What is slow fashion to start with? An alternative to fast fashion would be the obvious answer but let’s break it down a tad bit further. Slow fashion is an awareness, an approach to fashion, which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing, particularly focusing on sustainability. It not only involves conscious decision making and building a quality wardrobe but also values the fair treatment of people, animals & the planet.
Coined by Kate Fletcher, of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, ‘Slow Fashion’ was followed by the infamous slow food movement, this encouraged Fletcher to understand the importance of a slower pace in the fashion industry, especially considering we were contributing to a massive pollution problem.
My journey understanding Slow Fashion was actually quite interesting, it’s safe to say growing up in the fashion world was never always glamorous, it taught me hard work, perseverance, competitiveness, the ‘never say never’ attitude and most importantly, it taught me to fall in love with art, the process of giving birth to an idea, a product of imagination.
Although I was involved, deeply in the back-end of the industry, I, as most, failed to realise the damage I was doing. I slowly began to research, to understand the idea of sustainability, the importance of it, why it IS the need of the hour.
My research enabled my understanding of slow fashion and how it became a movement. Pre-industrial revolution, garments were locally sourced & produced in many parts of the world. People consciously bought quality clothing, made from sustainable processes and purchased less often than we do today. It wasn’t just a factory producing trends & designs, it was more about the artists, putting emphasis on the skills it took to make the clothes that we wear. It’s nice to take it back a notch, isn’t it? To truly appreciate the things we own, to break away from this impending need to constantly keep up with trends, transform wardrobes, to keep up with standards set by others, it’s only bound to catch up with you. In a recent study by econsultancy.com they show that 19% of the top fast fashion-related searches are linked to the environment, ethics & sustainability, although that’s a big step forward, for the people who are asking questions, who want to make conscious, practical purchases, is it really enough?
As we know today’s mainstream industry relies on globalised mass production where garments are transformed from the design stage to the retail floor in a few weeks, maybe even days in certain cases. With large retail chains selling this idea of what’s ‘trending’ and how they can own it at lower prices, consumers are often swayed into buying more than they really need. This marketing marvel is in fact the reason for overconsumption and that of course comes with a hefty price tag, not only on the environment but also on the people who make your clothes.
I’m sure most of you already know about the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, a massive sweatshop that costed thousands of people their lives. Heart-breaking isn’t the word for it, what’s worse is people try to justify what I particularly like to call ‘blood clothing’ by excusing the conditions that these people work in and claim that they have a choice. In under-developed countries like Bangladesh, I’m sorry to say there is NO choice. The rich are filthy rich, and the poor can barely afford a morsel of food - sounds quite similar to the situation here in India doesn’t it? (I’ll talk more about my experience in one of India’s largest fast-fashion markets, Chandini Chowk in another post)
"With CORE what we aim to do is not only question the existing processes of our system but develop & innovate new sustainable processes that allow people to enjoy the luxury of wearing QUALITY over QUANTITY. To inform & educate, to transform what most think they cannot change. Is slow fashion the future, shouldn’t be a question anymore, it should be what we collectively work towards."
We’re churning out more info on how to live sustainably on our blog every day - to keep yourself updated, sign up for our newsletter!