“The most sustainable fashion is the fashion that already exists.”
Slow fashion – a movement that is gaining traction. It involves making purchases that do not harm the environment, that support ethical/sustainable clothing companies, and promote a sense of community. Slow fashion is much more than going green – slow fashion is a call to sensitivity, exploring individuality, aligning your values/morals with your wardrobe, and feeling a sense of empowerment over your choices.
What is wrong with fast fashion? In short:
Water is polluted to a large extent.
Dyes get into water sources and poison flora and fauna.
Work is outsourced to countries where vulnerable people are exploited.
Working conditions are dark, cramped, hot, dusty, and unclean.
We lose a sense of moral responsibility – by buying clothing that was made with practices that contradict our morals, we give ourselves permission to ignore the reality of the situation.
There are other options. As the quote above implies, we should be buying used clothing. This may not be your cup of tea but here are the reasons:
Avoid supporting large corporations that refuse to make changes
Avoid supporting unethical practices
Avoid supporting companies that use unsustainable and harmful production practices
Find unique pieces (sometimes brand new, designer pieces!)
Cheaper (most Value Village stores sell clothing between $3 to $20)
Upcycling – making completely new pieces from old clothing
I understand if you are not sold on used clothing. Here are some great reasons to buy new:
You take good care of clothing and can make clothes last for many years.
Unique clothing that no one else has
Clothing that reflects your personality
You do not like the idea of used clothing
You are not interested in mending
Support local businesses, seamstresses
Make sure to research your brands before you buy. Do they respect their employees? Pay them a fair wage? Do they even know who they are? If not, do they at least ensure their safety at work? Is there work compensation? Site inspections? No use of child labor? What are their eco-friendly practices? Do you know who made your clothes?
It is imperative to ask questions. There is no reason to buy fast fashion, especially with thrift stores selling clothing (new and used) at fast fashion prices. The choice is yours. Give big corporations your hard-earned money to create more fast fashion – or give a local business your money and support ethical/sustainable practices? If they aren’t local, is there a good reason to support them abroad?
As I became aware of this issue, I realized that I no longer wanted to give my money to fast fashion brands. I want fast fashion brands to stop their wasteful, harmful practices; to change their ways based on supply/demand.
My journey has just begun. I hope you will want to come along with me.
For more information I recommend researching Jane Milburn of Textile Beat, The OM Collection (my affiliation – use KENNIE10 for 10% off), Matt and Nat, Everlane, People Tree, Buttercream Clothing, The Morgan Factory and lastly Etsy. On Etsy, search for upcycled clothing and you will find there are many seamstresses who make wonderful, highly unique pieces.
**Affiliation Disclaimer – I earn commissions from my discount code and my affiliate links. If you would like to do this, send me a message!