Did you know that only 5-6% of all clothing that is produced in the world is actually worn? The other 95-96% is warehoused, stockpiled, and otherwise awaiting its fate. Even though this may sound like a harsh reality, it’s a fact that we as consumers need to be aware of.
Because of this, fast fashion has become the industry standard in the fashion world. And for good reason too, it allows brands to quickly produce designs, and sell them at a high volume. This means that you have a higher chance of finding your favorite items the moment they’re released. But there’s a downside too.
With fast fashion, you don’t get the same quality or uniqueness as you’d get from slow fashion. And you don’t have to worry about that either, because there are ways you can take action and make a difference.
This article will explore the pros and cons of fast fashion vs slow fashion and how you can make an impact.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is an industry term that refers to clothing that is usually made in just a few months. These brands usually have seasonal collections and make their items available for purchase in just weeks or months after they’ve been released. This is why it’s referred to as “fast” fashion.
The reason why this industry term is often used is because it’s the current trend in the fashion world. All of the best-selling clothing items are quick-made pieces that are available to purchase at any time, not just during the season they’re released.
Often, these pieces are also made in a larger quantity than the standard designs. As a result, they can be found in various sizes, styles, prices, and colors. This allows fast fashion to be accessible to almost everyone.
However, fast fashion encounters many controversies as its production process is guilty of harming the environment and exploiting cheap labor.
Popular fast fashion brands are Forever21, Shein, H&M, and Zara.
What is Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion is another industry term that refers to clothing that is made in an ethical and sustainable way. This means that it’s not made in just a few months, but in a much slower fashion.
Typically, simple designs are used, and less fabric is used in the finished product. This helps to make the item last longer, and use less energy to create.
To keep it simple, brands use designs that have a single purpose and color. This helps to keep the industry of slow fashion simple so that it can be sustainable for all to use.
That’s why much of the time, slow fashion can be seen as boring or dull, despite being way better for the environment.
There are not many popular slow fashion brands that have set the stage just yet.
The Pros of Fast Fashion
- Quick Production: This industry term refers to the fact that fast fashion is usually made in just a few months. Because of this, the items are produced in a quick fashion. As a result, they can be released to the market with little to no delay.
- Accessibility: With fast fashion, you can find trendy items that are produced in just a few months. This means that anyone can shop for new clothes, regardless of their income.
- Variety: Another reason why fast fashion is so popular is because it allows for a lot of variety. This means that you have a lot of choices to make when it comes to each season’s collections.
- Cost Efficiency: With fast fashion, you’re getting a lot of items for your money. This means that you’re not likely to spend as much, thus allowing you to buy more items over time.
The Cons of Fast Fashion
- Poor Quality: A downside to fast fashion is that it’s not made for the long term. This means that you’re not likely to find high-quality items the way you would with slow fashion.
- Uniqueness: Another downside to fast fashion is that it isn’t as unique as other options such as thrift shopping or upcycling. Because of this, fast fashion pieces are usually found in many different stores across the world.
- Unethical and unsustainable: Finally, the most important downside to fast fashion is that it can be damaging to the planet and workers. This is because it’s not made for the long term and low profit margins lead companies to take advantage of cheap labor and materials that do not last long.
The Pros of Slow Fashion
- Durability: An upside to slow fashion is that the items are durable. This means that the items are made from a simple design, and less fabric is used in the finished product. This helps to make the item last longer, and use less energy to create.
- Niceness: Another upside of slow fashion is that the items are nice. This means that the items are made using high-quality fabrics and designs.
- Investment: Last but not least, the items in slow fashion are an investment. This means that the items are made to last, are made to last a long time, and are made to be passed down to future generations.
The Cons of Slow Fashion
- Simplicity: The downside to slow Fashion is that it’s often too simple. This means that the items are often made using simple designs and a small amount of fabric is used in the finished product.
- Cost Efficiency: The last downside to slow fashion is that it’s often not cost efficient. This means that most of the time, it’s more expensive than fast fashion.
- Niceness: Lastly, this industry term refers to the fact that the items in slow fashion aren’t nice enough to be considered a true investment. This means that most items in slow fashion aren’t worth their price tag.
How You Can Make an Impact with Fast Fashion or Slow Fashion
While the industry of fast fashion is currently very popular, the industry of slow fashion is also growing. In order to make an impact with this industry trend, consumers need to be aware of the differences between the two.
This is why it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of fast and slow fashion as a fashion consumer. By doing this, you can make a more informed decision when it comes to how you shop for clothing.
Additionally, consumers can encourage fast fashion brands to switch to slow fashion. By doing this, you’re helping to spread the word about slow fashion. This means that it’s a great way to make an impact with this trend.
The Final Word: Should You Buy Fast or Slow Fashion?
The best way to decide whether you should buy fast or slow fashion is to shop the sales for slow fashion and make an effort to wear your clothes for longer. You can often find great deals on slow fashion items at discounted prices during these sales.
But what if you aren’t a fan of neither fast nor slow fashion?
It’s totally understandable if you don’t like the popular slow fashion brands you come across because they don’t match your style, but it’s important to understand how wasteful and unethical fast fashion can be.
To get around this, try upcycled clothing. This is new clothes made from used or unwanted materials, without needing to go through a chemical or mechanical process required for recycling textiles. Upcycled clothing is a great option for those who want to express themselves but not at the expense of the planet, and you can find many options by visiting the online marketplace of upcycled fashion here.