How to Stop Fast Fashion and Embrace Slower Fashion

Woman stops fast fashion by embracing a slow fashion outfit with simple blue jeans and no top

The Year is 2100, and what was once Earth, a vibrant planet full of life, has deteriorated into a giant pile of fashion waste.

The plastic chunky rings and patchwork micro trends that had their chokehold on us decades ago, now litter the sidewalks and streets, creating a grim, dystopian landscape. An accumulation of clothes from Shein Try-On Hauls climb to the top of the atmosphere, even surpassing the peaks of Mount Everest. In a desperate bid to salvage what is left of our planet, world leaders are contemplating the radical idea of launching discarded fast fashion into outer space.

How to Stop Fast Fashion: Navigating the Pitfalls

You might be thinking that this outrageous, post-apocalyptic world is far from what the future may hold. But that reality gets closer to the truth when you hear the United States throws out more than 34 billion pounds of used textiles every year; the aftermath of fast fashion contributes to landfill waste and environmental pollution.

Thankfully, the world hasn’t been overrun by one-season rejects quite yet. As we continue to learn more about the effects of fashion over-consumption, the choices we make today will shape the world for tomorrow and beyond. The question is, how do we escape from the clutches of fast fashion when it has already infiltrated our most sustainable efforts? Promoting sustainable practices are a crucial step to stopping fast fashion.

Fashion quotes that says "Even the most committed to stopping fast fashion can find themselves trapped in the vicious cycle"

The Challenges of “Less is More”: The Dangers of Impulse Buying

Stopping fast fashion begins by exploring what is already in your wardrobe. In the pursuit of incorporating sustainable fashion into your life, we often hear the mantra “Less is More”. It’s a concept that encourages us to make the most of what we already own and to resist the urge of overconsumption.

But what happens if you open up your closet and all your clothes are unwearable? Maybe your 18 to 22-year-old self only bought teeny tiny crop tops from Forever21 that were more suitable for the college bars than the office. Or you’ve fallen prey to too many flashy online sales and now have a closet full of poor-quality, impulse buys.

The truth is, even the most committed to stopping fast fashion can find themselves trapped in the vicious cycle if they don’t have a solid foundation to work with. It can be frustrating and difficult to break free if your wardrobe is filled with impulsive purchases that are bound to fall apart after one season. To truly embrace the “Less is More” philosophy, it is essential to examine slower fashion to assess the longevity and versatility of each garment.

Fast Fashion Takeover: A Closer Look at Thrift Store Realities

Amid the challenges of stopping fast fashion, secondhand shopping has emerged as a sustainable alternative, offering a chance to transform the fashion landscape. Secondhand shopping includes buying preloved clothes to give them a second life and keeping them out of landfills. However, while flipping through the racks at your local donation center, you may have come upon the painful realization: Your second-hand stores are filled with the same cheap clothes that fill your closet!

Goodwill and Salvation Army, once treasure troves of high-quality and dependable clothing, are now overflowing in fast fashion. In 2022, there was an alarming 186% increase in Shein fast fashion items reported from the online consignment store ThredUp, leading to concerns about the age of thrifting and decline of quality clothing available for resale.

The dark side of thrifting is that only 25% of the donated clothes ends up going to a new home. The rest of the neglected items will be sent to textile processing centers, and shipped overseas. Even so, a small percentage still won’t be saved from the landfills, ultimately contributing to environmental strain and diminishing the potential for a meaningful second life. This harsh reality prompts a critical examination of the efficiency of secondhand shopping as a solution to stopping fast fashion and calls for a more nuanced approach to achieving a truly circular fashion economy.

How to Stop Fast Fashion: Embracing Slow Fashion

Far too often, fast fashion gets stuck in our closets, even in our most eco-friendly efforts, whether it’s in our personal closets or second-hand stores. As we grapple with the rise of fast fashion infiltrating our sustainable efforts, it’s essential to begin understanding the aspects of slowing down fashion. If you’ve exhausted your previous sustainable attempts but are still trying to find high-quality pieces for your wardrobe, then the next step is to consider shopping for new clothes. 

New clothes, you say? Yes, you read that correctly, even for sustainability’s sake. But with a fresh, new perspective known as Slower Fashion.

Fashion quote that says, "Stopping fast fashion focuses on building a collection of clothes you will love for the rest of your life".

