It’s a term that is becoming more and more popular in the fashion industry, but what does “slow fashion” mean? How can we incorporate this philosophy into our daily lives?

This weekend I read an article in Vogue India about the importance of adopting more sustainable fashion consumption practices. And, I got to thinking that even if we consider ourselves conscious people who care about the environment, oftentimes our actions don’t reflect that.

These days, we hear expressions like “eco-fashion,” “sustainable fashion,” and “slow fashion” all the time, which has made a us bit numb to what these terms actually mean. Many brands are using these terms on their collections without being transparent about their manufacturing processes; some only do the bare minimum to be more sustainable.

The first thing we should do if we want to understand sustainable fashion is learn what each of these terms means.

  • Eco Fashion: Lessening the damage to the environment with clothing production that uses recycled or organic fabrics.
  • Ethical Fashion: The primary concern is human and animal rights, and it seeks to ensure that the entire process is ethical, from the creation to the sale of the product. 
  • Slow Fashion: The counter to Fast Fashion. It means buying fewer, better quality items that will last longer and whose production was ethical from start to finish.
  • Greenwashing: When a company tries to look sustainable and “green” by making small changes instead of significant ones that would reduce their impact on the environment.
  • Upcycling: When we give our clothing a second life by altering an old piece or reusing it in a different way.

Now that we’ve cleared up the terms, I want to talk about the Slow Fashion movement, which asks us to stop buying just to buy and to make sure that everything we buy is something we really love and will be in our closet for a long time. In addition, clothing should be high quality and the product of socially- and ethically-responsible practices. It may sound difficult, but it’s not impossible to adopt this kind of philosophy in our lives.

Here are some steps we can take to adopt a lifestyle based in Slow Fashion. The first is to reduce consumption. But, don’t panic; it doesn’t mean that you’ll only be able to wear what’s in your closet. Just make sure that anything new you buy is something that will last for more than just a season.

Secondly, try to reduce your consumption of Fast Fashion brands. Instead, buy sustainable, ethical brands; buy local, or look for pre-loved or vintage pieces.

We should also think about what to do with the items in our closets we no longer want. If you don’t love something anymore, don’t just throw it away; try selling it or giving it to someone who will wear it. If you don’t want to donate or gift items, try transforming them with some kind of alteration. For example, you can change the fit of a jean jacket to make it look more modern or make it into a vest by cutting off the sleeves.

Finally, try to buy clothing made from natural fabrics. If you end up throwing them away, they will degrade more quickly than synthetic pieces. Remember that it’s always better to donate or sell a piece.

I’d like to share some Latin American brands that have caught my attention because they are making a change in the industry with regard to sustainability.

Cihuah

This Mexican brand founded by French designer Vanessa Guckel gives us structured designs and clean lines. In addition, one of the pillars of the brand is to be sustainable. Her Bioartex project consisted of making clothing from a biodegradable bacterial cellulose fabric. She also recently launched a collection of bags made from nopal fibers, giving us a more ethical alternative to leather.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/cihuah/

Nous Étudions

This Argentinian brand has revolutionized fashion. Their vegan pieces and made-to-order program helped make them the first Argentinian brand to become a finalist for the LVMH Prize. Their genderless, minimalist designs make every piece a staple but at the same time a statement piece. Their pieces have the power to transform a look.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nousetudions/

Carla Fernández

This Mexican designer has made her eponymous brand into a name synonymous with the celebration of artisanal and textile culture in her country. Each of her pieces is made by indigenous communities using recycled materials and natural techniques to dye fabrics. This way of working highlights the exceptional craft of the artisans and generates high-quality pieces that can be passed down from generation to generation.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/carlafernandezmx/

Escvdo

This Peruvian brand modernizes ancestral techniques in timeless designs. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and made by women artisans. The brand seeks to contribute to the local economy and empower women by giving them access to financial independence. What’s more, the materials they use are 100% natural and their extraction processes have zero impact on the environment or animals. 

IG: https://www.instagram.com/escvdo/

Caralarga

This Mexican brand started out as a jewelry brand with necklaces and earrings that were real conversation pieces. Now, it offers home décor products as well as clothing. Their items are made with raw cotton and discarded textiles. I love the idea of creating something beautiful from what was once considered trash. They also use fibers from the sansevieria plant and recycled bull’s horn. Every material is transformed by artisans into unique pieces.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/caralarga_mx/

There are many other brands like the ones I’ve mentioned, in Latin America as well as in other parts of the world. Some that come to mind are Stella McCartney and Gabriela Hearst or the loungewear brand Pangaia, which revolutionized the industry with its fabric and production technologies.

It’s important that we start to become more conscientious and learn more about what we’re buying. We already do this with our food and we should also start doing it with our fashion. I think that many of us haven’t adopted a Slow Fashion mindset not because we don’t want to but because we don’t know what it means.

From here on out, I’ll be practicing Slow Fashion in my life: buying less but better quality and making sure that anything new I buy will be in my closet for many years to come. I’m sure my daughter will want some of these pieces when she gets older and any pieces I don’t love…well, stay tuned because I’ve got a little surprise for you!

XO

Sira

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