The Slow Fashion Movement

Section
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality
Page
3.7

Slow fashion is a more recent development than Slow Food and Slow Cities, but is based on the same idea – quality, not growth (quantity). The term arose in 2007 when textile consultant and author Kate Fletcher shone a light on the issue in The Ecologist1Slow fashion (theecologist.org).

2021. Slow Fashion action pyramid)

There have been various responses since, with one of the most recent being the energetic and action-oriented Slow Fashion Movement – Slow Fashion Season 2021 — Slow Fashion Movement – which has as its vision:

“Clothing can be a powerful tool of meaning, identity and expression. We envision a world in which fashion has a healing impact on the environment and those who make our clothes. Consumers, businesses and governments value the earth and the workers’ well-being. And all of us put our money where our mouth is and act, buy, produce and legislate in line with our values.

In this world it is not possible to buy a t-shirt that is made in a sweatshop or a pair of jeans that has coloured a river blue. We call this world a slow fashion world. And while we are longing for this world, we already started creating it together.

‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ – Arundhati Roy

In this ideal slow fashion world we envision:

  • Clothing production aims at creative expression of consumers, rather than profit-making of brands;
  • Clothing is designed to last, rather than to be replaced;
  • Clothing is designed to heal, rather hurt, the environment in which it is produced;
  • Brands choose to pursue stability, rather than perpetual growth. They establish deep roots and connections with their customers and suppliers.”

I particularly like this last dot point as it explicitly identifies ‘perpetual growth’ as the problem and ‘stability’ as the solution. The site goes on to give examples of environmental impact:

Our current reality

The majority of the current fashion industry is failing us. They prioritize short-term economic gain over the long-term health of people and planet. The industry thrives on disposability, which makes any kind of long-term use and connection very difficult. The fast-paced rhythm of fashion encourages wasteful practices. To be uniquely stylish and in-demand, many brands incinerate any unsold clothing. The quality of clothing is intentionally reduced so people will return sooner for new items. The majority of used clothing ends up in a landfill, with only 10% of donated clothing sold.

Environmental impacts of fashion production and disposal:

  • Fast fashion’s volume and velocity of production causes immense environmental and ecological stress. Under the current system, new clothing production requires vast amounts of water and massive areas of land to grow the raw materials;
  • Large amounts of non-renewable resources are used to create clothing. Greenhouse gas emissions like CO2 are released into the atmosphere. Continuing on this current track, the clothing industry is set to increase emissions by as much as 60%. That means that by 2050 the industry could use up more than 26% of our global carbon budget;
  • The industry is extremely wasteful and polluting, with most products ending up in an incinerator or a landfill. The chemicals used in these systems often find their way into rivers & oceans…”

They have various promises and demands, e.g. transparency from major fashion companies as to materials use, and signing up to a fashion ‘de-tox’ (not buying anything new for three months), and a world map where you can look up your local network and contacts and get further involved. The current map of networks looks like this:

(www.slowfashion.global.2021. Map of Slow Fashion Movement networks and contacts)
(Brekelenkam, Q.G. 1622-69. Girl Lacemaking. [From a time when clothing was highly valued and kept for a lifetime]. Nat.Trust Scotland)

Further to assist ethical, slow-fashion choices, there is a number of websites and apps, but caution is required as there is a commercial background to a number of these. Despite this, one site and app that is consistently well-rated is Good On You – Good On You – Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Brand Ratings – and its clothing-brand rating system is detailed and rigorous.

(Impacts of the garment industry are explored further on webpage 2.8 ‘Goods’).

 

1 Fletcher, K. 2007. Slow Fashion – it’s quality not quantity that counts. The Ecologist, 37 (5), Wadebridge, Cornwall, UK.

Explore Other Replace the God of Growth with the God of Quality

3.1 Introduction

“The ‘economy’ became a god such as never before, and a happy, successful society was one that could please this god – sometimes by sacrificing beautiful things, to keep the deity from getting angry and harming people by withdrawing favours. And, ...

3.2 Sustainability

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3.3 De-coupling Growth from Environmental Impact

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3.4 Growth, Happiness and Diminishing Marginal Utility

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3.5 The Slow City Movement

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3.6 The Slow Food Movement

The Slow Food movement got underway before the Slow City movement and thus is, perhaps, more developed at this stage than the latter. Their website is a mine of information and they offer a range of services, networks and chapters. For instance: ...

3.7 The Slow Fashion Movement

Slow fashion is a more recent development than Slow Food and Slow Cities, but is based on the same idea – quality, not growth (quantity). The term arose in 2007 when textile consultant and author Kate Fletcher shone a light on the issue in The Eco...

3.8 Arts and Crafts and Artisan Movements

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3.9 Hooked on Growth

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1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship 1.1 Articles 1.2 Art Installations 1.3 Books 1.4 Buildings 1.5 Film, Documentaries, Podcasts 1.6 Music 1.7 Paintings 1.8 Photographs 1.9 Poems 1.10 Spiritual Responses
1/11

1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship

This section is designed to foster appreciation and insight that will – hopefully – lead to novel ways to build a better relationship between human beings and Nature. This section is also atypical ...
2. Reduce Consumption
2. Reduce Consumption

2. Reduce Consumption

I hope Reneé Descartes would forgive us for saying that, at least for the modern world, he was wrong.  When, in 1637, he said: “I think, therefore I am”, he could not have anticipated that the majo...
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

In a supposedly secular age there has arisen a global religion and god like never before, a religion whose reach and power makes every other belief system before it seem pitiful and insignificant: ...
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

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5. Reduce Population
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6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context
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7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species
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8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition
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9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems
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10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation
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10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

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