What's the Difference Between Slow and Fast Fashion?

Sometime around the ’90s, we started to see some major shifts in the fashion industry. New ideas were drawn up like the concept of making high-fashion trends more financially accessible to everyone. The thought of this, of course, sounds lovely and even rather inclusive. However, the cheap price tags we’ve been accustomed to since then have actually had an unforeseeable cost, which we weren’t aware we were ever paying for.


The unsustainable practices of the fast fashion industry have had some detrimental effects on our environment, not to mention the workers who make it all possible. As disappointing as it is to learn the impact of fast fashion, there is some light at the end of this tunnel since fashion is constantly changing. That light happens to be an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative called slow fashion. 


What is Fast Fashion?

Anything with the word “fast” in front of it, usually means it’s not that great for you. Think about the concept of fast food. As convenient as it is on those long days after work, it’s almost always something we regret eating later on. Unless we’re talking about our time and money, anything done fast only hurts us over time. Fast fashion is a business model that produces as many on-trend collections as possible in the shortest amount of time. As production is sped up, the quality of the garment goes down which in return lowers the retail price, making fast fashion an affordable way of shopping.


As you can imagine, this attracts a frightening number of people who are just looking to find on-trend, affordable pieces like what’s seen on the runways each season. While we’re here, it’s important to remember that no customer is to blame for the success of fast fashion. Rather, it’s large corporations that are responsible for making fashion as unsustainable as possible in order to make a profit.

Environmental and Social Impact

The threat of fast fashion is two-fold. First, if the price tag is so cheap that it sounds too good to be true, it’s because the cost has been deducted from something else. Rapid production has led the fast fashion industry as a whole to exploit garment workers and break most of the labor laws, if not all. Over the past few years, there have been uprises seeking justice for workers overseas who either get paid unlivable wages or have to work in dangerous conditions. 


On an environmental level, fast fashion places a threat on our planet day in and day out. Factories that produce clothing at too quick of a rate are responsible for massive pollution, waste, and toxic chemicals that constantly exploit the earth. 


What is Slow Fashion?

As more and more information was released about the dangers of fast fashion, it was time that the industry started shifting once again. This time, that shift was made with positive intentions, a deep appreciation for human life and the planet, and a sustainable business model. Perhaps we shouldn’t say that slow fashion is entirely new, but that it’s been improved and reinforced. Earlier slow fashion originally only focused on an anti-fur movement, while modern-day slow fashion now has included sustainable practices, ethical production, and cruelty-free into its ideology. Slow fashion is a business model that takes its time with production to offer top quality, safe, and durable products.


The main difference between slow and fast fashion is that one is done with awareness, while the other is not. With a much slower form of production, slow fashion brands aren’t encouraging mass consumption, but a high level of thought and consciousness.

Why Choose Slow Fashion?

Since there’s almost always a price tag difference between the two, this could deter some people from supporting slow fashion. When it comes to shopping on a budget, we understand that not everyone has the means to afford a higher price point, especially when a fast fashion brand might sell something similar at a third of the cost. However, keep in mind that although it may appear to be the same, slow and fast produced clothing can never be exactly the same.


When it comes to material, sustainable fashion is likely to only use natural fabrics that are safe for your skin, and that doesn’t have a large impact on the environment. Not to mention the durability difference since slow fashion pieces are designed to last in your wardrobe. While the price of fast fashion might attract you at first glance, it’s so important to keep in mind that the business wouldn’t survive if they weren’t cutting corners somewhere. Shopping in the slow lane means that you’re paying for what’s fair and ethical. 


Slow fashion is about expressing your unique beauty instead of conforming to meet what’s on-trend. It’s a blend of your individuality and ethics as you say no to anything that goes against your personal values. It’s about consciously choosing what’s best for your body, for others and for the planet.


So, why choose slow fashion? Well, that answer is simple. Choose slow fashion because you value the lives of workers even though you’ve never met them, because you have a deep appreciation for the earth, and because your conscience should never have to suffer for your style.

- The Woron Team