Sustainability has been a hot topic these past few years, and for good reason. As a response to destructive fashion industry practices, an eco-friendly option has emerged in the form of slow fashion. Also called 'sustainable fashion', slow fashion advocates for quality products produced under ethical circumstances with as little environmental impact as possible. This practice has clear benefits for the planet and industry workers, but ditching fast fashion brands can also be healthier for the mind.
Before we go into the mind-fashion connection, let’s take a look at some industry facts:
Current practices: Fast fashion
If slow fashion is the solution, then fast fashion must be the problem. "Fast fashion” is a term used by retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. Unfortunately, these cheap, but stylish clothing brands are also the most damaging to the environment. They use up a lot of resources such as textiles and water. The Guardian also mentioned the problem of waste or run-off which is laced with chemicals and harm the local water sources near the factory(s).
Most Western brands manufacture their products in underdeveloped or Third World countries where the resources are vast and the labor is cheap. This also brings up the socio-economic issues of unfair wages, child labor, and deplorable work conditions. Fast fashion brands are always looking to cut costs even when it comes at the expense of their laborers.
How slow fashion helps your mind
1. Becoming a conscious buyer
For starters, cutting your ties with fast fashion will give you peace of mind. You are not contributing to the awful practices behind famous labels, and that can be liberating in itself. Secondly, switching to slow fashion brands can radically change your lifestyle for the better. Plume recently discussed decluttering after watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Minimalism is consistent with the slow fashion lifestyle as it asks you to be more conscious about buying products — an activity that, for many of us, often comes impulsively.
2. Does it spark joy?
Marie Kondo, author of the self-help book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, believes that happiness cannot be found in our material possessions. In an opinion piece she wrote on The New York Times, she explains the importance of asking one important question when choosing to purchase or let go of a product: Does it spark joy?
This applies to clothing too. Do those new pair of pants make you happy or are you simply buying them because it’s the newest design? Eventually, you start to figure out the things that really make you calm and happy. By doing so, you can spend more of your time and resources focusing on those joy-inducing things rather than those that don't matter.
3. Less stress, more time
Did you know that the average woman spends 17 minutes choosing an outfit? Harper’s Bazaar surveyed 2,000 men and women and found that 62% of the women became frustrated and 21% argued with their partners because of it. It’s very telling the hold that possessions — in this case, our clothes — have over us, to the point that they can drive us to anger. In line with a minimalist lifestyle, slow fashion means that we only buy the things we need. As a result, our closets will be purged of the things we don’t and dressing becomes much easier.
4. Making others happy
For many, decluttering or giving away what you own, can be a difficult task. However, you can choose to recycle some of your clothes so that they won’t end up in a landfill. Pretty Me also suggests donating your clothes to charity for the less fortunate to make use of. Often, the reason we don’t part with our things is because they’re still in good condition and we might end up using or wearing them again someday. Knowing that they’ll be put to good use by someone who needs them more than we do might make the choice easier, and our lives much happier.
Written by: Amber Crystal for www.plumescience.com