Is your fashion too fast? In other words, are you buying large quantities of cheap, mass-produced clothes every season just because they’re ‘on trend’? The slow fashion movement is calling time on this and encouraging people to buy better quality clothes that have a more timeless appeal, less often.
The benefits are that our money doesn’t go towards companies who exploit their workers – and our clothes don’t end up in landfill when they’ve only been worn a few times. It’s good for the environment, for people – and it’s pretty darn stylish too. Are you ready to slow down? Here are five ways to start…
- Choose sustainable brands
Long gone are the days when ethical and sustainable brands were the preserve of joss-stick waving hippies. H&M’s Conscious collection is a good starting point, with high-fashion items made from sustainable materials. Monsoon has an ethical compliance team and ASOS now has an Eco Edit for its wide range of ethically conscious brands. For slow designers, investigate Edun, Stella McCartney and gorgeous New Zealand brand Kowtow.
- Create a capsule wardrobe
Not just for holidays, a capsule wardrobe enables you to wear more of your clothes more often – after all, a study M&S did last year in conjunction with Oxfam revealed that UK adults only wear 44% of the clothing they own regularly. Start with a clear out, then pick a number (for example 50) and stick to that amount of items, which are more or less all wearable with each other. With only clothes you love to choose from, you’ll create more outfit combinations than you ever thought possible. And when you do make a new purchase, choose made-to-last items: Buy Me Once has a great fashion section.
- Go vintage
There are so many reasons for buying vintage clothing and the fact that it’s a more sustainable way to look stylish is just one. Vintage clothes are also old for a reason – they have lasted, and will last longer on you too, because they’re good quality (and who doesn’t like well-made clothes, especially ones with a bit of backstory). As long as you don’t do head-to-toe vintage, which can be too ‘fancy dress’, you’ll look stylish – and be unlikely to bump into someone wearing the same outfit. We can’t get enough of Lovely’s Vintage Emporium, which recently sold 80s pop icon Toyah’s wardrobe for charity.
Anything that you can do to avoid your old clothes ending up in landfill is contributing towards slowing down your fashion: it means that fewer raw materials are required, less energy is used and less pollution is produced. Clothes that aren’t suitable to be given to charity can be recycled and made into new items. Your council might have clothing recycling banks, or collect clothes, and some charities collect clothing too, but check they are members of the Textile Recycling Association. Find out more at Recycle Now.
Clothes swapping, or ‘swishing’ parties have been around for a few years and are a great way to exchange clothes you don’t wear for ones you do with your friends and neighbours – saving money and the environment. But more excitingly, the same technology which is enabling people to share their homes on Airbnb has given rise to clothes-sharing platforms in a similar style. Rentez Vous allows you to hire designer looks for a fraction of the price – and list your own to make cash, while Share Our Style does the same with designer handbags.