Elise Epp / What is slow fashion?

Since I’ve started getting into slow fashion, lots of people have asked me what that is. And while I know the term isn’t widely understood, I insist on using it because it’s really the best word for it.

Slow fashion is a catch-all term for a bunch of different ways to do fashion. It includes: handmade, eco-friendly, fair trade, second hand, and upcycled clothes.

Slow fashion is made with quality in mind, because it is not meant to be disposable; it should last for years and years—as opposed to fast fashion, which is meant to be worn once then thrown away.

I prefer the term “slow fashion” to “ethical fashion” for a few reasons. For one thing, it feels to me like a more all-encompassing word, and for another, it seems less judgey. As I get more and more passionate about this subject, I’m totally going to need to watch my judginess, and that seems easier if people don’t think I’m saying they have no ethics. There is the problem of people not knowing what I’m talking about…but then they can’t be offended, right? Hmmmm.

Also, slow fashion—in my mind at least—puts more emphasis on making clothes yourself, or at least there being a really thoughtful creative process that goes into making the clothes. This lets me mix my interest in the plight of my fellow humans with my delight in design. Slow fashion isn’t just a cause.

If you want to really delve into all things fast/slow fashion, check out the doc The True Cost (it’s on Netflix!). It explores the state of the fashion industry and how the push is for consumers to buy lots and lots of disposable clothes. Did you know that the only industry that pollutes more than fashion is oil??? Yeah. Next time an oil pipeline bursts, think of that. An oil spill is the only thing worse than us shopping at H&M/Zara/The Gap/Joe Fresh/all of the stores you like.

P.S. Intrigued? Get started with my Slow Fashion Guide to Basics and Slow Fashion Guide to Party Dresses.

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