Earth Day isn’t the only day on which we should consider our impact on our earth, but it is a great opportunity to bring awareness and momentum to movements that are trying to slow the damage done by the human print.
At MZ we enjoy aspiring to be a part of the Slow Fashion movement – a group of producers and consumers who have made the decision to be conscious about how they take part in the fashion industry.
Photo Credit: Fair Fashion Forward Facebook
Unfortunately, the fashion industry poses a serious threat to sustainability. From burning through fossil fuels in production and transportation, contaminating water sources with pesticides, destroying forests for cotton crops and introducing synthetic fibers into our environment. Additionally, the garment industry has been under extreme scrutiny for the human rights violations in the living and working conditions of the workers throughout the world, perhaps most famously demonstrated by the collapse of Rana Plaza.
The term Slow Fashion was coined by Kate Fletcher of The Centre for Sustainable Fashion to represent all things “eco,” “ethical” and “green” in one unified movement. It compares fashion to the Slow Food experience, which encourages taking time to ensure quality production, to give value to a product and contemplate the connection with the environment.
Photo Credit: Fair Fashion Forward Facebook
A set of “Slow Fashion Values” were created in order to better shape the actions of designers, producers and consumers who don’t want to be a part of an industry that causes such societal and environmental damage. Researchers from the Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability program in Sweden have recommended the following Slow Fashion Values, which I have summarized.
1. Seeing the big picture
Slow Fashion producers recognize that all actions are interconnected within larger ecological and social systems.
2. Slowing down consumption
Reducing raw material use by decreasing new fashion production allows ecosystems to regenerate. Slower, well-timed production plans also improves the working conditions for garment workers.
Slow Fashion producers strive to maintain ecological, social and cultural diversity, which offers solutions to climate change and environmental degradation. Diverse and innovative business models are encouraged; independent designers, larger fashion houses, second-hand, vintage, recycled, fashion leasing, your local knitting club and clothing swaps are all recognized in the movement. Keeping traditional methods of garment and textile making and dying techniques alive also gives vibrancy and meaning to what we wear and how it was made.
4. Respecting People
Participating in campaigns and codes of conduct can help to secure the fair treatment of workers.
5. Acknowledging human need
By telling the story behind a garment or inviting the customer to be part of the design process, the needs of creativity, identity and participation can be satisfied.
6. Building relationships
Collaboration and co-creation ensure trusting and lasting relationships that will create a stronger movement.
Slow Fashion brands focus on using local materials and resources when possible and try to support the development of local businesses and skills.
8. Maintaining quality and beauty
Encouraging classic design over passing trends will contribute to the longevity of garments, as will sourcing high quality fabrics.
Slow Fashion producers need to sustain profits, and increase their visibility in the market to be competitive. Prices are often higher because they incorporate sustainable resources and fair wages.
10. Practicing Consciousness
This means making decisions based on personal passions, an awareness of the connection to others and the environment, and the willingness to act responsibly. Within the Slow Fashion movement, many people love what they do, and aspire to make a difference in the world in a creative and innovative way.
Check out the Fair Trade Values in their entirety posted by Fair Fashion Forward HERE.
It isn’t always an easy decision to buy a dress from a local designer when you could get a seemingly similar version for $20 from Forever 21. Deciding to shop locally instead of ordering an item from China can prove difficult when when the price tag is so much cheaper. But, whenever possible, buying less higher quality items, and ones that are made in classic styles as opposed to trending fashions, will help them to stand the test of time. Investing in a needle and thread can do the same.
Simply educating yourself is the first step. Research the retailers where you shop and find out about their production methods, what kinds of material they use and the human who actually makes the garment.
At MZ we strive to have complete transparency throughout our production process.
Slowing down your buying can mean a higher quality purchase, a fair wage for the worker, and a cleaner planet.
Happy Earth Day.