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The Slow Fashion Movement

August 19, 2010

I’ve been thinking of slow a lot recently.  (But don’t type it too many times in a row or it will look very odd, very fast….)

Maybe it’s the scorching Texas heat and humidity (the average daily temperature + heat index = appx. 107 degrees).  Certainly the heat will slow you down.  If you’ve ever done manual  labor in heat like this, you know why the siesta was invented hundreds of years ago.

The other thing that has me thinking about slow is fashion and production.  Trying to crank out as many new hat designs – and reproduce the few designs that are reproducable, since most of mine are one of a kind or limited edition – all by hand with no help… well, naturally at some point I start thinking of slowing down (fortunately my husband and I are going on vacation in a few weeks – woohoo!)

The larger fashion machine is no different, churning out new styles more frequently in each year than ever before.  For the cogs in the machine – the designers, pattern makers, piecers, seamstresses, and farmers who make the machine run – their workload has only increased, with tighter deadlines and longer hours.  Bottom line, they never get to slow down anymore.

If you think about it, this is an unsustainable cycle.  Enter the Slow Fashion Movement.  Now, I admit that I was excited when I thought I had coined that phrase the other day (borrowing from the Slow Food Movement, of course).  But, after Googling it, I discovered the phrase was old hat (har har) with the first mention I saw going back to 2007.  I guess I’m a little behind the curve….

Anyway, the concept is that the fashion industry has been driven by greed to produce more goods, faster, and to make consumers feel like they have to keep up (an expensive proposal, if you ask me).  But the only way this can be done is through unsustainable means, both environmentally and culturally.  The Slow Food Movement was embraced years ago by environmentalists because it falls in line with whole-earth values; naturally, the Slow Fashion Movement (SFM) does this as well.

The SFM advocates for clothing made from non-synthetic materials (synthetics can be produced faster but at a higher environmental cost), with attention paid to the humane treatment of workers (Fair Trade/Fair Wage), and that by wearing your garments for longer, you are able to appreciate the designs and avoid feeling like you have to rush out next week to buy into the next big trend.

There’s a lot to be said for that. Absolutely, it can be fun to come home with something brand new.  I love that new-out-of-the-box feeling as much as the next person.  But at a certain point, don’t you feel pressured?  Don’t you feel not good enough if you don’t upgrade?  Well, I say that just won’t do!

I think we should all try slowing down our fashion – even just a little – so that we can spend more time with our families and friends, and less time shopping for stuff that we plan to cast aside in two months.  Spend a bit more on quality fashion items that will last you for years and, over time, you’ll actually see the difference in your pocketbook.  (It sounds crazy, but it’s true.)

I say embrace the Slow Fashion Movement and eschew the frenetic pace of never ending trends!  Woohoo!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some staring out the window to do before getting back to work….

ahhh....slow is good....

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