By Samantha O. Jacinto
I recently completed a major closet overhaul.
I’ve decluttered and donated about 70 percent of my clothing to Goodwill, making sure I was only left with items I actually use and make me happy. The feeling was great until I realized my closet was missing basic pieces that make it easier to whip up a decent outfit.
In finding some inspiration on what items I needed to build a comprehensive wardrobe, I came across the slow fashion movement. Unexpectedly, this has completely changed how I will be purchasing clothing for the rest of my life.
The slow fashion movement encourages consumers to buy quality clothing less often from transparent companies that value sustainability and ethical work practices. Think of it as buying clothing from the organic section of the retail store.
The advertising industry has created an incessant need of want by bombarding us with strategically placed ads on the internet and other various forms of media. As it relates to fashion, our capitalist society puts so much value in attaining the hottest trends and styles ” as seen on celebrities or prominent figures.
People get so mesmerized. They don’t even stop to discern whether the items they purchase have longevity or purpose. Thus, major fast fashion retailers are producing cheap, poor quality clothing to keep us satiated in the short term, but increasingly hungry in the long term.
Since fashion is one of the most labor reliant industries in the world, it comes to no surprise fast fashion companies outsource labor from third-world countries to squeeze costs and compete in the market space.
Sadly, this comes at the price of inhumane work practices, including child labor, long working hours, low unlivable wages and poor working environments for factory workers.
Just recently an article from Newsweek said that customers from the major fashion retailer, Zara, found notes from Turkish factory workers hidden in their clothing saying, “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.”
It can be daunting to find a solution to the pervasiveness of the fast fashion cycle, but in truth the answer on our part as consumers is simple: mindfulness.
All of our individual purchasing choices matter. They serve as a vote for the values we want to uphold in society. It is never too late to vote for quality instead of quantity ” moving the general purchasing trend to slow fashion.
To cast our vote for slow fashion, first we must do our research. Look for companies with ethos at its forefront Considering the nature of slow fashion manufacturing, critics often say avoiding fast fashion retailers can be expensive and impractical.
Companies like Everlane and Grana, for instance, have ethics and sustainability at the crux of their business model by working with reputable factories that employ humane work practices.
Granted, their pricing is more expensive than traditional fast fashion brands, but with t-shirts starting at $16, the brand certainly does not cost an arm and a leg to afford.
More relevant is the fact these companies value transparency. They list a breakdown of the cost of goods, labor and markups for each product, enabling consumers to know exactly where the money trail is going.
Another simple way to support slow fashion is to use clothes that have already been disposed of by shopping secondhand.
If there are no thrift shops nearby, using online secondhand marketplaces like Poshmark, ThredUp and Vinted is another way to buy and sell specific clothing items to people who are actively looking for them.
Finally, The Clothes Closet at the Career Center is a great resource for second-hand professional attire donated by faculty, staff, students and work professionals alike. Swing by between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. to check it out.
My closet is nowhere near perfect, but now I am more aware of its potential to be sustainable and to reflect the values I live by.
Maybe it’s time for your own closet overhaul ” this time with slow fashion in mind.
Valerie Mancia / The Poly Post
Retailers are producing cheap, poor quality clothing to keep us satiated in the short term, but increasingly hungry in the long term
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