You’ve probably heard many people use the term “slow fashion”, but I’m guessing you are not totally sure what it means. The phrase was unclear to me for the longest time—and this was pretty embarrassing because my entire business revolves around slow fashion!
Have you noticed an overall decline in quality of clothing, that has also somehow correlated with an increase in the number of different fashion trends?
This wasn’t as big of a problem a few years ago, but there has been a noticeable increase in fashion and accessory “fads”, and even in the number of different clothing stores altogether. Clothing has become disposable, and the prices have become lower than ever.
I used to get so swept up by incredibly low prices. My younger self, with a smaller wallet, was thrilled by the fact that I could buy a V-neck t-shirt for $5.00. Multipacks of earrings, 10 pairs for $10.00, were my guilty pleasure. Don’t even get me started on end-of-season clearance sales.
I would go to the mall and scout out the products I liked. If they weren’t on sale at the time, I’d wait a few weeks until they were on clearance. A few weeks! Certain styles of clothing were only sitting on shelves for a few weeks before they were replaced with something new. If I couldn’t find the exact shirt I had my eye on, I’d just grab something similar.
At the time, it seemed like I couldn’t go wrong with only spending a few dollars.
As I grew older and my closet started to burst at the seams, I realized that I was wasting my money. Many of the once adorable shirts I purchased for under ten dollars were only worn a few times, and yet were becoming threadbare. The low-quality shoes I bought that were 2/$20.00 were falling apart.
Long story short – I ended up having to throw out most of my clothing because they irreparable, were no longer “in style”, fit poorly, etc. I had to spend even more money to replace only a fraction of what I got rid of.
It took me a while, but eventually I started letting my self-esteem and ethical mind control my purchases, rather than the price tags.
Yes, this did mean that I stopped purchasing clothing as frequently. As much as this was a conscious decision, it was also a side-effect of the fact that my clothing was lasting longer and didn’t need to be replaced.
So what does all of this have to do with slow fashion?
Slow fashion is the practice of purchasing clothing that is meant to last. This means it is usually handmade and sourced locally. It also means that the clothing is made in smaller quantities and is usually more expensive.
The higher price shouldn’t stop you from shopping locally. You might be spending more money up front, but over time you will spend less due to the fact that you aren’t shopping as frequently because you aren’t constantly needing to replace everything!
The overall practice of shopping mindfully helps to slow down the inevitable cycle that I wrote about earlier: purchasing clothing, wearing clothing, and disposing of clothing.
Since I’ve started knitting and crocheting, I have personally never had to buy a scarf or a toque. The same goes for most of my friends because they ordered goods from me. Personally, I would never sell anything that I wouldn’t wear myself. If I didn’t trust the item to last through one outing, I wouldn’t let it leave my work space. Therefore, most of my friends have only ever had to buy one or two items from me, depending on how many different styles they wanted.
I have toques that have been through the wash, been treated incredibly well, and some incredibly poorly, but I still have all of them. And they are still in fantastic condition.
Small business owners who produce their goods by hand can enact a huge amount of quality control. They make each item themselves with their own tried-and-true techniques. They are able to source their supplies carefully to ensure optimum quality. These small steps work towards creating higher quality products that are created to last for years to come.
Shopping locally is also better for your community’s economy. You can rest easy knowing that your money is going towards a young family, or a university student, a single mother, or even an up-and-coming teenager. This is 100x better than having your money dumped into an even bigger pile of money hoarded by a large corporation.
Open your wallet wisely and shop carefully. You work hard for your money, so you should spend it on things that will benefit you in the long run.
What do you think? Let me know your opinions on slow fashion and whether or not you think it’s a good thing.