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What is Slow Fashion?


The term slow fashion has become more popular in recent months. With a national lockdown giving us the chance to rethink shopping habits, our attention turned to the fashion industry. We're looking into slow fashion, what it is, and what it can do for the planet.
What is Slow Fashion?

by Ellen Hill


You may have heard the term slow fashion becoming more popular in recent months. With the national lockdown giving people a chance to rethink their shopping habits, our attention turned to the fashion industry. We take a look at the fashion industry, what slow fashion is, and why it’s so good for the planet. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

What is Slow Fashion?

What is slow fashion?

Slow fashion refers to the intentional, ethical, sustainable fashion industry, as opposed to the perceived ‘fast’ consumption of highstreet and mainstream fashion. This movement blends the sustainable practices a brand can commit to with thoughtful shopping behaviour in consumers. Slow fashion is an idea which hopes to create an industry that benefits people as well as the planet. It is a movement that strives to make the entire fashion industry a slow one.

Slow fashion brands encourage their shoppers to only buy pieces they really need and will get plenty of wear out of. By asking consumers to consider their choices, the movement is less about the clothes themselves and more about the way in which they are made and bought. The aim is to achieve a considerate mindset, in both production, and consumption.

Slow Fashion Brands

Slow fashion brands, like sustainable fashion brands, are flipping the fast fashion industry model on its head with small collections, slower production schedules and zero waste designs. Everything has been calculated and chosen for its benefits to the planet and for the quality of the garments. Slow fashion tackles multiple areas of negative impact caused by the fast fashion industry. While all are interested in the environment, these brands choose different areas to focus their attention. Some of the brands committing to this slower pace are:

  • Kotn
  • Ecoalf
  • Gaâla
  • Lucy and Yak 
  • People Tree
  • Happy Earth
  • Navygrey
  • Thought 
  • Bogdar

Slow Fashion

Brands like Kotn and Ecoalf prioritise using eco-friendly materials like organic cotton certified by the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative). This way, the textiles used make the lowest impacts possible to the surrounding environment. Other brands, like Gaâla, use “deadstock fabrics” to create their garments. These are fabrics that have been discarded or left over from the bigger, faster fashion brands that would otherwise be disposed of. Like Gaâla, Lucy and Yak are a living wage employer. Other brands like People Tree use hand-crafted methods to help create employment in rural or impoverished areas. This commitment to provide financial security for their employees and suppliers means each step in the process receives a fair wage for the work done and the textiles used. Therefore, the brand helps to build a line of trust and sustainability within the creation of their garments.

Better Cotton slow fashion

Other fashion brands focus on the impact they can have on the wider environment. Happy Earth are committed to a tree planting initiative, where with every item purchased they can plant 15 trees. So far, they have planted 379,123 trees. They give their customers the opportunity to choose how they can help the planet with each purchase. You can choose between planting trees, cleaning up trash or initiatives combatting greenhouse gas emissions. Navygrey run their Devon-based centre using solar panels, and People Tree use Tencel which is a material created from recycled wood pulp (Lyocell) which has a low impact on the planet.

Slow Fashion tree planting

As a B-Corp, or “better” corporation, companies must meet strict requirements to maintain their status. B-Corps must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Companies such as Ecoalf, who have vowed to be NetZero by 2030, Kotn, who have built schools in Egypt, and Happy Earth, who plant trees and commit 1% of profits to charity each year, are all B-Corps. Link to B-Corp blog post when live.

B Corp slow fashion

Brands like Thought and Lucy and Yak use zero-plastic packaging, and Bogdar use acid-free paper in their eco-packaging. Lucy and Yak prioritise inclusivity in their clothing, through a wide range of sizes available and androgenous designs.  

The brands leading the way prove there are so many different ways the movement can give back to the planet more than it takes. 

Slow fashion

Slow Fashion: The Future of Fashion

Slow fashion is here to stay. In recent months, with the help of a global health crisis which saw consumers reevaluate their behaviour, shopping habits have changed. Interested to know which slow fashion brands are combatting the environmental impact of the fashion industry? Take a look at our pick of the Top 10 Sustainable Fashion Brands You Need To Know About in 2021 for more information. 

While fashion is going nowhere, the way we shop and how frequently we switch up our wardrobes has certainly shifted. Slow fashion, like the clothes that come from it, is made to last.