Slow Fashion Is The New Black
Dress Like A Fashionista For (next to) Nothing and Help Save the Earth
If you’re anything like me, you haven’t exactly been dressing like a fashionista in recent weeks. If you’re anything like me, you’ve pretty much quit makeup and if your clothes are clean, well you count that as a win.
This is working for now. It’s a great time to give your skin a break and it’s a great idea to save wear and tear on your favourite clothing pieces so that they’re still looking fine when you get out of social isolation. Added bonus: you’re saving money! Which is a necessity for most of us right now. I don’t want to bring this up, but let’s be real, none of us is 100% sure what our employment situation will look like when this is all said and done.
Before all this, I was thinking a lot about the hidden costs of fashion on the environment and on the people who make our clothes. To varying degrees, the Soulaia team has been moving toward slow fashion to have a positive impact on the planet and people. I’ve also been thinking that if we choose not to follow the herd, our unique inner-selves will shine through to our now unique outer-selves. Adopt this and you may not be one of the five people all showing up in the same Aritzia sweater. Well, not in this season’s colour anyway!
Before we talk about how to do slow fashion, let’s briefly cover the impact of fashion on people and the environment.
- The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world.
- 20% of water pollution comes from textiles manufacturing and dying
- 190,000 tons of microfibers from fashion ends up in our oceans each year
- Synthetic fibers are used in 72% of our clothing and it can take up to 200 years to decompose
- The apparel industry accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions
- 1 kg of chemicals are used for every 1 kg of textiles, many of these chemicals are toxic
- 11 chemicals frequently used to make our clothes contain toxins, carcinogens, and hormone disruptors which should be banned, but currently aren’t.
- The countries that produce most of our fast fashion are China, India, Bangladesh – developing countries. Most of these countries have a minimum wage that is one half to one fifth of a living wage. Minimum wage is the norm in the fast fashion industry.
- 14 to 16 hours a day and seven days a week is a typical schedule
- Child labour is utilized
- Employees who manufacture clothing are working day in and day out with the toxic chemicals mentioned above.
To learn more about the impacts of the fast fashion industry, visit Sustain Your Style.
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that you don’t want to support fast fashion any longer. So what brands should you avoid? Basically, if it’s cheap, it’s fast fashion. And if it’s made in any of the countries mentioned above, there is a very good chance that people were exploited to make that garment. A quick search online will give you more information about your favourite brands.
So how do you stay looking “on-point”, while protecting people and earth? Slow Fashion of course.
How to do Slow Fashion
Analyze your body type and your closet. What styles, colours and fits are best for you? Do more of those and variations on those so you aren’t wasting money or just creating more waste. We usually do end up here eventually, after years of trial and error but you can save yourself time and money by being intentional about deciding what works for you and creating a wardrobe around that.
If you don’t love it, don’t buy it. How many of us have a piece or two in our closet with the price tag still on? We weren’t entirely sure at the store and we tried it on again at home and it just didn’t do anything for you. There will be something in your closet that you love more and will work amazingly well.
Reject the idea that being an outfit repeater is a bad thing. It’s smart, you look beautiful and it’s saving you money. Even conscious rich people are doing it, they’re finally catching on.
Frequent gently-used fashion boutiques for great style combined with great value. This is where people who don’t follow the three recommendations above take their clothes. Their loss is your gain and you will find things you love. You will save money and you’ll help keep more clothes from the landfill.
Think twice before throwing out your clothes. If it still fits well and you still like it, even if it’s not the most current style, hang on to it. You can combine it with something that will update it and you might find that it’s back as next year’s look. If you’ve got something that’s still really nice but just not you, consign it or donate it.
Get creative. You can modify your clothes to update them. Not all mods require a sewing machine. Scissors and a needle and thread and maybe a Youtube tutorial can help you take your newly unique style that much further.
Invest in tailoring. If you have a piece you spent a lot on and it doesn’t quite fit properly or it needs an update, consider investing in tailoring, if the work isn’t too extensive, it can be a bargain compared to buying a new dress or a new outfit.
Let the YOU shine through. Think about it. Who do you admire? The people that do what everyone else does? Or the trailblazers who are so busy being themselves and doing what they’re doing that they don’t even know what everyone else is doing. Those women whose style is all their own or the ones that are clones of everyone else? It’s in you too, let it out.
I bet, like a lot of people, you’ve been spending some time recently decluttering. Now is a great time to go through your closet while considering the suggestions above and have some fun with it. Create new outfit combinations, look at your older pieces and think about how you can breathe new life into them, get inspired by the unique style of some of IG’s most fashion-forward.
Let’s get ready to go out in style. BTW, the earth says thanks.
Share any tips you have for slow fashion below so we can all learn from each other.