The Death of Fast Fashion – Slowing Down for a Fashion RevolutionKate Stuart
Kate Stuart is a practicing artist, writer and craftswoman based in the North East of England. She specializes in up-cycling, zero waste living, quilting and painting with acrylics on canvas. She owns The Phoenix Green Store, which is moving towards becoming Newcastle upon Tyne’s first zero waste store. Join her for a week of blog posts and social media conversation to highlight the importance of change in both the fashion industry and consumer habits.
“Slow fashion“, is a phrase first used by Kate Fletcher, a pioneer in the sustainable fashion movement and Professor of Sustainability, Design and Fashion at London College of Fashion. In an article published by The Ecologist in 2007, she compared the ecologically/sustainable/ethical focus of those pushing against the mainstream fashion industry to the slow food movement. It’s also a phrase which calls to mind the exact opposite of “fast fashion“, a term used by the mainstream fashion industry and those opposed to it, used to describe the globalized mass production of garments designed to last only one season, produced at speed, and with little or no consideration for the environmental impact of either the people making the garments, or the materials they use. Yet as Kate says, slow fashion is not the opposite of fast fashion but rather:
“slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better. Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based (which has some time components). 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.” Kate Fletcher, The Ecologist, 2007.
What slow fashion is the opposite of, is planned obsolescence. Eleven years after Kate Fletcher coined the slow fashion phrase, we are still battling the mountains of waste produced by brands that put profit over people and the planet, and by consumers who want the next best thing in fashion *right now*, regardless of the socio/economic/environmental impact. But across the globe, there are those who are beginning to vote with their feet, or rather the clothes on their back, and step away from products that are made to be broken. Looking for transparency, looking for conscious sustainability, looking for a supply chain that is fair, and looking for brands that support #peoplenotprofit and who ultimately want to produce garments that are going to last is what the ethical consumer is after these days. Compassionate, conscious, circular fashion is already here, just not mainstream enough for most of us to notice unless we look hard. Creating pressure for brands to make it visible, and to offer consumers transparency requires something of a revolution, and certainly a focused, directed fight.
Fashion Revolution Week, 23 -29th April is a key player in this fight for a better, more circular business model in fashion, and has been referred to as a “pro-fashion protest“, gaining pace with over 78k followers now on Facebook alone.
Fashion Revolution week began as a response by founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro to the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, where on April 24th, 1138 people were killed and more than twice that number injured. Demanding that the fashion industry offer transparency in their supply chain, once a year Fashion Revolution prompts consumers to ask the question #whomakesmyclothes, and challenges brands to respond with #imadeyourclothes.
Fashion Revolution, a Community Interest Company, say this about their work:
“We celebrate fashion as a positive influence while also scrutinizing industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues. We aim to show that change is possible and encourage those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion.
Fashion Revolution strives to be action-oriented and solution focused. Rather than making people feel guilty, we help them recognize that they have the power to do something to make a positive change.”
We will be joining the march towards a fairer, sustainable, more ethical fashion future with blog posts and social media coverage throughout the week. Come and join the revolution!
Fashion Revolution Week is happening 23rd – 29th April 2018. Find out more about why we need a fashion revolution here.
“No Serial Number Magazine is committed to supporting the slow down and preservation of of our collective environmental and artisanal heritages from unsustainable production practices and corporate greed. No Serial Number Magazine is a humble attempt to explore how human creativity, nature and activism intersect in contemporary society.“