Slow fashion isn’t a trend. It is an extension of slow living, whether it comes to food choices or the clothes we buy.
Is it possible to follow the “slow” way of life when consuming fashion? Slow here is indicative of all ways or methods that are self-sustainable, ethical and conscious. It is a matter of choices that we adopt in order to live and fashion is part of it.
Becoming conscious of consumption is the first step towards “slow fashion”. Here are some things to remember if you want to be truly sustainable in your fashion consumption.
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Whenever you are buying anything, ask yourself the following questions: Why am I purchasing this? Is it an impulse buy? Is it for an occasion? Will this add any value to my life? Is it a need?
How much is good enough? How often will I wear it? Can it be worn or styled in multiple ways? Is this a versatile piece? Can I look into my existing pieces and throw some layers and accessories to elevate it? Can it move from everyday to occasionwear effortlessly?
After the above questions, you need to look more closely at the garment you are eyeing. How is it made? Who made it? Do you feel connected to it? What do you feel when you wear the garment?
Slow fashion has to be created through slow design techniques, not fast-paced mechanised methods of production. The cloth woven could be a commodity for some, but for someone it can be an outcome of labour of love.
Now comes the question of “value for money”. What is your idea of value for money? Is it the more you acquire in less? Remember if you are able to purchase more in less, it is anything but sustainable and definitely not created by hand. Anything handcrafted cannot and should not be cheap. If it is cheap, either the artisan wasn't paid fairly or it is not handcrafted in sustainable materials.
The choice of materials used also play a big role. Ask the retailer or the designer about the materials being used in an outfit. Is it natural? If it is, then ask how was it farmed, grown or procured? Is it plant based or animal based? If it claims to be vegan, is it biodegradable or polymer based?
To implement slow fashion as part of slow living, you need to appreciate the beauty of handmade more. Slow fashion can also help you discover methods of recycling and upcycling. When you look at your wardrobe more, you find more ways to elevate an existing outfit with existing accessories. The biggest part of living the slow fashion life is to use the garments till their very end.
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Madhumita Nath is the founder-designer at Ek Katha Clothing.