Fashion in the Fast Lane: The conundrum of fast fashion vs slow fashion.

What is Fast Fashion? Well according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: fast fashion “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers”. And according to Wikipedia: says “Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year.”


While Slow Fashion is described as (according to Wikipedia): “the alternative to fast fashion and part of what has been called the “slow movement”, advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.”

Now it’s no secret that I’m one of fashions biggest fans, however my conscience does play a major part in the big picture of it all. Most people don’t think much about their fashion choices when they see a clothing item that appeals to them, including me (guilty as charged). Now the conundrum: low-cost/low-quality (fast fashion) vs. high-cost/high-quality clothing (slow fashion).

Both have their pros and cons, both have their respective “must have” item trends. We often find ourselves purchasing fast fashion to satisfy our instant gratification needs (wants) that we’ve seen on the runway, or in a magazine that resonates with our sense of style (disposable). At other times, we find that we are saving up, and or breaking the bank to purchase a higher price point fashion item (slow-fashion) that will be a staple in our wardrobe for some time to come (investment).


Very seldom do we consider the moral implications of our choices in the fashions that we buy (for some, not at all).  Do we consider the factory workers that work long hours, for low wages, and in most cases in unsafe conditions? Do we think about how the use of synthetic materials (acrylic, polyester) impact our environment when just after a few wears our “fast fashion” items are discarded? Just in the U.S. alone 11 million tons of trashed clothing was dumped in landfills in 2010 releasing methane gas into the atmosphere and causing global warming by the decomposing synthetic fabrics. When do we think about that? Do we want to?  No not really, we just want to look good, and feel good in the latest fashion trends!


As I stated before……I Too AM Guilty of this. But I also must heed what my conscience dictates just as much as the runways at fashion week. Now fast fashion is not going anywhere, anytime soon and neither is slow fashion (and I’m not sure if I want it too). But what I Can Do is be more responsible with my fast fashion choices. Instead of throwing my disposable fast fashion items in the trash, I can donate them, drop them off or send them to a recycling facility to reduce my carbon footprint on the earth. I can shop more at vintage stores. I can spend more on slow fashion and shop less, and constantly look for ways to balance my fast fashion/slow fashion ratio.


To be honest, there is not hard and fast answer to this troubling conundrum. However if we all care just a little, maybe if we tried, we can make it just a bit better!







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