Each year, more than 100 billion items of clothing are produced worldwide; in the United States alone, used textile waste amounts to more than 15 million tons.
But, fortunately, slow fashion brands are on the rise in response to the planet’s dire need for immediate action. Since these brands aim to help you shop smarter, wiser, and more thoughtfully, you’re good to go! So, with these slow fashion tips, we hope to make you a part of our sustainable journey, too; not just for you or us, but also for the planet and the people who make your clothing.
But, first, what exactly does this overtly-used term mean? And why is it the need of the hour?
What is slow fashion?
Slow fashion refers to slowing down the process of fashion production, in contrast to fast fashion. Slow fashion brands strive for transparency at all levels, including the entire production and distribution chain. This can help you make a sane, ethical decision that will help the planet and its people in the long run. However, along with lowering the carbon footprint, child labor, and unethical industrial practices, sustainable fashion demands more! It all starts with people like you and me, who wish to get started on this sustainable journey with these slow fashion tips.
1. Shop consciously by ditching impulse buying
We understand how difficult it is to resist the new trends and latest styles you see on the mannequins at your favorite retail stores. But one of the best slow fashion tips that can benefit both you and the environment is to stop buying fast fashion brands entirely. All you need to do is track your shopping habits and observe them. Continue reading to learn how a minimalist lifestyle and a capsule wardrobe can solve many of the fashion industry’s problems and save you big bucks!
2. Choose only slow fashion brands & sustainable designers
We know you’ve probably heard it enough to opt for sustainable fashion. However, choosing only slow fashion brands that are ethical and sustainable, who produce only a certain number of collections annually, and then using sustainable fabrics is actually where you can start. So, every time you say no to a fast fashion brand, you are helping the planet thrive a little longer.
Also, fortunately, there are now a number of sustainable designers who are completely transforming the fashion game!
3. Bid goodbye to fast fashion brands
Of course, you knew this was coming. Many fast fashion brands like Topshop and H&M have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Quit them entirely, or stop browsing their websites to help you on your sustainable journey. The less you are surrounded by new clothes and their tempting sales, the less you’ll want them. Additionally, you always have the option to unsubscribe from their emails or newsletters and unfollow them on Instagram.
4. Treat your clothes the way you would your food
Over the last 15 years, the number of Americans who identify as ‘vegan’ has increased by 3,245%. With an ever-increasing number of people opting for organic food, the planet is surely in for good. But, just as much as you hate wasting your food, it’s time you understand that clothes hold value too. Numerous workers put in countless hours for unethical fast-fashion brands for minimal wages. And in the end, the item is sold for a high price yet ultimately ends up in landfills.
5. Read the labels and check for certifications
Finding sustainable brands can be overwhelming. But carefully reading their labels and certifications can help you avoid a lot of guilt in the long run. You can always look for labels such as SANE, GOTS-certified, vegan, organic, and others. This is one of those slow fashion tips that will help you find the sources of these slow fashion brands and whether their workers receive decent wages.
6. Experiment with what you already have
Loving what you already have, be it in your life in general or your clothes in particular, is always good! The more you think about it, the more you’ll realize slow fashion brands actually offer more creativity than fast fashion designers. This is only because fast fashion serves as a short-lived look, whereas slow fashion keeps you guilt-free and helps you interchange those cute pieces you already own.
Slow fashion simply means embracing the clothes you already have rather than throwing them away in landfills. So, just pair your favorite blouse with that skirt you never imagined it would go with, or that denim with that shirt and those cute vegan sneakers.
7. Say no to real animal leather
A good fashion guide doesn’t involve anything bad for the planet. In fact, it means saying no to anything that has harmed, or will harm, another living thing on this planet. So, the next time you’re out shopping, say no to anything made from real animal leather. From accessories and belts, to shoes and clothes, today, thankfully, animal leather alternatives are taking over and helping to make the slow fashion industry better.
8. Know the exact source of your clothes
A good fashion guide means not only following some slow fashion tips but also knowing the sources of your clothes. The place of manufacture and the worker’s conditions are absolute necessities to be aware of. Were they made in a low-wage country, or were the people who made them paid well enough? You can often find this information on their own website or on the labels.
9. Make a slow fashion capsule wardrobe
This ought to be one of the simplest slow fashion tips ever! Statistics show that we spend a startling 80% of the time wearing just 20% of our wardrobe. While curating a capsule wardrobe filled with quality staples like a white shirt, shorts or skirts, or that full-sleeved blouse can help make your own fashion statement.
