Slow fashion is a move away from the typical seasonal fashion cycle, into a garment cycle that is more sustainable. Slow fashion is gaining momentum in all spheres of the fashion industry, and big time designers like your Raf Simmons have become the latest advocates of this movement, by leaving the fashion house Dior. The current fashion model of globalized mass production, and seasonal items that are produced in a few weeks, only to have a new range popping up in the stores in a matter of a few months, is fast becoming unsustainable. Designers produce ranges for all four seasons and the additional resort collection in between. There is barely time to breath between ranges and this has led to a lack of creativity and the fashion market is flooded with goods that should be worn once and then discarded to make room for the next new thing.
Slow fashion is more than just a movement its a lifestyle. Its not necessarily the opposite of Fast Fashion. It has become very exhausting for some to follow each seasonal trend, and its also pretty costly. Slow fashion promotes personal expression in clothing and how individuals choose to interpret their own style. Clothing has always been an extension of our personalities, and effortless individual style can be a work of art. Fast fashion is just a duplication of an original idea that is mass produced into a million units. Slow fashion encourages us to tap into our creativity, do things our way and value the beauty of clothing as artistic expression.
The slow fashion movement also puts a spotlight on the origins of our garments, it is important to know how our clothing are made and what impact they have in the those communities. Being conscious of the life-cycle of our garments helps us understand the connections we have to the people that have a hand in the final product before it gets to us. This also encourages cautious consumption, understanding the value add of your purchase instead of purchasing more than we need, as encouraged by retailers.
In the world where quantity has replaced quality, knowing that your garments are meticulously made, and quality is at the forefront of the manufacturing process, you are will realize that these garments are worth holding onto, and you are guaranteed they will last a few years.
Its easier for African Fashion designers and clothing manufactures to move into slow fashion, because fortunately we never really became a mass producing hub in the first place, so we have a great advantage of a head start. Africa’s women entrepreneurs have been producing beautiful, sustainable, ethical and environmentally more aware products for decades, long before the whole ‘Slow’ movement term was coined by first world countries struggling with their own ethical purchasing and lifestyle decisions and their possible negative impact.
Lets slow down and be creative, make better choices and contribute to the sustainability of our planet earth. A little goes along way, and it can start with your wardrobe. I also love the idea of repeating all the gems in your wardrobe without succumbing to the pressures of industry trends.