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Why Slow Fashion is a Better Deal

Posted in Fashion by Jon Taylor. Last updated

Why Slow Fashion is a Better Deal

The ethical fashion movement is growing; customer knowledge surrounding sustainable practice is increasing and greater emphasis is being placed on enhanced quality and real-product value. As the movement continues to gain momentum, the unsustainable principles which have come to dominate modern textile production, making the fashion industry the second most polluting industry in the world today, will start to shift, at least that is what the evidence suggests.

We all know that it makes sense to go slow and the movement is growing, so what's the problem?

The problem is that the ethical fashion movement is marred by a complex issue of perceived in-affordability. For many, the mark of sustainability is without question linked to the notion that, you are going to have to dig deep and you are most certainly going to have to fork out more cash than you are used to. But is there really an affordability barrier when it comes to being a conscious consumer? I think maybe it is time to address this issue head-on, let's get down to the nitty gritty and look at how accessible slow fashion actually is.

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Cheap Sustainable Clothing? Yes, Please!

So you are on the high-street doing a spot of shopping, then you pass by a quaint boutique which has a beautifully crafted 100% organic cotton, sustainably sourced, ethically produced, all wonderful, birds singing, summer-swinging dress. But then you notice the price tag and you think "Nah, I can get better elsewhere" and the probability is that you most likely will find a similar design for cheaper elsewhere. But, that other dress, the cheaper one, won't offer you the same durability, comfort, and long-term satisfaction.

You see, here is the thing:

Over the last twenty-five years or so, the fast fashion industry has relentlessly targeted customers by promising the possibility of endless self-reinvention. All for a price that encourages rapid return custom as we search for that elusive new look. Herein lies the power of the fast fashion industry; it has an ability to fool the consumer into thinking that their affordable purchases will provide a shortcut to deep contentment, but the reality is that you become trapped in a web of shopping discontentment.

Slow Fashion Designer working on ethically-designed garment.

The misconception of slow fashion's perceived in-affordability lies solely on the ability of the fast fashion sectors propensity to provide garments at a societally accepted norm. A norm which relies on unjust labor practices, unsustainable production ethics, and mammoth wastage. Sadly, it is a norm, which by and large we have all bought into, and could not exist without such a demand.

We carry the story of the people who make our clothes around with us

Ali Hewson. Co-founder of ethical clothing company EDUN

The practice of relentless consumption is built into the very fabric of fast fashion garments. Consumers have become conditioned to the practice of spending €30-€50 on a dress which is likely to lose color, stretch or even break within the space of a season. By spending a little more on a piece, you can find a handmade garment made from quality materials that honor the principles of sustainability, and in some cases even offer an extended designer warranty.

So yes, the short answer is; if you want to live life in quality clothes and develop a reliable well-structured wardrobe full of timeless pieces that provide longevity and breathability, you may have to pay a little more than what you have become accustomed to, but the good news is, the price difference comes down to a matter of perceived value versus actual value which will save you money in the long-run; you won't break the bank and you won't be left morally bankrupt chasing relentless micro-trends built off the backs of others.

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Ethical Fashion is the Future of Fashion

Over the last few years, there has been an explosion in possibility when it comes to conscious fashion. The post-recession emergence of the pop-up-store, which was once a quick fix for empty storefronts on abandoned high streets, has flowered into a glorious movement of its own. The idea of greater consumer knowledge has become more prominent and with it, there is an undeniable move towards a truer independent style. Today fashionistas embrace timeless styles from previous fashion movements whilst placing emphasis on the principles of sustainability and conscious consumerism.

Diverse is the new uniform

Orsola de Castro - Co-creator of Fashion Revolution Not-for-Profit global movement

Millennials receive a lot of flak for their sustainable preferences and their willingness to engage with previous fashion trends, but let's remember that all movements encounter a period of early adoption before gaining wider appreciation. Whether a temporal trend or not the current generation of more conscious consumers cannot be ignored and are having a positive impact.

Movements like #whomademyclothes and Fashion Revolution Week have created growing international awareness that aims to highlight the unjust practices carried out by the behemoths of the fashion industry, whose enormous profit margins are created largely by those working in unethical and fraught conditions within the supply chain. Increasingly, transparency and traceability are important factors for today's shopper who prefers quality products as opposed to the templed, commoditized fashion popularized by fast fashion.

People Holding Signs "Who Made My Clothes": Movement supporting the ethical fashion production methods

In David Jones' book, "Who cares wins; Why good business is better business" (2011 FT Press) he addresses this very issue. He asks how the social media generation have influenced the future of business activity, coining the term "prosumers" for today's generation of consciously minded consumers.

Jones says;

Today, consumers, employees and now shareholders expect business to be more socially responsible. They are frustrated with how things are. They want change... Social media is creating what I believe will be a bigger transformation for business than the arrival of television.

David Jones - Author or "Who cares wins; Why good business is better business"

This generational awareness has spawned a development in choice when it comes to ethical fashion. Big business can no longer ignore the needs of an increasingly well-informed client base, the myth of fast fashion will not last because consumers are blossoming into prosumers.

As sustainable fashion becomes common practice, consumer knowledge around value and affordability will change. There is a vast range of choices currently available and once you have decided to invest in sustainability then the next step is to seek out the style you want.

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Slow Fashion; The Affordable Clothing Choices are Plentiful

Slow fashion was once a narrower market. Where in the past your choices may have been limited to ethically sourced garments found in specialized "bohemian" stores, today you can find an incredible range of styles that make use of more sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo.

There is a growing community of fashion designers that embrace "slow" ethics waiting to be found, both on the internet and through local retail space. When you support these businesses you are not only adding quality clothing to your wardrobe but you are also having a positive impact which helps to create constructive change within the industry.

There are a host of well-known sustainable fashion companies out there, but our aim here at NEW DRESS CODE is to connect you with independent talent. Think of us as an accessible space linking eco-conscious customers with the best in the sustainable fashion.

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