2. Slow Fashion Connects. Fast Fashion Disconnects.
Within our brand we like to say that every garment has a story.
The story of a garment is written as production is happening, from fabric to production process, from team to the store rack. Within slow fashion production, this happens with an eye for detail and focus on all aspects of the chain. We call that slow manufacturing and that includes quite a number of factors:
- The design perspective:
- Is more than one collection a year really necessary?
- Is constant change of designs a must?
- The fabrics:
- Are they sustainably produced?
- Are they Upcycled or recycled?
- The production team
- Is everybody paid fairly, according to market expectations or even more?
- Do working conditions include lots of light, space and good ventilation?
- Are the clients taken into account as well?
- Do manufacturers actually think about what the buyer needs and how to cater to that?
- Does the buyer really need two collections a year, a mid-season collection and in-between pieces that they ‘need’ to buy almost constantly?
- Does a fashion item that a client will wear (hopefully for a considerable while) stand for the good?
- Will the garment last for a long time or will it be torn by the time mid-season comes? If not, the buyer should not see buying that item as an investment but as a means of luring a client into buying something which will not cost much because it doesn’t stand on good principles. If you do not a afford something that will have a higher price tag go second hand or in some cases to those stores that get what is left over from collections around the world.
A healthy production chain will take all these factors into consideration to make something well, will keep asking questions and be involved, for the sake of both the maker and that of the buyer.
Fast Fashion on the other hand disconnects a healthy production chain since the above criteria does not apply. The important thing when manufacturing happens fast is how to get something from idea to rack as soon as possible. Things have to be produced quickly and when that happens you do not have time to think about details like workers and needs, but on how to get the product sold quickly and often. Unfortunately, this has been happening so much for such a long time that the fashion industry has created a self imposed high-demand that they ‘have to’ cater to.
Fast Fashion is about bulk production and when you produce things in bulk you will end up with cheaper things and less quality of garment and of labor conditions. Factories in under developed countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh or India have been producing a lot as those markets charge much less than a developed country and that’s what you need when you want to produce a lot. These markets have gotten very good at production, but also at accepting the little they are getting because otherwise they would not get paid at all.
That is just what fast fashion needs – an excuse to keep producing the same fast way and make the most for themselves “Because they ARE earning something, right?” Well, not enough. And when electricity is out and they been spending all day at the sowing table waiting for it to come back with kids on the floor next to them and electricity never came they will not get paid that day. No excuses. The approach needs to be smarter, not harder and the production lower and slower.
Maybe we cannot say we will stop buying fast directly, but we can start thinking about how to improve our spending habits. Start considering other aspects related to slow fashion like stopping clothing from going into landfills which means buying in a second hand store or in a store that sells what is left from previous collections from developed markets. That will save many items from just being thrown away and polluting our planet.
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