What is the truth behind my personal wardrobe or what is slow fashion and fast fashion?
How are the clothes I have in my personal wardrobe manufactured? How does fashion industry work to deliver garments in stores at such different prices? Does it matter of what price range will be the clothes in my personal wardrobe? What happens to the clothes we get rid of?
I know that hardly anyone gives answers to all those questions, but let me try to do it anyway.
There are two trends that illustrate the ideology of each fashion brand.
Fast and slow fashion are modern terms that represent the ideology behind a particular brand, how to produce specific items and how they reach the consumer.
Fast fashion in my personal wardrobe
Standing behind the term fast fashion is usually the ideology and the principle of work in the big retail chains you can see in most malls. What is typical for them is that they offer clothing for men, women and children at extremely affordable prices. Generally, these brands have their own departments throughout the whole chain of creating a garment – from design to commercial location. This allows them to control the whole processes as they consider.
Each of these chains offers new collections over a period of approximately two weeks in order to satisfy our desire as consumers, to have more new and modern items in our personal wardrobe more often. This, of course, forms a highly intense process of work of creating between 12 and 40 collections per year. Needless to say, each new collection replaces the previous tendency, making it obsolete, thus creating a sense of urgency and need. Hence, the client feels the desire to own the new clothing in their personal wardrobe as soon as they see it.
You can imagine how this leads to the need of making great optimizations for new clothes to appear at the stores in less than a month. Here they are:
- Design optimization
Building a new design of a garment usually takes a long time from building prototypes to selecting the most appropriate additional materials and fabrics. And as it has become clear big chains do not have that amount of time. In order to solve this challenge, often they borrow models as close as possible to those, launched by major designers, or take ready-made models by young rising designers who need to create a portfolio. Maybe that’s why sometimes you may come to the situation to see the design you have in your own personal wardrobe purchased from these chains, to be sold in the boutique of a famous designer;
- Optimization with quantities
A very simple economic law is that the more similar pieces are produced, the lower will be the price of a final product unit. This is also the principle followed by large retail chains. There is always more clothing produced than necessary, because if there is a shortage of a particular model, there is no physical possibility of creating more pieces of it. The reason? Next collection is now on its way. This way there are leftovers from each collection that could not be sold and become waste;
And did you know that it requires 2,700 liters of water to produce a single T-shirt? It`s enough quantity for a person to consume for over two years. This is part of the price we indirectly pay to posses beauty in our personal wardrobe.
And maybe just another statistical fact for consideration – for one year in the US, the amount of disposed clothing amounts over 11 million tons and rising every year.
- Optimization of the workforce
You’ve probably paid attention to the labels of your clothes in your wardrobe. It always states country of origin. Often thоse are countries where labor laws and working conditions are unregulated and the workforce is extremely cheap. In production factories for fast-moving fashion the workday could sometimes reach up to 16 hours, no breaks, often involves child labor and salary is sufficient mainly for food. On one side, it is immoral, but on the other hand allows an item to reach the store at a quite low price.
The slow fashion in our personal wardrobe
It is easy to guess that what opposes the fast fashion is the slow fashion. There we have care and attention to every detail and stage in the process so that a garment entering our personal wardrobe would remain there for long time.
- The fabrics
One of the most important features of each quality garment is the fabric it`s made from. Have you ever noticed that the clothes from your personal wardrobe that you wear the longest, are actually made of better fabrics? It is one of the main concerns when talking about slow fashion. Brands creating clothes according to this trend, work with utmost care for the environment, customer health, so you will often notice that they use clothes made from organic fabrics, vegan and similar. This protects us from the heavy metals that overpass the allowed limits in the fast fashion;
In slow fashion every process of production is well thought out and assessed. In this sense, workforce is evaluated fairly and with respect. The take-advantage-of element I was talking about earlier is missing. People in similar fashion brands work in a normal work week and with fairly paid labor;
When we take care of what we buy and put in our personal wardrobe, it becomes a real investment that serves us for a very long time. How to recognize clothing of fast fashion and slow fashion, though? This can be done by visiting the brand’s website and seeing whether it has some kind of certification, such as “Fairtrade” – for fair working conditions, or GOTS – for organic-made clothing. Another method is by checking the brand `s social network with hashtag #whomademyclothes. The answer comes from the manufacturers, who present themselves and tell more about their ideology. Perhaps one of the most popular ways to learn whether a garment from our personal wardrobe is a product of fast or slow fashion, is by checking in ecofashionworld.com if it is part of ethical fashion.
But where is the balance?
- Less clothes, but better quality and models that we really like
Now is the time to turn to your personal stylist so you can choose really quality clothes, selected specifically for your figure and that will stick in your personal wardrobe for a very long time. The goal here, of course, is to give up the chaotic purchases that sometimes sit for years with the label on, without getting to the proper occasion for wearing them. A nice example is building up a capsule wardrobe, containing 33 items for each season. Тhis way you will have garments complementing each other that will provide you with many combinations;
- Attention to the origin of the garment and the input materials
As I have already mentioned, it is good to pay attention what country was the garment made in to make sure that the working conditions of the manufacturer were normal and fair. Read about the material. I recommend that you choose clothes made of natural fabrics or at least natural-based, such as viscose (sometimes known under the commercial names “modal, tencel”). Personally, as a person who suffered from allergy of poor quality materials some years ago, I urge you to be more careful about this. Toxicity caused by bad fabrics is no joke and can happen to anyone with more sensitive skin;
- Custom-made clothing
One of the most expensive options, but on the other hand safest, is getting your clothes tailor-made. Of course, this ensures that the clothes of your personal wardrobe will match your body measures, besides you will also be aware what quality materials were invested in their creation. Clothes that meet these two requirements, inevitably stay in your wardrobe for a long time.