There is no escaping the fact that consuming fast fashion negatively impacts the environment. The textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world, which is why it’s so tricky when talking and writing about fashion when you also want to do as little damage to the environment as possible. If like me, you’re concerned about how your wardrobe might be adding to the climate crisis, then you’ll want to know what you can do to help. While I’m no Greta Thunberg, I’m aware that there are approaches to wearing and shopping for clothes to ensure we look after the environment or at least minimise our impact.
One idea that I know is going to take off in 2020 is slow fashion. This simply means that what you buy lasts a long time. For example, you invest in one piece and wear it frequently instead of only wearing it once and then getting rid of it. To better understand what it means and how we can apply the concept to our own wardrobes, I spoke to Livia Firth, co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age, and Lauren T. Franks, stylist and founder of slow-fashion label Aardes.
What Is Slow Fashion?
According to Firth, today, we buy at a pace that is “completely unsustainable.” She believes that this is because “we treat fashion as disposable.” Her proposal? That everyone be more mindful about buying clothes. “Slow fashion is buying less often and with more purpose,” says Firth.
Franks agrees: “It’s basically about becoming a more conscious and aware consumer, being more informed and making better choices. It’s about undoing the damage we are causing by overconsuming and taking a bit of time to reflect on what we actually want and what we really need. It’s quite a philosophical way of shopping, and I think inevitably it will inform all the choices we make.”
How Can We Incorporate It Into Our Wardrobes?
While it sounds kind of daunting, putting the concepts of slow fashion into practice is pretty simple. For example, Firth suggests adopting Eco-Age’s #30Wears campaign that implements a deeper thought process while shopping. “Rather than concentrating on which brand is good or bad,” says Firth, “why don’t you just stop and think for a second ahead of buying anything and ask yourself if you will wear it a minimum 30 times? If the answer is yes, then go ahead. But you will be surprised how many times the answer is no.”
But that’s not her only tip. She also suggests that you “try and think of a few new ways to style your wardrobe that you’ve not done before, breathe new life into what you already have. When you feel the moment has come to buy something new, take a little bit more time to do the research into some great sustainable brands or try fashion rental companies or charity shops. This is by no means a quick-fix or an effortless way of shopping. The whole point is that you are more considered. It’s about saying it’s okay to slow down and make decisions carefully.”
Below, I’ve chosen some long-lasting quality pieces that are wardrobe staples. I guarantee you’ll want to wear each piece at least 30 times.