Slow Fashion vs. Fast Fashion: Does It Really Matter If You Buy Cheap Clothes?
Not gonna lie, it feels good to walk into Target and realize that you have access to a whole world of compliment-worthy clothing that won’t burn a major hole in your pocket.
At such reasonable prices, it’s hard NOT to walk away with three new items when you really showed up with the intention of just getting one.
But as much as we wish it weren’t true, clothes were not this cheap or easily accessible until recent history. Have you ever considered that someone else might be paying a steep price for your cheap clothes?
Today, we’re talking about slow fashion vs. fast fashion...we’ll give our two cents on why the fast fashion industry has some explaining to do. Plus some tips on how to get started on adapting your style to better accommodate slow fashion principles.
The initial change to slow fashion can be tough, but you won’t regret it! Once you go slow, you’ll never speed up again! 😉
What is slow fashion?
There are many important aspects of slow fashion but here are some of the key ideas:
- Use materials that have little to no impact on the earth.
- Aim for as little waste as possible during production.
- Pay workers fairly.
From the consumer’s side, slow fashion is all about being considerate of your consumption and impact on the earth. Paying higher prices for quality products will ultimately serve you in the long run. When you embrace slow fashion, you’ll be liberated from the stress of trying to keep up with trends AND your clothes will last much longer.
In the old days, slow fashion used to be the norm!
Before the industrial revolution, people weren’t trying to fill their closets with as many trendy outfits as possible.
It was normal (and usually expected) to learn how to make your own clothes. Sewing an outfit at home is a time-consuming process so people were less focused on keeping up trends and more focused on making their hard work last as long as possible! The outcome? Well, unlike the majority of our clothes today, the quality of our grandparent’s clothing was (*chef’s kiss*) great.
We didn’t see a shift away from slow fashion until after World War II.
In the 60s, people were benefitting from the prosperity of a post-WWII economy. This was when culture started moving away from the idea of post-war rationing. As a result, the way a lot of people interacted with fashion began to change. Less people needed to — or even wanted to — make their own clothes. A rise in commercial fashion meant that consumers had access to clothing that was previously reserved for the wealthy. And with the normalization of television, consumers started to look for trends in their favorite programs.
Even though mass production was picking up speed in the 60s, clothes were still fairly pricey. A pair of women’s stretch pants would sell for around $7.00 which would be the equivalent of $62.00 today.
Not sure about you, but we’ve seen our fair share of stretch pants at Forever 21 for less than $20.00.
There are a lot of problems with fast fashion. For starters, consider the waste it produces
The fast fashion industry has a lot to answer for. It's at the heart of our throwaway culture, and it has degrading effects on our environment.
Fast fashion garments are not sustainable because they're made with low-quality materials that can't be recycled. Instead, they have to go into a landfill. The production process of these pieces is also extremely wasteful and creates tons of pollution in the air, water, and land.
In an effort to stay competitive, fast fashion brands churn out new collections every season at breakneck speed. Which may satisfy their consumers’ desire to stay on top of trends but think about the overwhelming amount of waste created by this turn-and-burn mentality!
We think you deserve to have clothes that will last through more than one season. And quality clothes look better on your body than cheap ones do anyway; they're worth investing in for long-term style satisfaction!
Slow fashion cares more about people
When comparing slow fashion vs. fast fashion, there’s a huge difference in the way garment workers are treated. Baked into the slow fashion movement is a desire to see that workers are paid fairly!
In fast fashion, garment workers are often subjected to ever-deteriorating working conditions. The majority of these people are not being paid a living wage and their work is often unsafe. It’s not uncommon for this to lead to chronic health issues and an inability to provide for themselves or their families. Learn more about working conditions for garment workers around the world here.
Myth: Sweatshops only exist overseas
According to the Garment Worker Center, an anti-sweatshop organization in California, 85% of garment workers in the city of Los Angeles do not make minimum wage. Instead, they are paid by the piece which can be as little as TWO CENTS.
