negative environmental impact and are therefore mission driven to make a positive impact through their material selections and methods of fabric production, they know to avoid materials like polyurethane. While toxicity isn't as much of an issue with polyurethane, the versatile substance is still made from fossil fuels, which means that plenty of carbon dioxide is emitted during production. According to the Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe, producing a pound of polyurethane foam emits 3.7 pounds of CO2. To make matters even worse polyurethane is often marketed to less educated consumers under misleading names like “vegan leather” giving the impression that this material is a better alternative to animal leather when in fact there is just as much if not more of a negative environmental impact to produce the synthetic material over sourcing a genuine animal hide.
So What Can We Do Join The Slow Fashion Movement and Help The Environment?
With all this in mind the good news is that it is up to us as fashion lovers and consumers to educate ourselves on the brands, materials, people, processes and products we are shopping for and make the best decisions we can. In this scenario where we spend our dollars is how we vote. So be your own guru and take time to learn, listen and have conversations with friends and family about the slow vs. fast fashion debate. Encourage those you love to ask themselves the tough questions that may inspire changed action no matter how small.
And remember when you purchase from slow fashion brands vs. large corporations you're putting money in the pockets of people. You support their dreams, their passions, their talent and their livehood. Each item carries with it the story and the mission of its maker. So investing in artist made brands is not just transactional, it’s a commitment to your vision for a more beautiful future, a positive impact on the environment and the most authentic way to build a wardrobe that allows you to express yourself artistically through items you are truly proud to own, wear, and love.