Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time to get back to 'slow fashion?'

It’s a simple question. Is fashion getting too fast? Is it time to return to what might be called “slow fashion?” I’ve been ruminating about this recently, going past sale upon sale, seeing ever shorter season runs in order to make way for the new lines and updated trends to come through, only to themselves be replaced by a new season a few weeks later. So perhaps the real question is...have we sacrificed fashion quality for fashion quantity?

Consider a writer Betty Yan, and what she says, and ask if it rings a bell. “Too often I stand in my jam packed closet at a loss for what to wear. The excess of clothing that I’m faced with seems inefficient and lacks standout pieces; it also means a lot of money wasted. Among the items I have amassed, there are only a number of pieces I wear regularly. The rest of the clutter is made up of impulse, discount, and overlapping purchases.”

Let’s call it the fast fashion train. Yan goes on to say something I couldn’t agree with more. That we’re buying trendy clothes at lower prices. The disposability of them increases due to the poorer quality, and date faster due to the quicker trends. We’re asked to consume fashion at a quicker rate, getting lost chasing new high-end styles at lower prices – basically spending a lot of money on a lot of cheaper stuff.

What we are foregoing are those enduring quality pieces, now almost entirely absent for our wardrobe.

The fast fashion concept isn’t really that new – it started in the late 70’s. But I really think that the way forward in the long term will be getting back to slow fashion. Buying a really beautiful purchase once or twice a year. And by that I mean a really beautiful purchase. My partner bought a Marc Jacobs dress in Tokyo last year. I think it was the only item she bought that season. More sustainable, more enduring, more gorgeous, you get more love out of each purchase, and hey, ultimately better for the planet.

In fashion, it should be more about the joy of slow. And in turn, it might be about falling back in love with true fashion. 


[ photo: In Cromwell ] 

13 comments:

Sabina said...

I will agree completely about this disposability issue, but I've felt that way a while now and I've gotten better about impulse buys. I also make a point of thinking about cost per wear when I buy stuff rather than just the price. If I think I'll be sick of something after a couple of times or even after a couple of years, I won't bother no matter how cheap it is.

owlinalarkworld said...

I see my clothes as a collection. So uniqueness and quality are important when I buy anything.
Although most of my pieces are op shopped and cheaper than lunch I think there is something to be said about retail stores. What we see as classic style now would once have been a fad. In 50 years styles which dominate THE MALL will be vintage.
I think a persons view of their wardrobe (whether it is disposable or not) informs how they spend their money.
I suppose whether clothing is disposable or a collection comes down to the question of if fashion is art.
Is clothing a legitimate way to express oneself or simply shallow and materialistic?

Lauren@Styleseer said...

I totally agree but I'm still susceptible to "fast fashion" and what I end up with is exacty what Betty Yan described: a closet full of nothing to wear! I could easily get by with about a tenth of what I own because I wear the pieces I love over and over again while the rest just hangs there taking up space.

Luna Nicolette said...

It has led to a weird culture of 'Trends' rather than the collection of styles and ideas that led to past fashion movements- punk, mods, rockers et cet. In a way I believe the opposite to fast fashion- it has become so unbelievably slow: nothing is changing and no one stands out- movements such as 'emo' and 'hipster' have been met with derision. It sounds oxymoronic but the very fast movement of clothes has led to no developments in what fashion and style is- this is why I say 'slow'. There is no commitment to an ideal- people seem to dress in millions of different ways with no actual meaning behind it. THERE IS NO FASHION ONLY CLOTHES. It's depressing.

Liz said...

Good article. It's ridiculous the way we're compelled to throw away perfectly good clothes just because they're "out of fashion". There's always been "slow fashion", but it's normally known as style. Style and fashion are two very different things.

Erica said...

Fashion is always fast. Style is enduring.

Liesbeth (candyandtreats) said...

I'm trying so hard to get back to slow fashion, it indeed gives so much more fulfillment to be happy wearing your items many times. But sometimes, the fashion trap gets me. 2012 will be the year I'll try not to fall in it :-D

L.L. said...

Yes, I completely agree with you! I realised this a few years ago and now I save up my money only to buy quality pieces that actually suit my style and personality. Thanks for this article! :D

owlinalarkworld said...

Also, props for Cromwell photo. Love seeing my hometown!

Hayley said...

I do agree, but more from observation than experience - the vast majority of my friends only buy beautiful, well thought out pieces and always look amazing. Although I'm sure there are exceptions, I think for most people fast fashion becomes less and less appealing as one gets older. As for me, for years now I've been planning my wardrobe in a mildly obsessive manner. I've managed to dump the impulse shopping of my youth and as a result, wear and love everything I own. It's how my mum (who is super stylish herself!) taught me to be, and years later, it seems to have sunk in!

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Naturoticas said...

Fast fashion is like an adiction difficult to quit. But when you see your clothes as a part of your life style it's completely different. Look for special and fancy pieces that connect with you and not with other's styles and personalities. Satisfaction will come short after the twist.

Heather said...

Slow fashion is being recently talked about as the new "fashionable" trend, something similar like when all celebrities started to get into charities or help the world by adopting children from Africa. I think it is more of a personal choice as well. Making conscious decisions about your shopping that will reduce your footprint sounds very academic and "green" but when you look into your own closet you might grasp the amount of wasting that's going on there. Really, there are some extremely easy steps in your life how to contribute to the slow fashion ideas yourself. Nobody needs piles of clothes every year, I always found it fascinating how you can mix the ever-stylish pieces with some new accessories to create something much more interesting than just a copy of every new magazine shot.