Slow fashion is defined as,
“Slow Fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste”
The crux of slow fashion is, of course, buying quality over quantity. Spending $$$ instead of $ or even $$ on an item that will last you a number of years. It’s going for classic pieces rather than the latest (throw away) trend.
This is all well and good and we should all aspire to indeed purchase less bad quality stuff and go for things that have been ethically produced and will last longer. However not all of us (and by that I mean, myself) can afford $$$. Of course, slow fashion also means buying less frequently and making a purchase only when absolutely necessary. Yet I wanted to see how I could practice slow fashion by making the most of what I’ve got in my closet at the moment (which is another attribute of slow fashion); I’ve come up with the following, easy to do and common sense tips.
20 ways to get the most out of your existing wardrobe
- Sort your laundry – Lights, Darks, and delicates
Wash your delicates by hand. Not only is this more hygienic (you can make sure it’s washed properly) it also saves them from being torn to shreds in the washing machine – meaning you replace them less often.
- Use LESS detergent
More detergent doesn’t always mean cleaner clothes, but it does mean that your clothes appear worn out and threadbare faster. Not to mention too much detergent also ruins your washing machine.
- Check the label for special care instruction and follow them
There is a reason for care instructions on a garment.
- Don’t overload the washing machine
Overloading the machine means clothing rub against each other and there is a lot of wear and tear to them. Also overloading the machine means your clothes don’t get washed properly.
- Wash clothes inside out
Keep your clothes from looking sad and tired after a few washes by washing them inside out.
And if you really love your clothes, try and wash the softer/easier items by hand and leave heavier/harder items such as jeans for the washing machine.
- Be very careful with bleach
Common Sense. Bleach is a very strong solution, and once it spills on clothing and leaves an ugly white spot (bleaching out all colour) there’s no going back. Also using bleach on your clothes once again wears out the fibers.
- Let clothes dry out in the Sun
Drying your clothes out on a line or rack in the sun is the best and does no harm to your clothes. Using tumble dryers not only uses up large amounts of energy driving up your energy bill but also causes clothes to shrink and wears them out faster.
- Use good hangers
If you hang your clothes, the use of wooden hangers is recommended over wire hangers or even plastic.
- Fold heavy clothing (rather than hanging them)
Heavier items like thick sweaters should be folded rather than hung, to avoid the hanger leaving an ugly stretch mark on the top of the sweater (as it’s weight pulls it down)
- Store clothes with a few sprigs of lavender (if possible) to keep away moths
This is especially necessary for winter clothes that go into storage as the weather warms up.
- Zip, button, close
Experts say that by zipping zippers, buttoning buttons and generally closing clothes that can be closed, we can protect their shape.
Wear and Tear
- Repair, Repair, Repair
Here’s a good one. Instead of throwing out anything that’s missing a button, has a ripped strap or a hem coming undone – or even clothes that may have ripped and developed a hole somehow – darn it, sow it, mend it. Believe me, it gives you such a lovely feeling to be able to do that and continue to wear something, instead of going out and buying a new one.
- Try to remove stains on clothing as soon as possible
The sooner we get to a stain and try to remove it before it dries up, the better the chance of actually getting rid of the stain.
- Use a stain remover pen (if possible)
Stain remover pens are not always freely available everywhere. But if you find one, get it and keep with you for emergencies.
- Wear an apron when cooking or doing messy work
Again this is common sense. If you are cooking or doing any sort of work that can leave an unsightly splatter on you or rather your clothes, then protect them by wearing an apron.
- TRY to wash your clothes less often, unless really dirty or smelly
This is one I am not too sure about myself. We are so used to washing everything we wear – no wonder our clothes look so tired and faded. But it does make sense that if something is not dirty and / or smelly then perhaps wear it once more before washing it.
With the exception of underwear, socks etc of course. Always wash these items.
- Know your iron
For those of you who actually use your iron 😉 – often – learn the settings. Use the correct temperature for each type of fabric you are ironing. Avoid having those ghastly shiny burn marks on your clothes.
- Use a dye bath to rejuvenate faded darker clothes
This is something I found very interesting and I’m waiting to try it out on a pair of black jeans I have that have faded to a sort of grey. Apparently, you just mix in the dye and water and soak you darker, faded clothes to give them a new life (please follow directions given on the packet).
Making a purchase
- Buy second hand
If there is a gap in your wardrobe that needs filling, first try to buy good quality, second-hand items.
- Buy ethically produced good quality items
Finally, if you must buy new, then it’s quality over quantity, but try to also pay attention to the production process.
Just google “unethical fashion brands” and the lists of brand names that come up will shock you. It’s not a nice feeling when you read that a brand you’ve regularly purchased from is known for producing their garments using sweatshops, or are using cotton and other natural fibers that are heavy on the planet. Or that a luxury brand that charges exorbitant prices for their merchandise actually don’t’ pay fair wages to the worker in a poor country where their products are manufactured.
It’s equally shocking when you find out that a cheaper department store chain has taken great strides in becoming more ethical in the production of their clothes and other items (although they still have a way to go, at least they have started to make a change)
On a side note – Stay away from buying clothing items from various websites. Anyone who has purchased something from these dodgy sites can vouch for the fact that the actual item looks and feels NOTHING like the picture online. The garments don’t fit well, the designs are most likely stolen from somewhere and are produced by exploiting some poor community of people to boot. So why support that? Vote with you $ and say no.
So there you go, a very practical and easily do-able (i think) list of tips on how to practice slow fashion every day.