The last few years have seen a fascinating series of changes in how people approach their wardrobes, and one of the biggest transformations in that regard is the slow shift away from the previously-omnipresent world of fast fashion and towards a greater focus on quality.
People have gone from wanting huge, full and largely disposable wardrobes to instead wanting children’s boutique dresses, accessories that are made sustainably, with high-quality materials and with sufficient skill that they will last a long time.
This overall trend is known as ‘slow fashion’, but to understand where it came from and why it is so important, we need to understand its opposite number.
What Is Fast Fashion?
Over the past thirty years, one of the biggest trends in both adult and childrenswear was the rise of fast fashion, which both reacted to changing trends and then began to set new ones, with styles and trends changing at a much faster rate than the four seasons.
Fast fashion is where catwalk styles, trends and fashions are replicated exceptionally quickly and are then sold at affordable prices compared to the then-standard prices of design houses.
Whilst it was initially a way to sell trendy clothes at a cheaper price, it ended up changing and warping the fashion world around it.
Instead of buying high-quality clothes and only changing them to suit the season of if you outgrew them, you could instead buy an outfit for a low price, wear it a few times and then throw it away.
However, this would create a lot of problems as the culture of fashion shifted around these fast-paced fashion retailers.
It created new, infuriating rules for fashion-conscious kids and adults alike such as the ridiculous idea that wearing an outfit twice was bad and increased the pressure to stay on-trend.
For designers, fast fashion was reviled, as some retailers (most infamously MLM fashion chain LuLaRoe) were accused of plagiarising and copying designs and patterns to feed this endless rush for new styles.
Unfortunately, these are the least damaging effects fast fashion has had, which include being one of the largest global polluters of clean water, increased waste and the tragic and dangerous exploitation of garment workers.
This came to a head in 2013 with the avoidable tragedy at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, where over 1100 clothesmakers lost their lives in one of the single worst industrial disasters in history.
This led to the rise of an alternative that had existed long before there was even a fashion industry.
The Rise Of Slow Fashion
Slow fashion is not necessarily based on any new ideas but instead the re-appreciation of old ones. Shopping locally at smaller, independent retailers that use high-quality sustainable materials and a high level of skill to create exceptionally high-quality clothes that can be worn for a long time.
It encourages doing what we can to make them last, from repairing small tears and blemishes to upcycling, swapping, selling or responsibly getting rid of clothes once we can no longer use them.