Slow fashion, ethical fashion and sustainability – A no nonsense guide

When I spoke to people about wanting to create STIALL, many expressed their confusion. What was slow fashion? If you’re into sustainability you hate fashion, right? It’s a grey area, so we’ve made it a little easier to chow down.

Heard of these terms but don’t know what’s what? Each term may hold a slightly different meaning to each person, but the overall aim is the same – to create a better fashion industry.


Slow fashion

A term coined by Kate Fletcher in 2008. Fletcher is considered to be a pioneer in “directional sustainability projects”. She explains her understanding of the term as “Fashion conceived of from a different starting point to growth, consumerist fashion.”  Slow fashion is based on the aim to decrease the speed of creation, the rate at which we consume and the rate we dispose of clothing. All this, while also encouraging customers to be more conscious and thoughtful about each and every purchase – we’re talking about items that will last a long time and you can wear often. It’s not only our consumer habits that are concerned in the slow fashion movement, the supply chain is a major factor too. The materials used, the processes, the people behind each item, the functionality and quality. It aims to ensure that clothing is produced with minimal impact on the environment while supporting the people who make the clothes with good working conditions and a fair wage.


Ethical fashion

Ethical is defined as meaning morally right or morally acceptable. The term Ethical Fashion covers a range of concerns. Ethical fashion is about transparency and fair treatment of the environment and people from design to the consumer purchase. Main areas of concern for those involved in ethical fashion is the sustainability of products but also considers where they came from, how they were made and how that effects both people, animals and the environment. The Ethical Fashion Forum describes Ethical fashion as “an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment.”. Furthermore, the group insist that “ethical goes beyond doing no harm, representing an approach which strives to take an active role in poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation, minimising and counteracting environmental concerns.”

Sustainable fashion

By definition sustainability describes the ability for something to maintained at a certain rate or level. The same applies for sustainable fashion. Fast fashion isn’t sustainable in many senses – the quality is often lesser, the environment is suffering and there are workers near and far being exploited. We’re putting a great strain on resources and this pattern cannot continue without repercussion. Sustainable fashion enthusiasts follow much of the same principles as those in favor of slow fashion. Sustainability also focuses on the reuse, re-purposing and recycling of clothing and accessories as a way of reducing the production rate in the fashion industry.


There’s a cross over for sure – each are devoted to a better industry. A fair, more considered approach.




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