You’re probably already familiar with fast fashion — ok, fine, if you’re like most of us, it’s probably the majority of your wardrobe. Who can resist inexpensive mall stores when everyone has already seen your favorite party outfit, and a new one is cheaper than an organic avocado? But there is an alternative, and it’s better in every possible way: better ethics, better practices, and better style. It’s called “Slow Fashion,” a term first coined in 2007 by Kate Fletcher, an early advocate for beautiful fashion without moral compromise.
More and more designers are joining this movement, like Allyson Ansusinha, a fashion designer who won the Emerging Designer of the Year award at 2017 Charleston Fashion Week, and who works with sustainable apparel and ethical textile companies for all her designs. She has three major tips for shoppers ready for a whole new look, inside and out.
“Slow Fashion is a commitment to the fair treatment of workers by providing clean and safe working environments, livable wages, and the selection of materials that are biodegradable, renewable, and do not use environmentally toxic chemicals,” Ansusinha explained over email. Ansusinha feels strongly that it is our responsibility to acknowledge the impact clothing can have on climate change and social injustices. By changing our buying and wearing habits, she says, we can affect positive change, and slow the impact of the pollution that’s a byproduct of fashion production.
Fashion might operate at a breakneck pace, but there’s no reason we need to as well. Ansusinha sees the Slow Fashion Movement as “returning to the roots of traditional textile and dyeing techniques help remind makers and consumers of where and how their clothes are made, and rather than promote current trends, Slow Fashion encourages classic designs that will stand the test of time.”
For people who are new to Slow Fashion, Ansusinha recommends researching local companies and makers that prioritize natural materials and fair labor practices. She also likes shopping for secondhand clothing at thrift and consignment stores, and says that a clothing swap can be a great way to spend time with friends and family and trade items between wardrobes. There’s no reason you can’t have style and substance — with the Slow Fashion movement, you can have beautiful clothes you love, and keep them in your closet for longer.
And remember: there’s no need to toss the fast fashion items in your closet now, in fact, you should wear them as much as possible (or give them to others who will). Getting as much use out of the clothes and accessories you already own is the greenest thing you can do!