We’ve talked a lot about how to make sustainable fashion fun and affordable. Saying no to fast fashion and living on a budget is easy with the right tools and mindset — just check out our post on the pros of thrifting here. This time around, we want to introduce you to the opposite idea of fast fashion. You guessed it: slow fashion. While slow fashion might be a bit more of a luxury in terms of making a dent in your bank account, it’s contributing to the more ethical and environmentally-friendly fashion industry.
The concept of slow fashion was coined by Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, following the emergence of the slow food movement. Slow fashion is most characterized by its use of quality materials and consideration for both people and the planet. Unlike fast fashion, it emphasizes the need to buy less, to value quality over quantity, and, in turn, to slow down or stop unnecessary production of clothing. Other differentiators of slow fashion include its origin — you’ll find it mostly in local stores or boutiques, there are fewer seasonal collections, and the materials are locally sourced. Because of these sustainable perks, slow fashion is often attributed to luxury. That means, unlike fast fashion and thrifting, there may be a heftier price tag attached to such items.
More and more companies are leaning toward slower practices that value the resources and makers behind their products. There is a greater focus on the storytelling and craftsmanship of the goods as well. Let’s take one of our favorite brands, Maiyet, as an example.
Maiyet is a luxury artisan brand that partners with nonprofits like NEST to build ethical, sustainable relationships with artisan groups. It creates clothing and accessories that mindfully celebrate the crafts and techniques of cultures around the world. One of their key partnerships was with the Gobi Revival Fund, where they worked with the nomadic goat herders of Outer Mongolia to create FAIR, the world’s first ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable cashmere yarn. Maiyet proves that luxury can be both high fashion and sustainable. And celebrities are jumping on board. Emma Watson, Freida Pinto, Zoe Saldana, and Zosia Mamet have all worn the brand to high-profile events.
If you’re looking for a statement piece that is artfully crafted by skilled artisans, this brand has the experience and accolades to back it up. Another brand that advocates for sustainable fashion is Stella McCartney.
It’s a bit of a bummer that sustainable fashion has the connotation of being a luxury. Clothing, high-end or not, should not come at the expense of human rights and basic environmental awareness. It’s also important to note that, although these brands, like Maiyet, market sustainable fashion as expensive, bespoke pieces, it is what they’re doing behind the scenes that matter most. Moving toward conscious production practices and building lasting relationships with ethical suppliers all set an example of how fashion should move forward. As we know already, fast fashion gets its inspiration from luxury designers that don their creations on the runways at fashion week, setting a precedent for the following year’s trends and styles. If more and more brands, like Maiyet and Stella McCartney, continue to advocate for slower fashion, the faster these practices will trickle down to other retailers.
We know it’s not in everyone’s budget to buy luxury items on the regular, but whether you can afford to splurge or not, advocating for slow fashion will help make positive change. Rest assured, you can find your way to make a difference in a way that’s best for you.