Every fashion forward woman desires to wear trendy clothes, however, when we purchase “on-trend” clothes sold by retailers in low prices, most of us have a tendency to buy more than what we need. While we don’t see anything wrong in doing so (especially because we’ve paid for it) our overconsumption has a costly price tag. Our habit of buying the latest clothing trends impacts the workers and environment in ways most consumers are not aware of.
“Fast fashion” clothes are produced in a matter of few weeks. Brands choose the lowest bidder and award the project to them. The bidder then hires laborers to make on-trend clothes in a short span of time. However, since they are only contractual workers, they are paid a minimum amount and they do not experience any kind of employment benefits. Consider what happened to a garment factory in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. It collapsed on April 24, 2013 and caused the death of 1,129 workers. The terrible incident revealed how most fast fashion clothes, even those which are high-end, were mass produced in shops like the one in Bangladesh.
On the other hand, because of the growing demands of consumers, the ecosystem is put in jeopardy. The constant demand for new clothes contribute to the depletion of natural resources like fresh water reservoirs (used for cotton crop irrigation) and fossil fuels (used in garment production). This then leads to unregulated pollution and climate change which harshly impact our society.
I became aware of all this when my mother was diagnosed with late-stage cancer February of this year. Our finances were greatly affected. I had to make changes in how I spend money since then, every single cent counts. I soon learned what frugal living is all about including why slow fashion is the wisest choice for anyone who wants to be responsible in the decisions they make, including clothing.
Slow fashion is a movement that focuses on ethical consumerism. Simply put, it is about knowing who made the clothes you’re buying and whether or not the manufacturer is responsible and accountable in all the steps involved in the clothes-making process. Slow fashion clothes may be small on trend but big in quality. They are made with high quality raw materials and are from reputable sources. As someone who wants to continue wearing quality clothes despite the changes in finances, I thought slow fashion is definitely worth my hard-earned money. I realized that only clothes made by manufacturers who have made a commitment to be socially and environmentally ethical are worth choosing over those trendy clothes that I may look good in but I won’t feel good and proud wearing since I don’t know who the manufacturer is.
Some may be reluctant to change their clothes consumption habits despite knowing the impact of the decision they make. But as for me, I believe slow fashion is a wise choice for it not only makes me feel good and proud about what I am wearing it also allows me, in my own little way, to help the society and environment by being socially and environmentally smart.
With the help of slow fashion it is possible to be a fashion forward person, radiate effortless style, and gently tread on earth all at the same time.
Charmaine is a walking ISFJ born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She writes and blogs about personal development and all things motivating and inspiring.
All images are credited to Everlane, an ethical fashion brand (Everlane.com)