10. Give secondhand a chance
If you want to begin with one of the simplest slow fashion tips, thrift stores can be a great choice. Fortunately, there are a ton of apps and sites that allow you to buy, sell, and trade clothes. You can easily get your hands on secondhand, vintage, retro, as well as designer items that deserve a new owner and a second life.
11. Don’t follow trends; opt for timeless pieces
If you follow fast fashion trends, you’ll simply end up buying more and more stuff and never being satisfied. So, spend your money on timeless or unisex clothing that you can effortlessly swap with your friends. Even better, these clothing items will continue to be your go-to’s even after the Instagram craze has passed. This can also save you tons of money in the long-run, and prevent landfills from filling up.
12. Only choose sustainable fabrics
Instead of regular cotton, choose organic cotton since it is produced without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Additionally, clothing created from sustainable fabrics has a smaller carbon footprint and uses lesser water and other resources from the planet. Some of the best sustainable fabrics you can choose from are modal, hemp, Tencel, and linen.
However, a brand is much more than the sustainable fabrics it advertises. When chemicals or other toxic materials are used in the manufacturing process, or when ethical production practices are not followed, it is no longer sustainable. Some of the fabrics to avoid are polyester, rayon, lycra, nylon, and acrylic.
13. Save big by saying no to, “Will I wear it again?“
Along with helping the planet by choosing sustainable fashion, you can largely save yourself some good bucks if you ask yourself, “Will I wear it again?” It’s time for you to reconsider this purchase if the answer is no, or even a maybe. However, it is the ‘throw-away culture’ that needs to be held accountable. It has considerably given rise to the discarding of clothing items even before they’re destined to reach their end. It is anticipated that by 2030, the world will be dumping more than 134 million tons of textiles annually.
14. Swap your clothes with friends or donate them
You may always give your clothes new life and purpose by donating them to friends or family. But fortunately, today, a number of platforms are available to help you with renting or borrowing clothes for special occasions. And how can we forget about clothing swap parties? They function as the best marketplaces to find your clothes (and your new love interest!)
One of the other most doable tips is donating clothes. The clothes you know you won’t ever wear or fit in do not deserve that space in your closet. But, instead of throwing them away, learn about clothes donation online or in your locality to give them to the underprivileged or those in need.
15. Support small businesses to save the planet and some $$
We know that the urge to shop could be high when you’re just about to leave for your trip and are in dire need of clothes that match the ‘vibe.’ These items later have a good risk of being abandoned in your closet and potentially ending up in landfills. So, instead, you can help the environment by supporting small businesses that are ethical or sustainable. Chances are you may find items for cheap, made with premium quality.
16. Ask yourself, “Would I wear this at least 30 times?”
Consider whether you will still wear the clothing piece in 5 years. If your answer is no, it’s time to put the item back where it belongs — on the shelf. Trends are just temporary, but sustainable fashion brands? NO. When you think about it, slow fashion tips can actually help you create a more sustainable wardrobe with products you can wear every day.
17. Once bought, take good care of your clothes
Not only is it important to opt for sustainable brands, but also, once you’ve bought them, take good care of them. The better you care for your clothes, the longer they will last. Most of the slow fashion tips mean caring for them, so you don’t need to wash them too often. Linen is one of those sustainable fabrics that, if ironed, can get crinkly. Also, try avoiding the dryer and opt for natural air drying. And the best thing you can do is skip the fabric softeners entirely and switch to natural detergents.
18. Avoid getting greenwashed
There are way too many fashion brands entering the market almost every day. The key is to find the ones that don’t deceive you, be it with their fabrics, sources, certifications, marketing techniques, employee wages, or more. Take your own sweet time to do some research by paying attention to the fine print on these clothing items. Deep dive to understand if it is a real marketing campaign or if you’re just being greenwashed.
Slow fashion is a journey, and it is the destination that everybody, at some point, should consider reaching. Well, you should say no to clothing-related gifts as you wouldn’t know if they’re actually from sustainable brands; even worse, they may only add to your wardrobe. So, once you’ve made the switch from fast fashion to slow fashion, get ready for a guilt-free sustainable journey.
We hope this list has provided you with enough information to get you started on #slowfashion. Stay tuned to learn more about sustainability, clothing brands, and vegan footwear from us on a regular basis.