The Difference Between Fast Fashion and Sustainable Fashion

Fast fashion, a term coined from the market that mass produces cheap synthetic materials for consumers to buy has always flown under the sustainability radar. For many years, consumers praised high product turn over at substantially low prices while they were also being convinced by brands that this was the best way to engage in the fashion industry. Fortunately, as the world started to awaken to issues like environmental sustainability and worker welfare, we all got to see the ugly side of fast fashion and how harmful low-quality, machine-made clothing items can be. With evolving technology and new opportunities to shop online, fast fashion found a new demand in the growing market, and their efforts increased to try and meet the demands of online shoppers looking to save some money. Not only is fast fashion one of the industries responsible for the amount of textile waste that ends up in the oceans and landfills, it is also known to exploit workers and create horrendous working conditions where staff are paid to the penny. This is where the term “sweat shops” come in.  

With a reputation like this, fast fashion is becoming a thing of the past. While the rise in technology use has impacted the speed at which fast fashion generates, it’s also been a way for consumers to become knowledgeable about these issues and how they can change their buying habits. Slow fashion, or sustainable fashion is a term that’s used to identify markets and practices that ethically harvest organic, upcycled, and recycled materials for clothing pieces. Sustainable fashion is long-lasting, environmentally friendly and is aware of working conditions and aims to create a healthy work environment that pays the staff living wages. Because slow fashion is usually hand-made and created with materials that extend the longevity of the clothing, there tends to be fewer collection releases, resulting in clothing that’s one-of-a-kind and not produced to meet the demand of millions. With this practice, your clothing becomes unique and comes from someone who created it with care and dedication to their craft. 


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The only good thing about fast fashion is that it’s able to keep up with growing and changing fashion trends. Clothing is constantly renewed and refreshed, and consumers tend to enjoy having new styles to look forward to. But if you look at the numbers and the overall facts, you see that consumers save a lot more by buying sustainable statement pieces that go with many looks from their closet rather than buying new clothing every chance they get. Clothing pieces that are repurposed and recycled don’t add to the landfill and are usually used for many years by consumers. When you participate in slow fashion, you’re becoming more conscious and aware that the fashion industry plays a big role in our ability as consumers to create a better market experience, not only for consumers, but for workers and ultimately our planet.