"Slow Fashion" is not slang for discovering trends a decade late. It’s a revolutionary movement, and it’s bound to be more than a passing fad. Just as the Slow Food Movement has shown we can vote with our dollars by purchasing local organic food, we can also leverage clothing purchases for positive social change. The Slow Fashion Movement exposes the ecological footprint of our wearables and opts for apparel with a heart. In this era of Fast Fashion consumerism, sweatshop labor, and tyrannical trends, Earth is the biggest loser. Slow Fashion supporters seek to tame the beast of globalization, revealing the beauty of an interconnected world.
Fiber Goes West
The average bargain-bin t-shirt travels 16,000 miles from farm to customer. Cotton grown in Texas is milled and dyed in China, manufactured in Bangladesh, then shipped to a retailer in San Francisco. By contrast, Slow Fashion designers defy this insanity by localizing production, processing, and distribution. Conscious fashion begins with conscious materials and ends with conscious consumers. Some designers use only sustainable fibers like hemp, bamboo, and organics. Seriously eco-chic labels like Kigo Footwear have developed “cradle-to-cradle” production, offering rewards to customers who recycle their shoes.
Weave Us Together
The textile industry is highly labor-intensive, and employs millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, many people work in grueling conditions for very little pay. In 1955, the U.S. made 90% of our apparel. Now we only make 3%. Textile jobs have been outsourced to countries with poor wages and no labor laws. To amend this injustice, some Slow Fashion designers find skilled garment workers locally and pay them fair wages. Many companies are beginning to curate ethical & fair trade designers who empower workers in impoverished countries with living wages, education, and micro loans. Other designers are choosing small-scale productions and creating custom made-to-order items. With Etsy now boasting over 1.7 million sellers, it’s much easier to find authentic and humanely handmade apparel.
Slow Fashion Is For Lovers
The most important piece of the Slow Fashion movement is YOU, the consumer. The choices of millions drive the industry. We’ve all had a favorite shirt that we loved until it was all loved out. What if every piece of clothing you had was like that? Slow Fashion also means taking the time to seek out clothing worth loving. It’s about valuing quality over quantity, and long-term investments over the “impulse buy.” Each time we spend our heart-earned money, we can vote for a better world. Let’s vote with our values ~ within and without.
By: Jen Jenuine
This post was originally featured on the Empowered Women's Channel, 2014