Two cents per piece!!
Imagine trying to survive in L.A. when you can only take home $300.00 every week.
So yeah, that cute $6 tank top is always going to be tempting...but please consider the real cost of your purchase before adding another item to your wardrobe.
Slow fashion gives you the chance to make a purchase that you can feel good about
When you spend good money on materials that last, you’re less likely to pitch your clothing into the donation bin after just a few wears. Knowing that you’re supporting fair and sustainable business practices tends to increase the sentimental value of your new clothes.
It’s like getting a staple piece from your grandmother’s closet; it’s timeless, durable and probably has a story behind it. When you feel good about where your clothes come from, you’ll feel good while wearing them. Plus, you can pass down your favorite pieces to someone special in the future when your clothes are designed to last long enough for that!
Since slow fashion brands use material that is highly durable in comparison to their fast fashion counterparts, you’re really buying heirloom-quality clothing that can last a long time when cared for properly.
Put simply, the satisfaction of wearing slow fashion garments lasts longer because 1) your piece won’t go out of style quickly and 2) you’re more in touch with the people who made it.
Where should you begin? Say goodbye to hyper-trendiness and hello to timeless slow fashion styles
We’ve all made the mistake of buying a new piece of clothing that was too trendy to last long in our closets.
We know that changing your style habits can be SUCH a difficult transition. But trust us, choosing slow fashion vs. fast fashion is 100% WORTH IT. Here are some simple steps you can take to make the change:
- Start with some basics. Find a couple neutral slow fashion pieces that you can dress up or down for ultimate versatility. Think: tanks, simple tops, a cardigan or a pair of pants.
- Plan ahead for special events. If you know you have a wedding coming up, don’t delay your search for that perfect outfit! We are way more tempted to buy from fast fashion brands when we simply don’t have time to find anything else.
- Wear what you already own. There’s a popular saying in the world of slow fashion: “The most sustainable pieces are the clothes you already own.” Less production = less waste. If you don’t aid the demand, there will be less supply.
- Repurpose the pieces you’re tired of. Maybe you can turn an old dress into a skirt? How about adding pockets to an old top? There are plenty of DIY upcycling tutorials online that are fun and easy to learn from. Plus you’ll get the added benefit of more appreciation for garment workers. When you experience first-hand the effort required to make your own clothes, it’s hard not to be amazed by their skills!
Repurposing is a key player in the slow fashion movement
Since slow fashion clothing is made of material that is highly durable (but still comfy 😊), it makes for excellent repurposing projects. Depending on the age of the garment, it can be pretty difficult to upcycle cheap clothing - nobody wants to wear fabric that looks tired or flimsy.
But when you buy things that are made out of sustainable materials like linen, you can easily breathe new life into them.
Take our bedding set bags, for example. When we ship a new set of sheets or duvet cover to our customers, they come nicely bundled inside a linen drawstring bag. Now, you could use the bag as-is (it would be a great option for storing intimates or using during travel as a small laundry bag), or you could get to work on a little project! Maybe add a pocket to an apron or, with the help of some batting, make a quilted clutch purse!
Since linen doesn’t stretch much, it’s fairly easy to sew with. That’s one of the reasons it’s our favorite sustainable materials to work with!
Are you ready to buy a slow fashion garment? Look no further than Beflax Linen
We are excited and proud to offer made-to-order linen clothing. It doesn’t get any “slower” than this...in a good way, of course!
We love wearing linen because it’s a highly durable material that is hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly. You can order your piece in any size or color to make it just the way you want it!
Whether you need something formal or casual, we’ve got what you need. Our talented sewists will create your new favorite outfit with care and precision so that every detail is perfect.
You can order your custom piece today by calling (720) 334-8898.
Slow is the way to go!
No matter where you decide to purchase your next slow fashion outfit, we wish you the best! Always remember to consider the true cost of your clothing. 💚