We live in a fast-paced world that compromises the sustainability of the environment. More so, with the advent of the digital age, the focus has shifted towards speed and success rather than the quality and the process. These ideas are at the core of fast-fashion, which relies on mass production and excessive consumerism. Apparel industry produces 10% of global emissions, it requires tonnes of water to make a pair of jeans of manufacture a t-shirt. While using fabric dyes that are responsible for increasing toxicity in soil and water resources.
Fast-fashion is a model based on trends and numerous cycles of clothing being produced each year, to maintain this continuous trend-cycle and consumer demands it fails to pay fair wages and maintain a safe working environment for its employees. The manufacturing procedure doesn’t recognize the value of labour and concerning craftsmanship and traditional skills.
This system has created a culture of discarding given that several collections are made available throughout the year. Products are discarded when no longer desired rather than needed. We are always looking for the next best thing rather than valuing the clothing that we do have. Even so, we still never find anything to wear despite owning multiple trendy pieces. Earlier only a limited number of pieces a year were tailor-made or stitched at home with the limited fabric but the quality was impeccable and the wastage was minimum. And, the clothing went through several cycles of wear and was passed down instead of being discarded. Mass production has allowed us to replace clothing instantly with a minimal impact on our wallets but has had a significant drawback on the way we wear or care for our clothing.
As a phenomenon and a business model, fast-fashion creates trends that change in a few weeks or months, the swift process produces several collections against the traditional Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. Trends make the clothing easily obsolete, and replaceable. The need for and focus on asserting quality-checks and durability gets lost in this process. Often, we are not aware of who is making our clothes. And, are not mindful of their conditions.
On the other hand, slow fashion aims to create clothing that is timeless and thoughtful, it focuses on retaining the longevity of the clothing. It allows for investment and prolonged wear rather than quick disposal.
Slow fashion encourages transparency in its process of sourcing, designing, and creating. It creates the space for ethical work-trade, fair-wages, respect for workers and aids in the revival of craft communities. This helps in breaking the cycle of mindless consumption and allows us to make an intentional purchase we will be able to wear despite seasons. The pieces are made from high-quality, locally sourced materials, encouraging us to be conscious of what we are wearing and empathetic towards the maker. If fast fashion erodes our connection to garments, slow fashion brands like Adau allow us to cherish the garments we buy for years to come.