What does Slow Fashion Mean Exactly?

Slow fashion brands are the fast-growing counter-revolution to the fast fashion problem. The fashion industry in its current form is hurting both the planet and people and all in the name of following the latest trends. The slow movement is about slowing all that down. It asks you to stop buying into trends and instead find a style you love. Here we’ll share with you the origins of the movement, why it’s important, and how you can get involved.

The Problem with Fast Fashion

A report which came out in 2020 reviewed the environmental impact of fast fashion, with its author calling for systemic change in the fashion industry.

The Planet

Here are some of the problems:

  • Carbon emissions from global transportation of clothes: the items purchased from fast fashion stores have likely traveled around the world a few times to get to shops.
  • Water usage: roughly 79 trillion liters of water are consumed by the fashion industry yearly!
  • Chemicals: huge amounts of chemicals are used in the production process. These are damaging for both for the environment and the people making the clothes.
  • Waste: over 92 million tonnes of waste produced per year. Many brands burn unsold clothes rather than sell them cheaply.


The People

There's social impact too. Fast Fashion clothing is often made in countries with few (or no) health and safety regulations. The world became aware of this when in 2013 the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh killed 1,100 workers and injured 2,400 more. This resulted in Fashion Revolution Day and then Fashion Revolution week (19th-25th of April if you want to get involved!) with the hashtag #whomademyclothes.

The Supply Chain

The driving force behind all this is the demand for cheap, trend-driven clothes. A fashion brand pumps out low-quality clothes following whatever the latest trend is, which consumers wear a few times and throw away.

To sum it all up, the fashion industry needs to change its supply chain fundamentally, which is where the slow movement comes in.

The Slow Fashion Movement

The world has become obsessed with more. Buy more, spend more, work more, do more. There's been a counter-revolution to this though: the sustainable movement.

A Slower, More Sustainable Push

This isn't just about clothes, it's about a lifestyle choice. The history of the slow movement goes back to 1986 and has blossomed since then into a global movement, including the creation of The World Institute of Slowness. There's a few definitions of slow living, but this one is particularly good:

“The Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places, and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions, and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.” -slowlivingsummit.org

Slow Sustainable Fashion Arrives

First to arrive in the movement was slow food, with its ideas of eating locally, organically, and sustainably.

Then came the push to do the same with clothing.

The term was first coined by Kate Fletcher, of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. She explains that the slow fashion movement is about moving away from trends and finding your own style that works for you. It's about buying high-quality pieces that are ethically and sustainably produced that you'll wear over and over for years to come. It's about understanding that less is more, being happy with what you already have, and only buying what you really need.

The Benefits of Slow Fashion

So how does the movement address the problems we've discussed? Let's go through why it's so great for sustainability.

Benefits for People and the World

Sustainable and ethical fashion is changing things in these key ways:

  • Fabrics: Slow fashion brands swap out harmful synthetic materials for natural fabrics produced in an eco-friendly way, like organic cotton or Tencel.
  • Waste: many fashion brands are working hard to reduce waste. They are making clothes from recycled materials, reducing waste in their factories, and taking back old clothing from customers to repurpose them.
  • High quality: sustainable fashion focuses on producing high-quality, well-designed clothes that won't end up in a landfill.
  • Ethical fashion: Brands are doing things like ensuring transparent supply chains and auditing factories to ensure good working conditions.


Benefits for You

It's not just about sacrificing your love of buying clothes for the greater good. Slow fashion has a lot to offer:

  • You can forget about trends and make fashion about you, and what you want. This can be very liberating!
  • You can make your shopping habits align with your ethical beliefs. If you're passionate about climate change, animal rights, worker rights, or all of the above, you can make your spending habits reflect that.
  • You'll save money when you stop buying trendy clothes.
  • Research shows that spending money on experiences rather than items makes people happier. Use all that money you save from not going to the mall and spend the money on that hobby you've always wanted to try instead.

How to Get Involved

This idea is great because everyone can get involved in the way that best suits them. Here are a few ways you can join the push for environmental sustainability.

Find Your Clothing Style and Stick to it

Stop worrying about trends, most of them are pretty ridiculous anyway and they don’t last long. Have you seen the latest make-up trend for drawing on undereye bags? Skinny jeans have been trendy for a long time. They don’t suit you? Don’t wear them.  

