In a world where new fashion and style don the runways every season of every year, we’re finally entering an era where things are slowing down. The evolution of slow and sustainable fashion is hitting the mainstream and it’s not just for the frumpy or basic. But what is slow fashion and how does this fit in with, well, fashion and sustainability?

In order to really understand slow fashion, we should probably start with what fast fashion is.

What Is Fast Fashion?

You know how every season beautiful models rock the runway wearing some super cute and chic new style and then we see pieces inspired by them at places like H&M or Forever21? Well, that’s fast fashion. It’s essentially when new styles are mass-produced with poor quality. The pieces of clothing are produced quickly, in mass-production, sell cheaply and don’t last very long at all. Fast fashion.

Ok. So What About Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion is a movement that is dedicated to creating quality garments from sustainable fabrics that last longer and may be more costly. This type of fashion encourages fair wages, slower production, lower carbon footprints and in ideal situations, zero waste.

The U.S. EPA estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space. While the EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills.

This is a lot of waste and while recycling is happening, reducing the amount of textile waste in the world is one of the problems that slow fashion solves. Through creating quality pieces that last through multiple wears for yourself and others. Slow fashion also encourages the use of sustainable and earth-friendly fabrics that decrease the addition to microfiber pollution as well.

There's nothing better than seeing some cute style that was on the runway now available to the masses--oh wait, there is! Here's an intro to slow fashion.

Woah! Microfiber Pollution? What’s That?

I know. I went an introduced another new term here. Did you know that when you wash your clothes made with synthetic fabrics, millions of tiny microfibers are released into the water? Because these tiny microfibers are SO small, they aren’t filtered out by waste treatments and they make their way into the oceans wreaking havoc on marine life. If you’re interested in learning more about this, check out the video from The Story of Stuff.

Image courtesy of Harmony Enterprises

In order to combat this form of pollution that’s a byproduct of fast fashion, a couple of companies have created products to drop into our washer machines to collect the fibers and prevent them from making their way to our oceans. One of the ones that we’ve talked about in my sewing community was the Cora Ball which you just drop into your washer machine and it collects the microfibers. Easy breezy.

So this is slow fashion! And it matters because not only does it help people make livable wages, but it also helps the planet and your closet live longer.

Have you heard of slow fashion before? If so, who are some of your favorite retailers for slow fashion?