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Fast Fashion, a word that in recent trends we have been hearing a lot about. In one of her recent interviews with Vogue, Greta Thunberg, calls out fashion industry leaders for ‘green washing’ themselves. The interview excerpt was later put up on her instagram account, where she called out the fashion industry for being the biggest contributor to climate and ecological emergency.
The truth behind fashion industry wastage and how it is dealt with is not hidden. The term fast fashion can loosely be described as trendy clothing which takes inspiration from catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments at highstreet stores, with a speed that meets the consumer demand. This in turn makes sure that the manufacturing, marketing and design industry becomes focused on producing volumes of clothes at a rapid pace.
The result is exploitation; be it of natural resources including animals and nature or of our fellow humans. With the amount of clothes discarded, be it because of the cheap quality or change in trend, also ensures that we end up harming the environment and becoming the primary reason for climate and ecological hampering.
Solution? The exact opposite, ‘Slow and Sustainable Fashion’. Although, what exactly is slow fashion, how can men be able to adopt it and change the narrative? If these are some questions swirling around your head, we insist you to read on.
What is Slow Fashion?
The term got its recognition mainly when it was used by the author, designer, activist and professor Kate Fletcher. The term was defined by the author as ‘quality based rather than time based’. She explained that the movement is similar to the principle of ‘slow food’ where good quality, clean environment and fairness to both consumer and producer are the pulse of the matter.
Although, slow fashion in its very essence is a reaction to fast fashion based industry. It is a movement where people are conscious about their choices and are against the exploitation of resources, animals, and humans. The movement is based on the principle of ‘fair treatment for all’.
Slow fashion is a thoughtful and intentional approach to work towards creating an industry that can benefit everyone. The idea is to involve and empower local artisans while using eco-friendly material, which promotes higher quality clothes that last longer. The movement also believes in equitable treatment of people, animals and the environment.
In recent years, with the world trying to become more conscious about different things, including what goes in our bodies and what we wear, the fashion industry has also seen a shift in the consciousness of its consumers. According to the ‘Pulse Fashion Industry 2019 report, ‘the fashion industry has improved its social and environmental performance from last year’. However, the same report also mentions that ‘this performance rate is slower than the previous year and the industry still remains far from sustainable’.
Companies are still burning many tonnes of unsold garments per year and are not implementing enough sustainable solutions to counterbalance the harm that we have already done to our environment. According to Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the global fashion industry produces about 53 million tonnes of fibre every year, more than 70 per cent of which ends up in landfills or is incinerated and less than 1 percent of which is reused to make new clothes.
Even the production of this many clothes is not eco friendly, the amount of water and chemicals used can definitely engulf our planet, leaving us all to the verge of extinction. With the consciousness increasing in the young minds and people shifting to more eco-friendly and sustainable ways, the question now arises is what is the need of the hour and the role of men.
Men and Slow Fashion
Yes, the general perception is that men are not exactly concerned with what they wear and when. Although, I really insist you to go back on that statement and think hard, real hard. The times have changed and the fashion choices have evolved. We are no longer living in an era where one pants suit or a jeans and tshirt could be the go to for all events and occasions.
Mens fashion has seen the light of the day and has become as fast as the whole industry. Men sport different looks for different occasions and are now fashion conscious. Let me give an instance, a certain male in my domain, let’s call him ‘Male A’, is obsessed with different brands of shoes and hoodies. This obsession goes to the point that Male A, goes and buys these items as according to what their celebrity crush wears them in their movies or otherwise.
The instance is not just observed about one in a million instances of a male but has been an observation of the trend of following what is trendy, in fashion and worn by celebrities, by the young generation. Today’s men are fashion aware and prefer to be with the trend.
Well, the cost of this is that more and more young men are falling into the trap of ‘fast fashion’. While the old generation faced the stereotype of men not being fashion conscious or interested in shopping, it also made sure that men at that time were unconsciously choosing the path of sustainable and slow fashion, where one garment was seen as the epitome of fashion and used multiple times. The great thing about men’s wardrobe at that time was the fact that it was full of timeless pieces, the men of that age unconsciously became pioneers of eco-conscious consumers.
While this stereotype of men being not interested in fashion and shopping is fast eradicating, it is also bringing a generation of men more open and closer to ‘fast fashion’. The only solution to this again is to prepare men and young adults to the harm of fast fashion and make them aware of what can be done while making sure that their choices and fashion sense does not get hindered.
In our attempt to give men that option, we have curated a list of slow and sustainable fashion brands around the globe, which are trying their best to be eco friendly and are conscious about the slow fashion movement.
Giving clothing solutions to many, B Label is the clothing line of Bombay Hemp Company. The brand takes a ‘green route’ and the clothes are made of natural fibres which are even UV Ray resistant. The clothes offered are stylish, elegant and leave no carbon footprint behind.
A planet positive brand that creates clothes and many other things for both genders. The clothes are manufactured in a fair trade factory and the products are entirely made in the country. The design and fashion trend is minimalistic and also size inclusive.
Bridging the gap between traditional, modern, and comfort dressing, DaMENSCH offers a wide variety of clothing which is long lasting. The brand also offers a 500 day warranty on the fabric, making sure to run against the ideas of fast fashion.
Based out of Colorado, the brand specialises in basics with 100 percent cotton that is manufactured ethically from fair trade certified factories. The products are sustainable and last the test of time.
A Canadian brand providing breathable men’s cotton basics. The company follows a unique process where they partner and collaborate directly with family run farms in Egypt and Portugal. The company also assists its suppliers to switch to organic farming and provides them with a fair living wage.
If apart from comfort, organic and sustainable living, you are also looking forward to adding that pop of colour in your clothes, we recommend you Boden. While also being part of Ethical Trading Initiative, the brand is committed to fair trade, responsible sourcing and ethical practices in all their factories.