“Fast” and “Slow” fashion: A brief understanding of each trend and how they impact our world

Nowadays, the mainstream fashion industry counts on mass production in which fashion clothes are designed and created in a matter of weeks. The latest fashion trends are sold by retailers at low prices, which causes the public to buy more than they need. Furthermore, this industry comes at a hidden cost, which includes our environment and labor workers. These are human lives we are talking about, and this is the world that we will leave for the future generations to come. Mainstream fashion is also called “Fast Fashion”, and disturbs our world in numerous ways, which include: the deterioration of fossil fuels and fresh water reservoirs being eliminated for cotton crop farming, entering pesticides into our nature, and putting our ecosystems in risk of destruction. In summary, “Fast Fashion” is correlated with negative effects on our ecological and social environment. I’m sure you’ve heard of the quote that say’s “Today’s Treasures, Tomorrow’s Trash”, as it perfectly fits the end consumer of the fast fashion industry. Disposability plays a key role here, laterally with speed and style. Edith, a thirty-five-year-old HONG KONG consultant, said: These companies [referring to H&M] use designers like Stella McCartney to create limited, one-time collections, which get usually sold out the next day. An effective strategy indeed, which also means that consumers are buying more clothes more frequently due to affordable prices. However, that also means that they’re unfortunately disposable. You may keep an item after ten washes, but the item’s shine will surely fade away literally or will no longer be popular the next day in the fashion world.

The business model of Fast Fashion entails that large retailers reduce large volume of seasonal fashion production and avoid inventory that can’t be sold, also called “unsalable inventory” (Silver-Stein and Fisk, 2008). The business model is based on a “quick response” design, to produce, and distribute on demand. The products then end up being in the market as being “fashionable and affordable” (Caro And Albeinz,2014), which increases demand and turnover of the merchandise. There are four factors in this model that result in profitability in this industry: logistics, technology, flexible value chain, and emerging markets. The more the traditional companies are being aware of increased revenues due to the fast fashion Model, the more they are prone to adopt fast fashion elements and integrate them into their own industry.

I’m sure many of you are wondering what slow Fashion is and how it differs from fast Fashion. Slow fashion embodies everything that is “ethical” or “eco” in one integrated movement. Let’s call it a fashion revolution since it demands that the production of garments is done in an eco-friendly way, gives proper value to the product, and be more environment conscience. The beauty of slow Fashion is that the producers are all interconnected, therefore, they all support each other in the social and environmental system. By switching to slow Fashion, we allow our earth to better rejuvenate and allow its heart to beat peacefully and in a healthy rhythm. Earth has hosted and nurtured us, the least we could do in return is to not damage it for our own greed and desires. Earth aside for now, what about us? What about those poor children being forced into minimum wage labor so they could have the privilege of living? Slow Fashion takes part of campaigns to ensure that workers are treated fairly and ethically. Brands that partook in such campaigns include “Dulce Salerno”, “People Tree”, “Everlane”, “Nisolo”, and many more. Ethical brands tell you the exact process of the cycle of how you can make a difference when you purchase an item. There is a story behind every garment and you are free to take part in the design process if needed. “It’s about the consumer becoming aware of the whole process–from design through production through use and through the potential to reuse,” Hazel Clark, research chair of fashion at Parsons said. The business model of slow fashion differs substantially from the fast fashion model, and emerged in reaction to it. The model’s values are hardly seen in large economy of scale companies, it “saves firms that promote localism and equity, and maximizes the product’s lifespan and environmental sustainability” (Jung and Byoungho, 2014). Recently, many slow fashion companies are using online platforms to do business, which facilitated the process for consumers and making the concept more popular. According to Nielson, a large research firm, sustainable fashion consumers are growing globally in enormous numbers,

You know what is even better? ALL profits go to charity! And yes, you read that correctly, 100%. The whole idea is that you are buying an item for yourself and in return giving back to the world. Sounds too good to be true, right? The price of items in slow Fashion is often higher, that is because they are using delicate materials such as organic cotton or bamboo which cost more to make, and labor wages are at an ethical level. However, there is more to Slow Fashion than the materials, “slow fashion encompasses sustainable fashion, but it takes a broader view than just supporting organic T-Shirts,” said Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. Furthermore, it is important to note that slow fashion does not only focus on the quality of the product, but rather on the consumer’s quality of life, concepts related to the “slow food movement” (Fletcher, 2014).

Let us be real with each other, till when should we continue with taking the “easy way out”? Join us in our cause and let us heal this world person to person, hand by hand. It all starts with you.

Posted by Dulce Salerno