Sustainable Fashion VS Slow Fashion – Which is Better to Support?

Sustainable fashion VS slow fashionWhat do these terms mean, you ask? With so many buzzwords being thrown around in the fashion world, it’s easy to get confused and even overwhelmed. We’re here to break down sustainable fashion VS slow fashion to get you up to speed on these two trendy social movements. Let’s dive in. 

A girl in red thinking about Sustainable Fashion VS Slow Fashion.

Sustainable Fashion VS Slow Fashion

What’s The Definition of Sustainable Fashion?

Sustainable fashion refers to clothing and accessories that are designed, sourced, and produced in environmentally friendly, ethical, and socially responsible ways. And that involves all steps of the supply chain. 

A sustainable fashion company may opt for materials that are organic, locally grown, and recycled while avoiding harmful chemicals and dyes. 

They will aim to leave little to no carbon footprint in their manufacturing process by reducing waste and energy/water usage. Additionally, sustainable companies provide a safe, ethical working environment for garment workers while paying them a living wage. 

What’s The Definition of Slow Fashion?

As you may have guessed, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion, but it’s also more than that! Slow fashion is about being intentional with its releases and goes about producing clothing in a considerate, ethical way. 

Slow fashion takes a mindful approach to the design and manufacturing process. That means that each garment the consumer buys is of good quality and will last. You’ll likely find small boutique clothing brands adhere to slow fashion over big-box retailers. 

Slow fashion companies aim to provide high-quality garments produced on a small scale with slower production times. These brands won’t have new stock coming out every week. But you can be assured that what they produce is made of durable, often natural fabrics that will last a really long time! 

Sustainable Fashion VS Slow Fashion – Which is Better to Support?

The slow fashion and sustainable fashion movements share a lot of similarities. They both practice creating ethical fashion with the planet, animals, people, and the consumer in mind. All while considering the social, environmental, and ethical impact of production. 

While their concepts involve the same values, they do have slightly different focuses. Here’s an easy way to understand the difference.

Sustainable fashion focuses on the environmental impact. 

Slow fashion focuses on the actual apparel. 

With that said, slow fashion also considers the environmental impact when manufacturing its clothing, and sustainable fashion also aims to produce high-quality items. Hence, the reason slow fashion is often considered a continuation of sustainable fashion. And also why these terms are (confusingly) used interchangeably!

They both go about bringing positive, ethical change to the issues in the fashion industry. So the truth is, both sustainable fashion companies and slow fashion companies deserve a place in your wardrobe (mindfully, of course!)

But Wait, Why is Fast Fashion so Bad?

Fast fashion is cheap, trendy, poor-quality clothing churned out at fast rates in huge quantities (think Zara, H&M, Fashion Nova, Forever 21.) And it has certainly received its fair share of backlash recently. But why?

The fast-fashion model is based on overconsumption and over-production and is considered not to be ethical. It has a devastating effect on the environment and the people who work in the factories. 

  • The fast fashion industry uses toxic chemical dyes that contaminate our freshwater supply.
  • The garment workers in the fast fashion industry are often underpaid and overworked while being subjected to dangerous conditions and toxic work environments.
  • Fast fashion is the main contributor to the massive amount of textile waste in our landfills each year.
  • Polyester – a popular material used in the Fast fashion industry sheds microfiber plastics when washed. These microplastics contribute to the enormous levels of plastic in our oceans that continue to rise each year.

Getting Started With Sustainable/Slow Fashion

So, you’re eager to ditch fast fashion and switch to eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable labels? Go you! 

Here are our tips to help you get started with creating a more conscious, sustainable wardrobe. 

Repurpose your old clothes

If you’re desperate for a new look, why not try styling the clothes you already have at home in creative, new ways? Who knows, you might just create your best #OOTD yet. FYI, check out this article for some styling inspo. 

Girl showing an example of styling a strapless summer dress.

Be conscious of your consumption

We’ve all been there. We see something we like online, and we add it to our cart right away. The next time this happens, wait a few days before you make your purchase, so you don’t buy on impulse. And ask yourself, do I really NEED this product?

Support slow/sustainable brands.

This one is a given! Here are some of our fave sustainable/slow fashion brands. TentreeQuinceGirlfriend CollectivePactReformation.

Before buying from a new brand, make sure you research and read up on information about the company. Check if their practices are environmentally friendly and ethical. They get extra points if their products are labeled fair use. 

Buy less but buy quality clothing

If you’re tempted to buy a cheap piece from Forever 21, think again! That tee will start pilling after a few washes and will end up in the back of your closet or the bin. Instead, buy a good quality tee from a sustainable/slow brand made from A-grade materials that will last longer! It will save you money in the long run.

Choose classic styles over trends

It’s understandable to want to keep up with the latest trends, but will you still wear these items when they go out of style? Instead of shopping for the latest trends, choose classic, timeless pieces that will become staples in your life. That includes the likes of a white linen shirt, a mini black dress, and you can’t go wrong with a great blazer!

Rent over buying

For special events, rent your outfit from rent the runway instead of purchasing a new one. Not only will you save money, but you can also try out different looks and discover new brands and designers within your community. 

Shop second hand

I get that sustainable and slow fashion brands may not be as affordable as fast fashion brands. But there is a solution to still shopping on a budget with sustainability in mind. Head to your local thrift store to find a unique outfit no one else will own all while keeping your wallet happy. 

Alter your clothing

Are you over that maxi dress you wore all summer? Well, get out your sewing kit and get to work transforming it into a mini sundress! Instead of dismissing clothes you’re sick of, think of fun ways you could turn them into a sparkly new piece (YouTube helps.)

For more on ethical, sustainable shopping, join our newsletter below!

About Jurnee

Jurnee is a writer and creative from New Zealand passionate about covering health, wellness, and fashion.