What is the Slow Fashion movement?
The Slow Fashion movement is a new conscious way of consuming fashion
The Slow Fashion movement has become increasingly popular over recent years as an alternative to Fast Fashion, which has been heavily criticized for its environmental and human costs. As consumers look for more sustainable ways to purchase clothing, Slow Fashion provides a more ethical and eco-friendly solution.
What is Fast Fashion and why is it so negative?
Before investigating Slow Fashion we need to understand Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion refers to the production of inexpensive apparel quickly and in large quantities.
One of the main features of Fast Fashion is the number of collections. While, for example, luxury brands move on two collections per year, Fast Fashion brands produce new clothes with new styles constantly. A consumer who goes to a Fast Fashion store or visit an e-commerce store finds new collections to buy every week. Many of these collections are inspired (if not copied) by luxury brands, but they have extremely lower prices that entice impulse purchases. In addition, the items are usually of poor quality. This means that most of them are quickly thrown away, producing huge amounts of waste. Moreover, the fabrics are often produced using toxic chemicals which can represent a health risk for consumers and workers.
As if that were not enough, to ensure fast mass production, Fast Fashion brands must rely on cheap labor, which means that employees are not paid a living wage or given basic rights, while safety measures in factories are often neglected.
What is Slow Fashion
In contrast, Slow Fashion is about buying quality over quantity, it is focused on fair labor practices and creating items that last longer than a few wears.
Slow Fashion also encourages the use of natural materials and supports craftsmanship and sustainability. This means that Slow Fashion production results in less resource consumption and less waste, making it a preferred option for eco-friendly shoppers. It also values transparency about production processes.
The term "Slow Fashion" refers to the Slow Movement that originated in Italy and encompasses food (Slow Food), travel (Slow Travel), and lifestyle (Slow Living) centered on the quality of experience and products. It was first used in 2007 by sustainable design consultant Kate Fletcher to define a type of fashion that moved away from consumerism.
Benefits of Slow Fashion for brands
Investing in higher-quality materials, ethical production processes, and sustainability can provide a wide range of benefits for brands. Let’s see some of them more in detail:
- Increased Profitability: Investing in Slow Fashion can actually be more profitable for brands in the long run. Since items are generally of higher quality, customers are willing to pay more for them and are prone to repeat purchases.
- Increased customer loyalty: Customers are more likely to come back to Slow Fashion brands for clothes they know will last them for a long time.
- Customer engagement: Slow Fashion customers are typically very engaged with the brand and will be on the lookout for Slow Fashion updates and new products.
- More connections with brands: Slow Fashion labels typically have closer relationships with customers due to their small-scale nature, allowing them to get feedback on products, services, and sustainability practices directly from consumers.
- Brand Awareness: As Slow Fashion becomes increasingly popular, brands that adopt Slow Fashion practices can benefit from increased brand awareness as they become associated with sustainability and ethical production.
- Improved Reputation: Slow Fashion practices result in a better reputation among consumers, but also investors, banks, and government institutions, which are increasingly careful to allocate funds to companies that follow the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (ESG, Triple Bottom Line).
- Access to economic resources: As mentioned above, companies that adopt sustainable practices become more attractive in the eyes of investors. They can obtain useful funds to put toward innovation, digital transformation, and other projects that can improve competitiveness.
- Eco-friendly approach: This business model is focused on sustainability, which means that brands that adopt Slow Fashion practices can reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint by using fewer resources and producing less waste.
Benefits for consumers
Although Slow Fashion items are more expensive than Fast Fashion ones, they also have benefits for consumers. For example:
- Higher-Quality Products: Slow Fashion products are usually made from higher-quality materials.
- Longer-Lasting Wardrobe: Slow Fashion products tend to last longer than fast fashion items and look better over time, meaning that they can be worn for years and help consumers build a wardrobe of classic items.
- A more eco-friendly choice: Slow Fashion brands use fewer resources and fewer chemicals, which means that their environmental impact is much lower than Fast Fashion.
- A more ethical choice: Slow Fashion brands are committed to ethical production and work with factories that provide decent working conditions for employees.
- Support of local economy: Slow Fashion labels often produce locally, helping to boost employment in the local area and strengthen the local economy.
- Increased Transparency: By buying Slow Fashion, consumers can be sure of the origin of garments, as items are often labeled with information about the production and materials, as is the case with garments from brands that have chosen Certilogo. This allows consumers to make more informed decisions about their purchases and support sustainability.
How can fashion brands enter Slow Fashion?
Slow Fashion represents a different approach and that calls for brands to adopt new procedures and tools. One of these is connected products.
Through Connected Products, brands can effectively communicate the value of their garments to the individual consumer. All the consumer has to do is, for example, frame a QR code on the label to access content that explains the origin of materials or production processes. In these ways, they are assured that they have a true sustainable, ethical, quality and durable garment on their hands.
In addition, through connected products fashion brands can offer services that enrich the sustainable consumer experience. For example, repair services, registration to access warranties, customer service, FAQs and garment care instructions, customization services, and resale tools, such as product authentication or placement on re-commerce platforms.
Finally, connected products help develop customer loyalty. Indeed, fashion brands can share personalized content with consumers, such as style suggestions related to the garment, or organize online events and exclusive experiences.
In conclusion, Slow Fashion is a movement that aims to create a cultural shift by educating consumers about the negative impacts of Fast Fashion. At the same time, it provides them with high-quality, longer-lasting products. For these reasons, it is likely to become even more popular in the next future, as markets become more sensitive to the issue of sustainability.