What does “slow fashion” mean, anyway?
Sustainable. Slow. Ethical. Conscious. These terms have cropped up a lot over the past five years, particularly as it pertains to fashion. But without explanation or context, it can be confusing to understand the nuances between them.
Here, we’ve created a glossary to assist you in making more mindful wardrobe choices.
In direct contrast to “fast fashion,” slow fashion is centred around designing, creating and buying garments for quality and longevity. It involves using timeless, durable fabrics (e,g linen), with pieces often made-to-order to reduce unnecessary production.
This relates to how the garment was made, encompassing everything from the method the cotton was grown to whether those involved in manufacturing (including animals) were treated appropriately. If a brand is is ‘ethical’ it means they don’t condone the use of sweatshops, child labour, slavery or abuse their workers.
The word ‘sustainable’ concerns the impact the garment has on the environment, including pesticides and dyes, water and waste treatment, the energy involved, whether the materials are recycled, and sometimes even how it is packaged. In order to assess if a garment is truly sustainable, we must consider where it came from and where it will end up afterwards - whether it will go back into the soil or used again for another purpose.
‘Conscious’ fashion is a broad term that is mostly used by or in reference to brands who align themselves with positive social and environmental practices. A conscious consumer is someone that is aware of the negative effects of purchasing items that are not produced in a sustainable or ethical way. It's about taking responsibility and making informed choices.