Choosing Slow Fashion
Fast fashion describes the business model in which clothing is produced in bulk cheaply and unsustainably, at a rate far greater than our need for new clothes. The industry is incredibly damaging and exploitative, and for this reason many are choosing to turn away from it and embrace ‘slow fashion’ – an alternative which seeks to be sustainable and ethical. This is great news for those of us who find fashion to be an important aspect of our identity and self-expression.
Make the most of the clothes you have. Shop your own wardrobe – are there pieces you haven’t worn for a while? Combinations you’ve yet to try? Taking good care of the clothes you have will make them last much longer. Learning to sew on a button or repair a seam will not only save you money, but you’ll also get to feel like an extra in The Great British Sewing Bee. If that doesn’t appeal, most drycleaners offer an affordable mending service.
If you’re extra creative you can graduate from this to more exciting kinds of DIY, for example sewing a patch on a jacket to hide a rip, or using fabric paint to add colour to a pair of jeans, or hide a stain. There are plenty of these kinds of ideas on YouTube to get you started.
Buy second hand. Charity shops, vintage kilo sales and online stores such as Depop, eBay and Vinted can all give your wardrobe a new lease of life. If you can, search out long-lasting, hard-wearing and timeless pieces of clothing you know you’ll love for years to come.
If you’re buying new, do your research into the brands you’re supporting. What is their sustainability policy? How do they pay their workers? When it comes to new clothing, if it seems too cheap to be truly sustainable then it probably is. Look out for greenwashing – this is when a company tries to come across as more planet-friendly than it really is. It can seem like a bit of a minefield, but following slow fashion influencers such as Aja Barber and Venetia La Manna can help you to work it out.
Finally – go easy on yourself! It’s easier to avoid fast fashion if you’re not plus-sized, and if you have more time and money to spare. But there are small changes all of us can make to the way we view our clothing, and together that will make a real material difference.