Have you heard of the term Slow Fashion before? What about Fast Fashion?
While we constantly talk about Fast Food, Fast Fashion is surprisingly not something we get to hear very often.
The University of Queensland nicely summarises what fast fashion means:
“The term ‘fast fashion’ refers to cheaply produced and priced garments that copy the latest catwalk styles and get pumped quickly through stores in order to maximise on current trends.”
While brands once produced four collections per year, one for each season, we can now walk into the same shop almost every fortnight and the styles and collections have changed.
It’s all produced under the headline FAST.
Just like Fast Food you expect to assuage your hunger quickly, Fast Fashion is there to satisfy your lust for the latest trends, something new, and staying ‘fashionable’. All at an affordable price.
Though, what happens when you eat fast food? Most of the times, only a couple of hours later, you’re hungry again, maybe even haunted by guilt.
Fast fashion often acts the same way.
We buy a new T-Shirt for $5 or even $2 when it’s on sale, wear it a few times, wash it a few times and that’s it. The item looks warped in a way, eroded and possibly the colour already faded. Guilty? Very rarely.
It’s almost funny that we care so much what we put in our mouth, but not on our skin. We don’t look at how the person on the other end, making our clothes, has been treated.
We don’t question how sustainable and ethical $5 T-Shirts really are.
We’re living in a world where materialism has gotten out of hand.
It’s time to gain control again and perhaps even reconsider our values, or evaluate where we might have been ‘slack’ these past few years and where we can improve.
As Clara Vuletich said in her TED talk:
“It’s easy to point a finger to a brand […] or the government […] but we have to really take responsibility for our choices.”
While we have done so in food and seem to make more and more healthier choices, it also needs to happen in the fashion industry.
Slow Fashion might be the answer as it translates to the opposite:
“Slow fashion is a movement towards mindful manufacturing, fair labor rights, natural materials, and lasting garments.”
as The Good Trade describes it.
Rather than the simple word ‘movement’ perhaps the more powerful word ‘revolution’ could be used.
Looking at all the facts of fast fashion and comparing it with the slow fashion approach, it is clear that only one of the two is actually sustainable.
Clara Vuletich reminds us to make the decision:
“Sustainable fashion is about values. We have to decide what we value.”
Sometimes our actions don’t align with what we say and want to be seen as, so it’s time to change ourselves. As it is applied in the law context: “Ignorance is no excuse in law.” By keeping to ignore the issue, we can’t make a change and tackle the issue, but by working together and taking action we have the combined power to put an end to exploitation.