How to take the fast out of fast fashion

Fast fashion: The pursuit of more

The fashion industry pushes the idea that more is better — more trends, more products, more shopping; but who benefits from this? Certainly not consumers who feel the pressure to constantly stay on trend, or the environment struggling to keep up with the growing landfills and increased plastic count in our Ocean.

So, how do we break free from this craze? We slow down. 

A mindful approach to fashion

What is “slow fashion”?

Slow fashion is a mindful look at clothing from environmental factors to health implications and ethical working conditions for those that make the clothing. It is bringing fashion in harmony with our world.

Five simple ways to transition from fast fashion to a slow fashion wardrobe

1. Check the labels

Credit: Clothing label by Lydia Dupree.

Opt for natural, plant-based fibers

When selecting new pieces of clothing, look for products made out of fibers such as cotton or linen .

Many times, brands will claim their items are natural, but in fact are mostly synthetic with only a small percentage of natural fibers.

The tag on the inside of the item is the place to go to confirm what the fabric is made of — think of it as the garment’s ingredient label. Choose pieces that are a majority natural — the closer to 100% the better!

Which fabrics should we be wearing? Here’s a list.

2. Support certified brands

In addition to fabric type, look for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OEKOTEX®, and bluesign® certifications to be sure that the all-natural clothing is truly organic and not processed with toxic chemicals and dyes. 

How to choose clothing created in ethical working environments:

Beyond fabric composition, there are certifications indicative of a sustainable brand. 

Fairtrade certified brands follow criteria that create ethical working environments for farmers and garment workers, support eco-friendly practices and prioritise fair pay.

B Corporations adhere to levels of transparency, ensure ethical employee treatment and charitable giving, and demonstrate positive environmental impacts. Look for these when shopping to support brands that support their workers and the environment. 

3. Build a capsule wardrobe

Clothing line with sustainable fashion and capsule wardrobe pieces
Credit: Photo by piotr szulawski on Unsplash

Building a sustainable wardrobe starts with investing in quality pieces for everyday wear based on your style, known as a capsule wardrobe.

Think of the 3–5 items that you wear most often and feel the best in. Then, invest in all-natural items that will complement the staples you already own.

The goal is to have a closet that can be paired countless ways without having to own a lot of clothing. 

4. Buy less, wear more

This brings us to the mantra, buy less, wear more. When you need to shop for something new, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will this pair well with what I already own?
  2. Will I wear this for more than just one occasion? 

Sometimes an outfit is specific to an event, such as a party, graduation, or a wedding. But, if more often than not you are making the most of your wardrobe, then you are participating in this more mindful approach to fashion.

Be a proud outfit repeater, Lizzie McGuire!

5. Re-love clothing

Woman in a second-hand clothing store looking at sustainable fashion pieces.
Credit: Photo by Cam Morin on Unsplash

When you feel that an item no longer fits in your wardrobe but is still in good shape, donating to a shelter is a great option.

Many brands offer buy-back programs where you can send back your pre-loved item from their brand, and they will recycle it properly for you.

Try thrifting or renting wardrobe items

Thrifting and renting clothing have become popular options, thrifting for its lower cost point and unique finds, and renting for when you need an outfit for a specific occasion.

Do your friends also have clothes they are bored with? Hold a clothes swap where you each bring a few pieces and trade off. 

There are endless ways to extend the lifetime of clothing and bring mindfulness into fashion – which all contribute to better caring for our Ocean and planet. Have fun with it!

Connect with Lydia via her website or Instagram page.

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