Fast Fashion to Slow Fashion

  • Jessica Turner
  • 8th November 2017

Fashion is the most talked about industry when it comes to pollution and how the fast movement is contributing to the constant sustainability challenge. It is extremely important to understand the lifecycle of a product and how it can become progressively sustainable.

Today’s mainstream fashion industry depends on the mass production of garments. Each item is constructed from the design stage to retail in a matter of a few weeks. Thus, swaying customers to indulge in the overconsumption of clothing, shoes, bags and much more to become trendy. Millions of people across the world are guilty of this addiction causing ethical, social and environmental issues around our planet. We choose to ignore the evidence that tells us we are destroying the environment that we depend on to live.

Only a small percentage of people aim to use sustainability ethics in their practice. Low quality, non-lasting fashion is not the way to go for a sustainable future. High quality and longer lasting products is what BIDBI aim to provide to help in stopping overconsumption.

There are a number of ways that the fashion industry is contributing to today’s sustainability issues. Firstly, fast fashion consumes a constant flow of natural resources. Fossil fuels are being depleted from the production and transportation process that happens to each product. Man-made pesticides and synthetic fibres are on the rise, in and from textiles making them increasingly seen in nature. Water supplies are reduced in poverty stricken countries as a result of the cleaning process of a product from farming to construction. This is not viable in an ever-growing world where we need resources to last to sustain ourselves.

There are 3 main things designers can do to combat these issues. We can make it unique, make it right and make it last.

Making it unique

Diversity in design is encouraged by many people. Independent designers, larger fashion houses, vintage shops, charity shops and local clubs that commune to upcycle pave the way for new fashion breaking away from expectation. Co-creation and collaboration create a stronger movement for making fashion different. Putting meaning and relationships into the bond of making clothing means they are less likely to be thrown away due to sentimental value. Having customers interact with the making process will stimulate creativity and spark a need to keep being creative with worn items. Keeping products in circulation longer.

Make it right

Currently there is an interest from fashion brands and companies about making products to high ethical standards. This is most likely because their customers have an increased curiosity for information about where, how and who has produced their purchase. As a result of this businesses are beginning to source locally made resources to encourage ethically made standards. Local production means that businesses can see first-hand how their product is made and who is making it. Higher priced products are usually a sign of fair wages to workers, better working facilities and usage of sustainable resources or methods.

Making it Last

Quality over quantity. Maintaining quality in products is harder to achieve with the fast fashion movement. And if quality is achievable it isn’t always ethically made. At an event for Milan fashion week Hilke Patzwall from Vaudes said,

"One of our key problems is too much consumption. It's important to inform consumers about all the consequences of fast fashion but it is even more important that the industry takes on their responsibility. As a brand, we need to make products with a physical and emotional durability.”

There are lots of things both designers and customers can do to make a product last. As written previously we can make fashion unique by re embellishing and fixing the product when worn or broken. Designers at Nudie Jeans offer a free repairs service to encourage a longer fashion lifecycle using this method.

Brands

A lot of brands such as M&S, H&M and Nike all strive to create a sustainable fashion future by creating sustainable initiatives. M&S created a shwopping scheme in collaboration with Oxfam to promote resell able, reusable and recyclable fashion to keep fashion out of landfill. Since 2013 H&M have been using this same garment collecting scheme to drop off your old garments at H&M stores no matter the brand or condition. They later launched a collection of clothing made from these recyclables. Finally, Nike as a brand aim to target innovation in manufacturing. They are using initiatives to reduce water consumption, the production of waste, water and chemicals in the hopes of reducing the environmental impact. Many more brands such as these use innovations in fashion. They each focus their efforts in different sectors of a products life cycle but the thinking is the same.

BIDBI is passionate about sustainability and this is why we promote our eco cotton tote bags. We produce durable, fashionable bags that can be reused time and time again to keep the usage of the plastic bag to a minimum. We make each bag ethically and follow an ethos to ensure sustainability is our top priority.