Saturday, August 6, 2016

Fast Fashion, Slow Fashion: Cutting Out Excess

Fast fashion, how exactly does it affect sustainability and the fashion industry? Fast fashion is the revolving door of trends. Companies are constantly coming up with “new and exciting” lines to keep up with the ever constant demand. Consumers take part in this cycle, they are on top of the latest output of the fashion industry. Every season, for example, has a new line than the last. Different color jackets each with their own cut for the fall or winter can be an example of the ever changing designs that go out onto the racks. As consumers, we are convinced we need to purchase a new set of clothes to keep up with the trends and the need to look our best, whether it is casual, out on the town, or for business.

Fast fashion directly affects the supply chain; with the constant demand for new materials at a quick rate for low prices, industries look to convenient and efficient methods. From the toxic chemicals used to treat clothes, the weak materials produced to be sewn together, the lack of decency for factory workers, and the disposal of unwanted, rarely used, clothes; fast fashion magnifies the waste of each of these elements. More toxic chemical treatment for the mass amounts of fabric, which affects the environment and its inhabitants including the water, animals, and people; lesser quality for more product, easily worn down garments that may not even be comfortable and more likely to be thrown out; lower wages and abysmal conditions to meet deadlines, workers in small quarters inhaling polluted air, overworked and likely their children helping them to not even be able to “make ends meet”. An overabundance of what is in the consumers’ closet gives way to millions of garments gone to the landfills. Overconsumption has increased significantly over the years, and the industry is doing all it can to keep up. There is however a new trend that has gained some interest.

Slow fashion. Opposite to the former, it focuses on clothes made with quality, not quantity. These lines are of course more expensive up front, however, they are also made to last. In other words the threading won’t come out within the first few months of having bought the item. Focusing on quality includes what materials are used, how they are cultivated, and fair treatment of workers. But what about the consumer side of it? Most of us are more willing to pay more for better quality than you might think. One of the best ways that slow fashion can help is by it acting as functional clothing. Designing and buying clothes that can be worn with more than one outfit and be kept over a longer period of time caters to slower consumption. Garments that can serve multiple styles provides the variety that many of us seek in our wardrobes, without having to go out to buy that extra item to achieve the look we are going for. With overall slower consumption waste would be dramatically reduced. Marketing towards this kind of fashion and design is what is needed of the companies. Knowing your style and how to efficiently make the most out it is what is needed of the consumers.
To learn more about understanding consumers and slow fashion go to:

Jung, S. and Jin, B. (2016), From quantity to quality: understanding slow fashion consumers for sustainability and consumer education. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40: 410–421. doi:10.1111/ijcs.12276

Collings, Kat. "18 Trends We're Totally Over-Are Any Hiding in Your Closet?"WhoWhatWear. N.p., 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 06 Aug. 2016.

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