What is Fast Fashion, and Why is it Time to Slow Down?

In a society focused on consumerism, we are encouraged to buy the trendiest piece, at the lowest cost, and with the quickest delivery date. Fast Fashion has become the norm, and a popular buzzword in the sustainability world. But with every action, there is a reaction. In order to combat the unethical and unsustainable practices associated with Fast Fashion, the Slow Fashion movement was born. So what does all of this mean anyway, and why does it matter?

Fast fashion is the, “design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing” (The Good Trade). This industry-wide trend has resulted in negative impacts on the environment and laborers. The nature of the Fast Fashion world makes it so that corporations outsource their manufacturing to foreign countries in order to stretch their profit margins. The majority of the Fast Fashion workforce is underage women who work long hours for minimal pay and are not offered protection or benefits in any way. In order to meet their demanding production targets, manufacturers often force their laborers to work unpaid overtime in extremely poor conditions where their health is at risk (Factory Exploitation and the Fast Fashion Machine). The health of garment workers is always in jeopardy due to the long hours, unfair wages, lack of resources, and even physical abuse. People are aware of the Nike sweatshops, but there are many more brands violating human rights for the sake of fashion (The Good Trade).

The reaction to this unethical industry is Slow Fashion, defined as “unifying sustainability with ethics, and ultimately inviting consumers to invest in well-made and lasting clothes” (The Good Trade). This movement works towards creating an industry that benefits the planet and all people. Slowing production down will take pressure off of demanding targets and in turn create better conditions for laborers. Ideally the thoughtful, high-quality products made will shift the consumers’ perspective of fashion and encourage minimalistic wardrobes and investing in lasting pieces.

SleepSwag has taken an active part in slowing down by creating quality over quantity products that are ethically-made and designed to last. All of our products are either handmade by our founder, Susan Kitson, or manufactured by local, woman-owned businesses that pay their employees a living wage. Our Crystal Mists, Room and Body Mists, and Aromatherapy are handcrafted by Susan, our Silk Sleep Masks are manufactured by Excelsior Sewing, and our Lavender Eye Pillows are manufactured by Ames Cut and Sew. Work done by hand takes less energy than a mass production assembly line, which makes it more environmentally sustainable. In addition to locally-made products, SleepSwag uses reusable and environmentally friendly packaging.

Beyond being more mindful of the brands you support, there are organizations that advocate for labor rights who serve as educational resources, such as:

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