With sparkly come-hither Xmas windows the High Street beckons. Look how they've made it nice for us, they want us to look really pretty and on trend.... or do they...
High Street clothes are made as quickly as possible, with every corner cut, profit is the driving force behind every stitch. Marketed to be quickly used and disposed of, these throw away clothes give ever-higher profits to the big fashion chains who feed on this wasteful and cyclical and cynical consumption pattern. We are all positively encouraged to buy cheap one off pieces, weekly or daily, and then purge our wardrobes every season, it's International Fashion Bulimia by any other name.
But, let's be very clear about this, fast fashion isn’t really about speed, but greed: selling more, making more money, with time, labour, and natural resources are neglected in the pursuit of maximum profits.
Within corsetry, the market is saturated with cheap satin corsets from China, and leather corsets from India. And these corsets are all over Ebay, and all over those cheap corset shops, and women's sex shops.
Yet the satin or leather in super-cheap, ‘value’ or fast fashion corsets is no quicker to make or use than any of my corsets, and it takes just as long to sew, and cut. So how do they get such low prices?
Well, short lead times and cheap clothes are only made possible by exploitation of labour and natural resources. Sweat shops, pesticides, pollution, child labour and animal cruelty are just some examples of how fast fashion chains and, by extension, retailers maintain their high profit margins on the super cheap stock that they sell.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can design a different system for ourselves that makes money while respecting the rights of workers and the environment, and produces beautiful and conscientious garments.
Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better.
Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based.
Slow is not the opposite of fast – there is no dualism – but a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities and ecosystems.
Before you go out and buy brand new outfits, have a quick look at the Three point Slow Fashion checklist:
1. Turn your back on mass produced fashion (AKA "Fast-Fashion" or "McFashion") by buying from local designers, artisans and second hand shops. You'll be supporting small local business.
2. Choose sustainable clothing made with sustainable fabrics, ethically made and built with love to last a lifetime. Disposable clothes - the whole idea is being sold to us so that we buy more. More items, more often.
3. Choose quality garments that will last longer, transcend trends (a "classic" style), and are repairable.
Clothes are for life, not just for Christmas.