The following is a guest post from Erin DePew. Erin is a web developer and graphic designer who happens to love shoes almost as much as “hackathons.” She also enjoys musing on minimalism, client-side scripting, and the pursuit of the perfect pumps.
If you have an idea for a guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.
Slow fashion is a movement that has been steadily gaining traction over the past few years. As you have probably guessed, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. But if you consider fashion to be one of life’s small pleasures (guilty as charged), there’s no need to fear having to give up shopping entirely. Instead, slow fashion is about consuming less, thoughtfully and with purpose. So how can you join the slow fashion movement?
Part of the slow fashion movement is about educating consumers where their clothing has been and where it is going. For anyone interested in learning about the current state of the retail industry, I highly recommend “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion”.
So before you pull out the plastic, remember to do some research on those pair of heels that you fell in love with. At the very least, it’s important to know what it’s made out of, where and how they were manufactured, and any political affiliations the company might have. Not only does this curb impulsive purchases, but shouldn’t your money go towards supporting companies whose ethics mirror your own? Personally that means I try to buy only natural materials from local and sweatshop-free companies.
Quality over Quantity
Another big part of the slow fashion movement is putting a stop to the relentless fast fashion cycle. The concept of buying a top for less than the price of my morning coffee and then wearing it once or twice before it falls apart in the wash is absolute madness.
Instead, next time you shop for a piece of clothing, really examine it for quality (once you’ve done your research, of course). Look for a lining, figure out the fabric content, turn out the seams to look for tight and even stitches, check for French seams and blind hems, and test the zippers and buttons. Really put that piece of clothing through its paces and make it earn its place in your wardrobe.
If a piece of clothing is going to be in your closet for the next three to ten years, it can’t be a trendy piece that will date quickly. This means that it’s very important to develop your own personal style and ignore the trend du jour. A closet of quality, timeless pieces that are uniquely you and fit your lifestyle is the ultimate goal of slow fashion.
This is the “elephant in the room” when it comes to slow fashion. If you’re reading this, chances are that you consider fashion and shopping a hobby or at least pleasant recreation. While it’s very important to educate ourselves about our clothing and to be more thoughtful and strategic about our purchases, at the end of the day we all just need to buy less. How much clothing do you really need in order to look clean and presentable every day? Probably less than you think as Project 333 and The Uniform Project have shown us.
It’s not good enough to just continually purge our wardrobes without also curbing our purchasing habits as well. Buying less saves resources, money, time, space, and possibly also our sanity. And if that isn’t convincing enough, some of the most stylish women in the world swear by a small tightly edited wardrobe a.k.a. http://theproject333.com/the five piece French wardrobe. If it’s good enough for the French, it’s good enough for me. 🙂
The purpose of slow fashion is to encourage consumers to take a more focused and minimalist approach to their wardrobes. When we buy less clothing, we can be pickier about where and how our clothing is made, invest in beautiful quality pieces that will last for years, and create a curated wardrobe that reflects our personal style and is an absolute joy to wear.
Thanks so much for writing this excellent guest post, Erin! I’m sure your words really resonated with my readers. I know that what you wrote made a lot of sense to me and I’m grateful for the references you provided! I also read “Overdressed” and it shined a lot of light on what’s really going on with the fashion industry. That made me want to do better and I’m making progress on buying less, aiming for quality over quantity, and buying from more ethical companies. I still have a lot to learn, but your post helped to fill in some of the gaps. Thanks again!
Debbie thank you for having this guest post by Erin! This is a wonderful movement and shows more reasons why the “quality not quantity” idea is the way to go.
I had a look at Erin’s blog and enjoyed her other posts also.
Thank you so much Megan! I’m glad you liked it!
Excellent post Erin! Slow fashion is the way to go and better for the planet! It’s a shame that some of my favourite stores shifted to fast fashion. I don’t like buying clothes that are trendy or fall apart way too soon. So I’ve been looking to shop elsewhere. Also I’m starting to knit some of my own clothes, not only for better quality but also for better fit and reusing the yarn.
Bravo! I find knitting so soothing, even if all I can manage at the moment is scarves 🙂 Once the weather cools down I’ll definitely be pulling out my knitting needles as well!
Great post! You’re so right – for many of us who love fashion buying less is the elephant in the room, but like you say, a small selection of well chosen clothes is actually a lot more satisfying to wear. I’m working on this right now!
Welcome, Emma, and thanks for your comment. Congrats on working on cultivating a smaller and more manageable wardrobe. It takes some time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it! I’m still in the process but am already reaping rewards. Best of luck to you!