How to Stop Fast Fashion

Stopping fast fashion focuses on building a collection of clothes that you will love. But not just in one year, five years, or ten years. No; every piece of clothing you buy, you buy to cherish and care for it throughout the rest of your life.

The key to quitting fast fashion involves thinking of your clothing purchases as building a long-lasting relationship. And it becomes your responsibility to love it and care for it. Before you leave the store, it’s important to decide whether the cost, not only to your wallet but to the environment, is justified. It may feel daunting to shop for clothes with the responsibility of having it for the rest of your life. However, with the Slower Fashion principles, you’re not only investing in your style but also the future of our planet.

Slower fashion’s emphasis on building a lasting connection with your wardrobe is not just a personal choice; it’s also a crucial solution to the environmental challenges posed by fast fashion. Mindful fashion enthusiasts curate a collection of clothing intended to stand the test of time and halt fast fashion, which contributes to the overflow of landfills and thrift stores.

By adopting the principles of the Slower Fashion, you actively participate in stopping fast fashion. Instead of constantly buying new and trendy items, you invest in timeless pieces that endure, reducing the demand for mass-produced, short-lived clothing. Mindful fashion fosters a sense of responsibility and intentionality in the way we approach our clothing choices for the benefit of both personal style and the planet.

Stopping Fast Fashion means being mindful of yourself.

The first principle of the Slower Fashion focuses on understanding yourself and your signature fashion style. In a world overflowing with endless fast fashion trends, it’s easy to lose sight of your individuality. Slower Fashion encourages you to take a deep dive into your own identity and discover a personal style that is true to you. This is a powerful tool that allows you to filter out the noise of fleeting fashion trends and focus on pieces that resonate with your originality. By embracing this principle, you are not only making choices that are authentically yours but also contributing to a more sustainable and meaningful relationship with your wardrobe.

Stopping Fast Fashion means educating yourself

The second fundamental principle of Slower Fashion highlights the importance of educating yourself about high-quality materials and long-lasting garment construction. In a world full of cheap and disposable clothing, this principle emphasizes investing in pieces designed to withstand the test of time.

You don’t need a fashion design degree to have a foundation of knowledge. However, incorporating the second principle encourages you to become a more insightful consumer who values quality over quantity. When considering a new piece of clothing, it’s crucial to assess several factors.

First, examine the materials used, considering the environmental impact and longevity. Additionally, evaluate the garment’s wearability and how well it aligns with your lifestyle. Pay attention to garment construction quality, rejecting items with evident flaws such as crooked seams or pilling, as this ensures a more sustainable and durable addition to your wardrobe. By doing so, you will contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry that values durability, craftsmanship, and the responsible use of resources.

Stopping Fast Fashion means taking responsibility

The final principle of Slower Fashion emphasizes the responsibility of caring for your garments. While selecting intentional, high-quality clothing is essential, it is equally critical to ensure its longevity through proper care. It extends beyond initial use, emphasizing the conscientious consideration of end-of-life responsibilities. This involves exploring avenues such as repurposing or recycling to ensure an ethical and sustainable approach to the lifecycle of clothing. By treating your garments with the respect they deserve, you help extend their lifespan, reduce waste, and promote a more sustainable fashion culture.

By changing the narrative to fashion by stopping fast fashion, we not only benefit our style but also contribute to the greater goal of environmental responsibility and a fashion industry that values durability and quality. Slow fashion empowers us to leave behind the era of disposability and create a world where every piece of clothing is cherished and valued, just as it should be. It’s a journey towards a future where our wardrobes are not only timeless but also an integral part of stopping fast fashion for a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle.

Let’s fast forward back to the future…

Fast fashion no longer overflows into our landfills and Earth is grateful for this resolution. Instead of contributing to that asteroid wasteland of discarded clothes, we’ve taken a giant leap towards more responsible consumption and a sustainable future. One where our choices have resonated far beyond our closets and into an empowering movement. Now, we have stopped fast fashion and humans live in a world where Slow fashion is the norm.

Picture this: the garments you purchased 50 years ago are still hanging in your closet, as beautiful and cherished as the day you bought them. Some of these pieces even catch the eye of your future grandchild, who can’t wait to incorporate them into their wardrobe. And the best part? In this world, you’re the stylish and eco-conscious grandparent, who helped ignite the slow fashion movement it is today.

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