The last week of April was Fashion Revolution Week. As our way of participating, we want to educate our customers and explain some of the most common terms regarding sustainable fashion because we have noticed it is a relatively unknown concept to the average Slovenian consumer. Due to the climate crisis, the era of overconsumption should have long since ended. Yet, we are buying more clothes than ever but wearing each item far less. Did you know that in Slovenia, we throw away 12 kg of clothes per person yearly? Crazy!
Never mind, it's already May... It's never too late to learn, so here are five terms you should know.
1. Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution is a global movement that encourages transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry. It was founded after the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed over 1,100 people. The building collapsed in on itself – resulting from too many floors and people working in sweatshop conditions to make cheap clothes for consumers in the West. The accident exposed the hazardous working conditions and exploitation prevalent in the fast fashion industry.
2. Fast fashion
Fast fashion is a model of mass-producing cheap clothes quickly, using low-quality materials and cheap labour, and encouraging consumers to buy more and more, contributing to a culture of disposable clothing. It plays into the idea that you must wear the latest looks to stay "in fashion," making outfits repeat a fashion faux pas. It forms a crucial part of the toxic system of overproduction and consumption that has made fashion one of the largest polluters in the world.
Fast fashion prioritizes speed and profit over people and the planet, so the result is an industry that not only harms the environment but also exploits workers in developing countries, often paying them below living wages and forcing them to work in unsafe, inhumane conditions.
3. Sustainable fashion
Sustainable fashion builds on sustainable development, which the UN defined in 1987 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. It is a concept that encompasses environmental, social, and economic considerations and aims to balance these three areas for long-term well-being.
A sustainable approach to fashion is designing, producing, and consuming clothing in a way that minimizes the negative impact on the environment and promotes social responsibility. It involves using environmentally friendly materials, reducing waste and pollution throughout the entire supply chain, and ensuring fair labour practices and ethical treatment of workers.
In recent years, big companies have thrown around terms like “sustainable” and “ethical” to appear environmentally friendly or socially responsible. However, when the brands responsible for most of fashion’s overproduction, environmental impacts, and worker exploitation claim to be sustainable, the term begins to lose its meaning and even gets associated with greenwashing.
Greenwashing is deceiving customers into thinking that a particular company or their products are environmentally conscious and friendly.
Most big-name fast fashion brands are using greenwashing as a popular marketing tactic to promote their new supposedly sustainable clothing line to capitalize on the growing demand for sustainable products. However, these brands often spend more money promoting their false claims than actually minimizing their environmental impact.
5. Slow fashion
Slow fashion is a movement that emphasizes the importance of creating clothing in a sustainable and ethical way. It aims to counter the fast-paced, disposable nature of the fashion industry and promote a more thoughtful, deliberate approach to fashion. At its core, slow fashion is about valuing quality over quantity, and prioritizing clothing that is durable, timeless, and made to last. It emphasizes the use of natural, organic, and sustainable materials, as well as traditional, artisanal production methods that prioritize craft and skill over mass production.
As consumers, we all have the power to make a difference by consciously shopping and supporting sustainable practices. By choosing to buy clothing that is made sustainably and ethically, we help create a demand for more responsible and transparent practices in the fashion industry.
Conscious shopping also means taking a thoughtful approach to our consumption habits. It means valuing quality over quantity and investing in pieces which are made to last. By making these small choices every day, we can collectively create a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry that values people and the planet over profit.
As a small business dedicated to sustainable and slow fashion, we will continue to inspire and educate others on the importance of sustainability and environmental impact. We hope to work together to create a brighter future for all.