Fast vs Slow Fashion Differences: Finding a Sustainable Pace

Giada Nizzoli

(last updated at )

Fast vs Slow Fashion Differences: Finding a Sustainable Pace

Fast fashion vs slow fashion: if you’ve heard these terms separately but aren’t too sure as to what they mean, let’s look at both together.

Understanding the difference between fast vs slow fashion

Fast fashion and slow fashion are two polar opposite ways of producing, marketing, and consuming garments.

What is fast fashion... and why is it bad?

Fast fashion clothes

Fast fashion consists of mass-producing lower-quality clothing at unsustainably low prices to follow catwalks’ ever-changing trends, pushing consumers to buy new clothes every season (or more often!) and discard ‘old’ ones.

Therefore, the main problems with fast fashion are:

  • A terrible environmental impact: to cut costs, fast fashion companies employ poor manufacturing practices such as adding dangerous chemicals, choosing fabrics with a bad environmental footprint (e.g. traditionally grown cotton or plastic-derived polyester), or discharging untreated wastewater into the rivers of developing countries 
  • Unsustainable waste: by encouraging consumers to revamp their wardrobe every few months or weeks, fast fashion leads to around 92 million tonnes of waste a year
  • Unethical labour: another way for fast fashion to cut costs is to outsource garment creation to factories in developing countries where fair working laws can easily be bypassed. The result? Child labour, sweatshop, and abuse to garment workers who are trapped in modern slavery conditions

To really open your eyes to the horrors behind a seemingly innocuous £2 t-shirt, here are the fast fashion documentaries that we’ve found most helpful.

What is slow fashion?

Slow fashion clothes

The term slow fashion was coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007 when she described a model that’s all “about choice, information, cultural diversity and identity. Yet, critically, it is also about balance.”

Basically, slow fashion is an eco-friendly and ethical alternative to the clearly unsustainable cycle of fast fashion: it involves higher-quality clothes often made by hand while taking both the planet and garment workers’ rights into account.

Instead of following trends, slow fashion clothes are timeless and made to last for several years.

Is slow fashion and sustainable fashion the same?

The core idea behind slow fashion and sustainable fashion is the same: a mindset shift from fast fashion’s overconsumption to fewer items produced ethically. 

To understand the nuances between these and other seemingly interchangeable terms,  check out our guide to sustainable fashion.

Let’s embrace slow fashion!

Ethical slow fashion dungarees

How you can make a difference by switching from fast to slow fashion

Because slow fashion involves more sustainable fabrics and production methods, you’ll be reducing the environmental footprint of your clothes and, by breaking free from fast-changing trends, garment waste, too.

You’ll also be supporting ethical companies where garment workers are paid fair wages and guaranteed safe working conditions.

How to switch from fast to slow fashion

  • Stop seeing your clothes as disposable
  • Start saying HECK YES to repeated outfits and repurposing garments in creative ways
  • Buy clothes that you actually need and that were made sustainably by brands that are transparent about their supply chain
  • Look after them to help them last even longer
  • Create your own style instead of following trends

Best news? You’re in the right place!

We created Project Cece to make it easier for eco-conscious consumers like you to switch from fast fashion to slow fashion.

Instead of having to scout for small ethical stores all over the web and ending up with dozens of headache-inducing tabs, you’ll find over 400 fairtrade brands in one place.

You can then use our filters to focus on what sustainable fashion truly means to you.

Now that you understand the difference between fast vs slow fashion, let us help you take the right first step!

Shop slow fashion garments

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Project Cece is a platform that collects ethical fashion from vetted brands and shops in one place. Browse ethical fashion for women and men and find items that fit your style, budget and values!

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