Fashion production makes up 10% of human carbon emissions. Let that sink in, humans produce 34 billion tonnes of carbon emissions each year, of which this industry alone makes up 3.4 billion tonnes of it. I have recently been doing a deep dive into sustainability as opposed to my previous surface-level practices, from which I stumbled upon the term “slow fashion”.
Slow fashion in simple terms is the opposite of fast fashion. Think buying less, higher quality garments, as well as ensuring conducive work environments for labourers and fair wages. It encapsulates a multitude of things and is ever-growing in nature. The term was coined in 2007 by Kate Fletcher and possesses 3 main traits: taking a local approach, having a transparent production system, and making sustainable and sensorial products. At the forefront, slow fashion tackles all facets of the supply chain, from the environment to the workers and the animals. Slow fashion prides itself on producing trendless garments of high quality that result in longer lifespans for clothes and less consumption.
In these times of ever-increasing trend cycles and consumption due to the covid pandemic, I do feel it’s necessary for each of us to educate ourselves on this topic. Trends are said to be a big contributor to the opposition to fast fashion’s business plan, though that is not the case. It is actually “micro-trends” that result in brands like Shein’s being valued at $100 billion. Microtrends, trend cycles lasting 3-5 months pushed predominantly by fast fashion brands result in overconsumption and poor purchase practices. To reduce waste within the industry we must disengage from microtrends.
“No ethical consumption under capitalism”, a quote misused since its inception has become an excuse for individuals to justify their purchases. Now, this is by no means an attack but a friendly suggestion, I employ you as an individual to investigate how you can better contribute to your environment. It could be something as simple as taking up thrifting, upcycling garments, investing in your local designer, and saving your money to purchase better quality clothes that will last you longer. The next time you’re about to make a questionable purchase ask yourself these questions: “How often will I wear this?”, “Does this go with my wardrobe?”, “What can I style this with?”. With these simple actions, you drastically increase your awareness and responsibility.
Climate change is the greatest burden to humanity this century and if I can reduce my carbon footprint to reduce that by even the slimmest margins I will. I urge you to do the same.
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