In this article, I provide a list of the most important things you can implement to join the slow fashion lifestyle.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time researching these topics and building a wardrobe made of pieces that I love. You can start doing it as well today. All you need is the willingness to challenge the way you shop.
It all starts with making thoughtful decisions when shopping, which most of the time means that you will end up buying fewer things. By buying mindfully, you’re automatically going against the concept of fast fashion, which stands for excessive production and mindless consumption.
Even if you shop from a so-called fast-fashion brand, you’re already one step ahead by making mindful decisions.
Being more mindful means, you should carefully select each piece of your wardrobe and genuinely love them; your clothes should reflect your personality and values. Being conscious about your shopping is an exercise of honesty to yourself and living with intention.
The key here is to ask yourself, before making any purchase, if you will be able to love and care for that piece for a very long time or even for a lifetime.
If the answer is yes, by any means, go for it!
But building a closet that you love is easier said than done. It takes time, and it can be overwhelming at the beginning since you’re redefining the way you shop.
You may find you’re attached to certain brands you’re loyal to, even if their values don’t resonate with those of yours anymore. You may also miss the convenience of going to the mall and just selecting a cheap, extra pair of jeans.
So, there’s a learning curve and adapting period in this process, but it’s worth it! Be compassionate and patient with yourself.
Having clarity on your style is essential in creating the wardrobe you love since it will influence your buying decisions.
To find your style, think about what you want your looks to say about you. Think about the fabrics, the colors, the patterns, and the accessories that would best reflect you. This step is all about finding who you are, what you like, and what clothes make sense in your life.
Looking for high-quality, sustainable fabrics
The global fashion industry produces over 100 billion garments per year, made from materials of unclear origin.
The less we know about the clothes we buy, the less we make an emotional connection to them, and eventually, we will be more prone to get rid of them quickly.
It’s time to get familiar with the labels of your wardrobe staples. Deep research on the quality of the fabrics used to produce clothes and how sustainable they are is essential to understand better the effect their materials have on the environment, especially in our soil, water, and people.
The fibers’ properties are the visible ingredients, but there are also hidden ones, like the chemicals used to make that cloth, the treatments it underwent, and the dyes used to color it.
Check out my article about plant-based sustainable fabrics if you would like a guide on what materials to select.
Some fabrics will have a longer lifespan than others. The most optimal choice for you will be the one that will allow you to waste less, purchase fewer, and wear your items for longer. Doubling your clothes’ life from 1 to 2 years reduces their carbon footprint by around 24 percent!
A key piece in everyone’s wardrobe is jeans; hence, it’s a great place to start to make more conscious choices. You can read my article about jeans sustainability to get more familiar with denim technologies and what to look for.
Second-hand and vintage shopping
Shopping second-hand is one of the best options to go against fast fashion. It can help you save money, and at the same time, you can help reclaim and upcycle clothes that might otherwise end up in landfills.
It’s also a great idea for finding unique items that not everyone else out there is wearing.
If you enjoy online shopping, you can try out some of these thrifting apps for vintage and second-hand clothing.
Another good idea to prevent clothes to go to landfills is to look for recycled materials. Here I have a guide that can help you understand recycled fabrics in detail.
Repairing instead of replacing
Despite your best efforts to care for your clothes, wear and tear will happen, even to the highest quality materials, but that’s not bad! You can see it as the individual path of your clothes, memories of moments, and the scars of the everyday. Before considering replacing a piece of clothing, you should assess repairing it.
Repairing encourages slower and more conscious consumption patterns, fostering a culture of appreciation.
Mending your clothes by yourself can have few advantages, like being cost-effective and pushing you to learn a new valuable skill. Also, you get to customize and personalize your garments instead of wearing the same clothes as everyone else. That’s a great way to show your creativity and individuality to the world.
Lastly, you need to reflect that mending and repurposing your clothes doesn’t mean that you cannot afford new ones; it means that you cannot afford to throw something away. As Orsola de Castro says in her book Loved Clothes Last, “What has made economic sense for previous generations, will make environmental sense for generations to come.”
Researching the brands
Finally, as you start getting more familiar with environmentally conscious fashion brands, stay curious. Take the time to research them and make sure you’re investing in a genuinely caring brand.
You can check out their website for specific information about their design process, materials, etc. If the brand is willing to disclose and be transparent about how and where their clothes are made, you’re probably at the right place.
Considering emailing them if you like the brand, but they don’t have enough publicly available information.
Unfortunately, unlike other regulated industries like pharmaceuticals and food, fashion is not regulated, meaning that transparency and public disclosure of products’ traceability from raw to manufacturing are not mandatory. We have to ask for it ourselves. We have to vote with our wallets.
As you can see, slow fashion is all about intention. It’s about quality over quantity. This simple idea can bring as much good to the planet as to your own life. By following this philosophy, you can allow yourself to learn new and exciting skills, develop your style, and above all, live closer to your values.