Hello and welcome to Dressed for My Day. Today I’m introducing my 2020 style series, Transitioning to Slow Fashion. We’ll just stick with the basics today, whet your appetite, so to speak. But we’ll also look at where we’re going with this series throughout the year. I can’t wait to get started!
What is Slow Fashion?
There are as many definitions for “slow fashion” as there are writers explaining it. As with most “concepts,” the definition is broad and sometimes mingles with the tenets of other closely related concepts.
So, for the purposes of helping you and me as consumers to practice slow fashion, I’ll be defining slow fashion this way:
slow fashion: the concept of slowing down the fashion process by being more mindful of building a personal wardrobe that reflects your personal style, functions with versatility and lasts over time, thus preventing the need or desire to replenish it at a fast pace.
We’ll be looking at slow fashion from the consumer’s point of view, so I think that definition will work for us nicely. But let’s make sure we understand what else is at play.
You may frequently hear three different terms used interchangeably:
- slow fashion
- sustainable fashion
- ethical fashion
While these three concepts definitely have some cross-over, we’re really talking about different parts of the equation with each of them.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
When we discuss the sustainability of fashion the talk may be about how long clothing pieces lasts. But the goal is not just to stretch the life of our clothing; it’s to responsibly consider the environmental impact of the fashion industry as a whole and of our personal garments specifically.
Practicing sustainable fashion is considering the whole life-cycle of the product. It’s thoughtful use of resources (yours and the world’s) and minimizing waste.
In short, we, as consumers, can practice sustainable fashion by being more mindful of who makes our clothing and how it is made, keeping our clothing in our wardrobe for longer and then extending the life cycle of products we no longer want through innovative measures. We’ll talk more about those in another post.
What is Ethical Fashion?
The term ethical fashion focuses on ensuring humane treatment in the production of clothing and accessories. When we insist on ethical fashion, we consider:
- working conditions
- fair wages
- treatment of workers and crafts people
- treatment of animals
- child labor
What do these three terms have in common?
While slow fashion, sustainable fashion and ethical fashion actually cover three different concepts, they all intersect.
To practice slow fashion, sustainable fashion and/or ethical fashion, we’ll have to slow down and be more mindful consumers.
Slow Fashion vs. Fast Fashion
There was a time in the past when the fashion process was slower. It wasn’t necessarily more ethical or responsible, mind you. But the processes of producing and buying fashions were slower and products also tended to last longer. In fact, designers and brands only produced a couple of lines of styles each year.
But now many of the brands you and I shop produce new lines or sets of styles as frequently as bi-weekly. Combine that with increased consumer awareness of trends and the speed of advertising, and you have the frenzied pace at which many of us have become accustomed to adding to our wardrobes.
The problem with fast fashion
In the fast fashion frenzy, most of us have forgotten or never learned how to really build a wardrobe. Instead, we’ve taken to shopping for sport, accumulating goods that we know we’ll dispose of at the end of one or maybe two seasons. We view our clothing as disposable, so we want to spend less on it and we expect less of it.
Honestly, many of us don’t even know how to shop for quality garments or accessories. We don’t know what to look for beyond the price tag. So we associate high price with quality and then we determine that we can’t afford it. That drives us to resort to the cheaper fashions…and the cycle perpetuates.
And in that perpetual fast fashion cycle, laborers don’t get paid fair wages, dangerous short cuts are taken, prices don’t necessarily reflect quality, we become even more materialistic, landfills accumulate piles of barely used clothing and resources are diminished needlessly.
The challenge of slowing down
Fast fashion has become our culture’s new normal. If you choose to move toward slow fashion, you will be going against the current.
First, let’s understand that I am not an expert on slow fashion. I’m researching the concepts and investigating brands so that I can share my findings here with you. This will be a learning process for those who take the challenge and make the commitment.
Second, I don’t think we can adopt a slow fashion practice overnight. I think the best you and I can probably do is move toward slow fashion. It will be a process.
How will we move toward slow fashion at Dressed for My Day?
Here’s my current plan for helping us to move toward slow fashion in 2020. Obviously this plan could change as we go.
- Evaluate – We’ll learn how to evaluate our current wardrobes.
- Consider – We’ll consider our personal values and how they should affect our consumer choices.
- Investigate – We’ll investigate brands and retailers to understand their values and practices.
- Slow down – Then we’ll begin to slow down our shopping and purchasing habits. We won’t quit. That’s not feasible. But we’ll slow down.
- Define – Before we can move further toward a slow fashion lifestyle, we’ll need to define our personal or signature style. We did some of this in last year’s style series, but we’ll revisit it.
- Strategize – We’ll be strategical about how we’ll build a sustainable wardrobe that works for us. Again, we’ll revisit some of what we learned in last year’s style series.
- Focus – We’ll turn our focus to styling our personal wardrobes rather than just buying more clothing. That doesn’t mean I won’t share new clothing, but I’ll be providing more styling tips.
- Care – We’ll learn new ways to care for our wardrobes so they last.
- Expand – Finally, we’ll learn how to expand the life cycle of the pieces in our wardrobes through innovative measures, such as donating, repairing, upcycling, consigning, and recycling.
So that’s my plan.
Here’s my goal. I personally want to slow down so that I can have a different relationship with my wardrobe. I don’t want to view it as disposable and ever-changing. Instead, I want to enjoy curating a good (not necessarily high, but good) quality wardrobe that I can mix and coordinate in an enjoyable way that expresses my style, while being mindful of how my clothing was made and what kind of carbon imprint it is making on the world. I’d like for many pieces in that wardrobe to serve me for the rest of my life and for most of the garments to stay in my wearable closet for years.
And I’d love it if you’d join me in that journey.
Let me know if you have any questions about what you’ve read here today. It’s a good time to start the conversation. So I’ll stay close today and try to hop in here and answer your comments. Let me know your thoughts!
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Blessed for My Day
While the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21 certainly teaches us about the foolishness of hoarding up possessions, there is something else about that story that always catches my attention. I’m convicted by the foolish land owner’s way of reasoning through his “predicament.” If you read the verses even casually, you notice that he simply does what seems best to him.
Over and over we read, “I will…I will…I will.” And how did he come to his decisions? He “thought to himself.” Today let’s be on guard so we don’t make the same mistake that leads to foolish actions. Instead of thinking to ourselves about how to handle life’s decisions, let’s ask God to direct our paths. And let’s look to His Word for clear directions.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” ~ Luke 12:15