If You Love Trends, that's ok too

If you love following the latest fashion and trends, that's ok too. Maybe work towards only buying a couple of trendy pieces and adding them to your base wardrobe of sustainable fashion. What's important is you find what works for you.

Have Fun with it

Finding your personal style can be fun and liberating. There's a whole world of colors, patterns, and styles out there for you to choose from. Do you love Bridgerton's whimsical floaty aesthetic? Go for it. Giant 70s flares? Great. Figure out what you love and fill your wardrobe with things you'll never get tired of wearing.

Be Conscious Before You Buy

We're overwhelmed with shopping options and surrounded by sneaky marketing tactics to get us to buy more. The whole world is telling you that you "need" something. So every time you're about to buy something, stop, take a sec, and think "do I really want or need this thing?".

Another great way to think of it is with this quote from Anna Lappé:

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

So next time you want to buy something, ask yourself if you're voting for the world you want.

Investigate who You're Purchasing From

There's A LOT of greenwashing out there and many fashion brands aren't as eco-friendly as they say they are. So do your research.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself:

  • Are they transparent with their supply chains and production processes?
  • What sustainability practices have they implemented?
  • What is their environmental impact? Their carbon footprint?
  • Do you know where the clothes were made and by who?
  • What materials are used? Is it synthetic or natural? Is it organic?
  • Do they have initiatives for reducing waste?
  • Are they ethical?


Quality Costs

Sustainable fashion can be expensive, and there's a reason for that. The only reason that fast fashion brands can make such cheap clothes is that someone (or something) else is paying the cost.

Change how you think about clothes

The slow, sustainable fashion push calls for changing how we think about fashion. It's about buying an item that you really love and wearing it for a long time. Purchasing high-quality garments actually work out cheaper in the long run in terms of cost per wear.

So take it slow when it comes to buying your next item. If there's a piece you really want, make it a goal to save up for it. When you finally get that item you'll appreciate it all the more and you'll wear it for a long time.

Purchase Second-Hand or Vintage

This is an excellent way to shop ethically. This is particularly great if shopping is one of your favorite past times. You can keep up your habit while avoiding the social and environmental impacts of purchasing new clothes.

Repair First

Our consumption-focused economy has made it difficult to repair things. This has led activists to demand the Right to Repair. And while much of this movement refers to tech, it's equally applicable to clothes.

People used to know how to sew on a button or stitch up a tear in clothing, and we can learn these skills again. There are loads of tutorials online for fixing things, or if that's not your scene you can find a tailor (bonus points for supporting a local business!).


Share clothes with your friends. Need a new outfit for a night out? Ask if you can borrow a friend's dress before you head out to acquire something new.

Upcycle Your Old Clothing

Granted, getting crafty isn't for everyone, but upcycling your older clothing can be a lot of fun. The internet is full of fun ways to revamp old clothes and you could even learn a new hobby.

Final Thoughts

Slow fashion might seem a little intimidating at first, but hopefully, we've shown that it's an easy train to hop on board with. Not only is it great for the planet, but it's also great for you too. You can slow down, find a style you love, save money, and support causes you care about. Remember: your dollar is a vote for the world you want to see. Use it wisely!

Sara Phillipps
A vegan freelance web designer and blog writer based out of Austin, Texas USA.

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In this guide you can see the detailed sizing charts to all our products

Unisex Tshirts

Width, in 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33
Length, in 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Sleeve length, in 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11


Width, cm 47 52.1 57.2 62.2 67.3 72.4 77.5 82.6
Length, cm 72.4 74.9 77.5 80 82.6 85.1 87.6 90.2
Sleeve length, cm 18.4 19.7 20.9 22.2 23.5 24.8 26 27.3


Women's Tees:

Width, in 17 18 19 20 22
Length, in 26 26 27 28 28
Sleeve length, in 7 8 8 8 8



Width, cm 41.2 43.8 46.3 50.2 54
Length, cm 64.4 66 67.6 69.2 70.8
Sleeve length, cm 17.3 17.9 18.5 19.1 19.7




Sleeve length, in 25 25 25 25 25 25 27 27
Length, in 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Width, in 20 23 24 26 28 30 33 34


Sleeve length, cm 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 67.9 67.9
Length, cm 68.5 71.1 73.6 76.2 78.7 81.2 83.8 86.3
Width, cm 50.8 55.9 60.9 66 71.1 76.2 81.3 86.3