Slow Fashion: The Next Big Trend Post Covid-19
Global pandemics are historically seen as game changers to various industries. Such crisis brings in new trends, paving way for transformations in the industries to align with the changing times. Fashion is one such industry that is no exception and has always been influenced by pandemics. From the first world war to Spanish influenza to the second world war, fashion industry was influenced by every historic event in different ways. Covid-19 is one such crisis that has prompted both the consumers and the fashion industry to pause and rethink about their actions. The crisis has already ushered the global economy into a recession, and will be poised to leave its mark on how consumers live, how they spend their money, and even how they dress. It has initiated a call to slow down and move away from fast fashion.
Fast fashion vs Slow Fashion
Fast fashion is a term used by retailers and designers to describe a widely popular phenomenon and business model. It occurs when companies imitate styles and trends seen on the runways at fashion weeks and recreate them at a much lower price and quality to sell to the mass market. The retailers make season-wise designs, which are brought to stores to replenish the shelves as frequently as two weeks. Contrary to this is slow fashion.
Slow Fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste. Slow fashion is ethical and forms a bond between raw materials, labour force and environment. The classic designs and traditional methods of making a fabric and clothing are part of it. It incorporates the use of raw materials that do not cause harm to the environment. Slow fashion is not seasonal and does not work like a trend. This holistic approach considers the complete life cycle of the product. These products are sustainable and targeted to serve a long period of time.
Key Factors of Slow Fashion
Textile and garment manufacturing is one of the largest industries in the world, but it is also a major polluter of the environment. China, the largest textile manufacturing hub in the world has polluted 90% of its groundwater. It is estimated that till 2050 global fashion and clothing industry will account 25% of the carbon budget. On an average, 12.8 million tons of global textile waste ends up in landfills emitting methane gas which is more potent than carbon when it comes to harming the environment. Every washing cycle of synthetic clothes accounts for around 1,900 microfibers in the ocean and as per an estimation, there are already 1.4 trillion microfibers in our ocean. These facts reflect a global challenge which have constantly been ignored by both the industry and the consumers. However, this pandemic has made consumers see how vulnerable the entire world is, and the whole crisis has raised awareness for social and environmental sustainability, even among those who were not previously onto the topic. Consumers have also seen the positive impact of the shutdown around the world on global ecology with reduced air pollution above major cities, river and marine life coming back to their habitats and blooming nature, which has tangibly shown that businesses should address the issue of climate change. Sustainability and slow fashion should not only be a marketing tool but rather an inherent trait in the business.
For years, everything from fast-paced fashion calendar to the overproduction of goods that encourage (and depend on) overconsumption to sustain its broken economic model; to the exploitation of land, labour, and exotic animals has been on a growth. This growth is likely to slow down with initiatives from both consumers as well as retailers.
The consumers who are likely to follow in path of slow fashion will:
• Take care of the existing garments that they own
• Give quality preference over quantity while shopping for new garments
• Will avoid trends and follow personal style
• Donate old garments to charity or textile recycling point
• Upcycle garments to create something new
Retailers who plan to follow the path of slow fashion will:
• Change their clothing lines less often and produce and stock less items
• Incorporate sustainable practices in their operations
• Ensure that their entire supply chain works in a sustainable manner
• Align products and services to reflect sustainable design
• Help customers to recycle and create something new
Both consumers and retailers are expected to scrutinise where and how things are being made. There is hope that retailers and consumers will realize that slow fashion is a journey and not an event. It will encourage a way of life that will help future generations to survive and thrive.
Small steps make a big difference
Advantages of Slow fashion
The crisis has changed the dynamics of the fashion industry. People are locked in their homes and wondering whether this is the new normal. In this unprecedented time, people don’t know what the future holds for them. The world considers this pandemic as a warning and this thought has made them a little more mindful about living a sustainable life. And even though, slow fashion is a little expensive than fast fashion, the consumers will still consider it above fast fashion from now on. People will be all set to give more importance to quality over quantity post the pandemic as the consumer’s perspective towards slow fashion has completely transformed. Earlier, it was easy to forget the impact of a purchase and the power of a consumer. However, time has paved way for the path towards a more sustainable fashion future.