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Slow fashion, the alternative to fast fashion and part of what has been called the "slow movement", advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.
The concept of slow fashion borrows heavily from the Slow Food Movement. Founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986, Slow Food links pleasure and food with awareness and responsibility. It defends biodiversity in our food supply by opposing the standardisation of taste, defends the need for consumer information and protects cultural identities tied to food. It has spawned a wealth of other slow movements. Slow Cities, for example, design with slow values but within the context of a town or city and a commitment to improve its citizens' quality of life.
Slow Food Movement advocates the following principles:
- Good: quality, flavorsome and healthy food
- Clean: production that does not harm the environment
- Fair: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers
Some elements of the slow fashion philosophy include: buying vintage clothes, redesigning old clothes, shopping from smaller producers, making clothes and accessories at home and buying garments that last longer. New ideas and product innovations are constantly redefining slow fashion, so using a static, single definition would ignore the evolving nature of the concept.
Unlike fast fashion, slow fashion production ensures quality manufacturing to lengthen the life of the garment. Slow fashion may be considered a revolt or action against the fast fashion movement. Developing a garment with a cultural and emotional connection is also pertinent to the purpose behind slow fashion: consumers will keep an article of clothing longer than one season if they feel emotionally or culturally connected to the article of clothing. A taxation is in early stages of development in order to deter fashion companies from purchasing or producing materials that are not made with recycled, organic, or re-purposed materials. Utilizing materials already made will reduce the industry's carbon footprint.
There is also an important movement towards companies being more transparent. The need for companies to show their manufacturing processes boosts the companies reputation and can aid buyers to making more conscious decisions. In accordance with the slow movement there is a trend towards more conscious buying as well as companies attracting new consumers with their eco-friendly processes. Consumers still need to do their research into companies as some of them use the idea of eco-fashion without fully backing it up.
Although price is sometimes a deterrent for purchasing slow fashion items, in the long run, one piece of well designed and well produced clothing will outlive five cheap pieces of clothing. Generally, the more a person spends on their clothes, the more value the item will hold (see empathic design below). It makes the piece more special and therefore will make the person feel better about what they wear. Slow fashion clothing is made up of high quality materials usually with timeless designs that can be worn year round and never go out of style. Slow fashion garments should also consider their end of lifecycle. Generally if it is well made and with natural fibers it can be broken down easier. One current problem with the fast fashion industry is the amount of waste generated into landfills.
The slow fashion movement has been studied by Kate Fletcher, a researcher, author, consultant, and design activist, and the author of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles. Her writings integrated design thinking with fashion and textiles as a necessary way to move towards a more sustainable fashion industry.
- Valverde, Yarina. "What is ethical fashion?". fashionhedge.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- Fletcher, Kate (September 2007). "Slow fashion". The Ecologist. 37 (5): 61.
- "Our Philosophy". Slow Food International. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- Kuusk, Kristi; Tomico, Oscar; Langereis, Geert; Wensveen, Stephan (2012). "Crafting smart textiles—a meaningful way towards societal sustainability in the fashion field?". The Nordic Textile Journal. 1: 6–15.
- Choi, Tsan-Ming (April 2013). "Carbon footprint tax on fashion supply chain systems". The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. 68 (1–4): 835–847. doi:10.1007/s00170-013-4947-4.