Fast vs. Slow Fashion

by Connor Dunn
April 20, 2022

The fashion industry can be separated into two main categories: fast and slow fashion. Fast fashion is a term commonly used to describe the mass production of clothes by large fashion brands, often with poor working conditions and serious, long term effects on the environment. Conversely, the slow fashion movement was created to combat clothing mass production. 

Fast Fashion

In the fashion industry, trends cycle rapidly. In order to keep up with the demand and production of the latest trends, large fashion companies began outsourcing their production to cheaper locations. This skyrocketed their profits, and justified their choice. Thus, the term “fast fashion” was coined. 

Fast fashion typically takes advantage of outsourcing production to locations with poor employee benefit laws, in order to keep costs down while continuing to produce clothes at the level required. Workers are often underpaid and subject to long hours to meet the demands of their employer. Additionally, their processes are extremely harmful to the environment. Natural materials have a longer time to produce, so companies have taken to using synthetic fibers in many of their garments. This process is cheaper, but comes with significant environmental impact. The poor production practices, chemicals, and toxins used in the production of synthetic materials for the clothes have devastated regions around the world. The polyester used in clothing takes decades to decompose, and the dyes used in the coloring and waterproofing process have seeped into the local water supply. 

Slow Fashion

Slow fashion was devised to be the counter to fast fashion. Slow fashion focuses on sustainability, with an extreme emphasis on a minimal environmental impact. Materials used are often locally sourced and organic, leading to a lower carbon footprint in their harvesting and preparation. Slow fashion pieces are produced in small numbers, with the designers occasionally creating them by hand. These pieces are higher quality and much more durable than their fast fashion counterparts. 

In slow fashion, it’s pretty slow. The materials are grown in their natural habitat and sustainably harvested, to reduce environmental impact. The processes used in creating and dyeing the garments don’t include any toxic chemicals or materials, as well. This longer process ensures a higher quality garment that will outlast anything made in fast fashion. Additionally, fast fashion brands typically have initiatives to help restore the environment. Slow fashion brands such as Allbirds and Patagonia are known for their give back initiatives, while being committed to ethical practices in their production process. Companies in slow fashion also pay their workers fairly, focusing on the wellbeing of their employees. Slow fashion is the complete opposite of fast fashion in everything but industry. 

Slow fashion comes with a higher price and longer wait time, but is a much more sustainable path for clothing production. The harm that fast fashion has done and continues to do to the environment is offset by the efforts of slow fashion, working to balance the environmental impact. Slow fashion provides a way for a sustainable future in the fashion industry. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOr
Connor Dunn is Fifty Six’s Business Development Coordinator. While Connor considers himself fun and laid-back, he brings the energy to everything he does. Living in multiple cities has helped him gain tremendous insight into different perspectives, which he tries to bring to every challenge he faces. He might be a “have a good time” kind of guy, but don’t let it fool you- between the lines or in the workplace, his drive to be successful trumps all. @connordunn35
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Fast vs. Slow Fashion

by Connor Dunn
April 20, 2022

The fashion industry can be separated into two main categories: fast and slow fashion. Fast fashion is a term commonly used to describe the mass production of clothes by large fashion brands, often with poor working conditions and serious, long term effects on the environment. Conversely, the slow fashion movement was created to combat clothing mass production. 

Fast Fashion

In the fashion industry, trends cycle rapidly. In order to keep up with the demand and production of the latest trends, large fashion companies began outsourcing their production to cheaper locations. This skyrocketed their profits, and justified their choice. Thus, the term “fast fashion” was coined. 

Fast fashion typically takes advantage of outsourcing production to locations with poor employee benefit laws, in order to keep costs down while continuing to produce clothes at the level required. Workers are often underpaid and subject to long hours to meet the demands of their employer. Additionally, their processes are extremely harmful to the environment. Natural materials have a longer time to produce, so companies have taken to using synthetic fibers in many of their garments. This process is cheaper, but comes with significant environmental impact. The poor production practices, chemicals, and toxins used in the production of synthetic materials for the clothes have devastated regions around the world. The polyester used in clothing takes decades to decompose, and the dyes used in the coloring and waterproofing process have seeped into the local water supply. 

Slow Fashion

Slow fashion was devised to be the counter to fast fashion. Slow fashion focuses on sustainability, with an extreme emphasis on a minimal environmental impact. Materials used are often locally sourced and organic, leading to a lower carbon footprint in their harvesting and preparation. Slow fashion pieces are produced in small numbers, with the designers occasionally creating them by hand. These pieces are higher quality and much more durable than their fast fashion counterparts. 

In slow fashion, it’s pretty slow. The materials are grown in their natural habitat and sustainably harvested, to reduce environmental impact. The processes used in creating and dyeing the garments don’t include any toxic chemicals or materials, as well. This longer process ensures a higher quality garment that will outlast anything made in fast fashion. Additionally, fast fashion brands typically have initiatives to help restore the environment. Slow fashion brands such as Allbirds and Patagonia are known for their give back initiatives, while being committed to ethical practices in their production process. Companies in slow fashion also pay their workers fairly, focusing on the wellbeing of their employees. Slow fashion is the complete opposite of fast fashion in everything but industry. 

Slow fashion comes with a higher price and longer wait time, but is a much more sustainable path for clothing production. The harm that fast fashion has done and continues to do to the environment is offset by the efforts of slow fashion, working to balance the environmental impact. Slow fashion provides a way for a sustainable future in the fashion industry. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOr
Connor Dunn is Fifty Six’s Business Development Coordinator. While Connor considers himself fun and laid-back, he brings the energy to everything he does. Living in multiple cities has helped him gain tremendous insight into different perspectives, which he tries to bring to every challenge he faces. He might be a “have a good time” kind of guy, but don’t let it fool you- between the lines or in the workplace, his drive to be successful trumps all. @connordunn35
BACK TO FINDINGS