Why I love slow fashion

slow fashion sustainable

Let us begin by identifying what "slow fashion" is and what it encompasses. 

Simply put, slow fashion is antithesis to fast fashion. Think of all the bad things that fast fashion is, overproduced, poor quality and underpaid workers in terrible working conditions. Now think, quality natural or recycled fabrics, fair working conditions and wages, less seasons/drops in stores. 

Why is this movement getting momentum in the last few years? Because the fashion industry has become one of the biggest polluters in the world, right behind the fuel and agriculture industries.  Every step of the fast fashion industry is an issue. 

Lets begin with the "design" concept. Fast fashion is not designed but copied and/or adapted from actual designers who spend time developing their ideas. In other words, they make money of someone else's labor and concepts. It is then put into a computer who generates a pattern. As the patternmaking is automated according the the measurements of an "average body" type, which obviously does not exist, the pattern is ill fitting and does not suit anyone. The garment is then cut out of the cheapest possible fabrics, mostly polyesters and acrylics, which carry micro particles that end up in our waterways and are eaten by our fish and other animals. Humans consume those animals and fish, so essentially we end up eating the plastic we produce. But I'm getting off topic.

Polyester is not biodegradable; this means that once produced it stays on this planet forever as rubbish. Yes, it can be recycled into many things these days but the recycling process is also toxic, just as is it's original production, generating more harmful gases, which are inhaled by poor workers in mostly developing countries, with no or little health care to help them when they develop health issues from their jobs. 

Once the patterns are cut they are then assembled on sewing machines, mostly by women and children, in poor and even unsafe working conditions for very little money. There have been many cases of factories collapsing, burning down with people still in them and repeated accusations and fines handed to wealthy owners for human rights abuses. Those ready made garments are then pressed, sprayed with formaldehyde so they don't crease or get mouldy, and put into individual plastic bags for transport- biggest polluter in the world. 

Once the goods reach our stores, they are unpacked from their plastic bags which go straight to our landfills, where it will take 10,000 years for them to break down. There are companies who are trying to make biodegradable bags, but those only work well if you take them individually and bury them in your garden. Unfortunately when you throw them into the landfill, they produce methane gas which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, more so than CO2. Furthermore, the "green plastic bags" are made of corn which is a plant that degrades soil and causes harmful runoff into streams and rivers. 

This brings us to the end step of the fast fashion industry, you, the consumer. Chances are you bought an item because you saw it on any one of the social media platforms, a friend had it or it was just too cheap to resist. The issue with that is, perhaps the item does not look as good on you as it does on your friend or fave socialite and so you don't feel that great in it. Perhaps the colour does not actually suit you. Perhaps it went all out of shape when you washed it, or perhaps the brand told you that it is already yesterday's style and you should buy a new one. So, just as quickly it arrived at your doorstep, you just throw it away without a second thought. Because it is a cheap, poorly made item, no one really wants it, not the 2nd hand shops, not the vintage lover and certainly not the 3rd world countries that receive our discarded fast fashion items. So they go into the landfill where they will wait 10,000 yrs to hopefully breakdown.

This is the story  of fast fashion, of each and every item you have in your wardrobe, from shoes and lingerie to clothing, hats and bags. Is it any wonder why the slow fashion movement is gaining momentum? Why environmentalists are screaming and why designer brands are desperately trying to find a better model to make products. The choice is yours my reader. You have the buying power to say no, I want better. 


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