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The Slow Fashion Movement: Why Designers and Small Retailers Now Have More Opportunities
With issues such as workers’ rights, sustainability, and animal welfare gaining increasing attention from consumers, clothing brands are finding themselves under pressure to take action. The fashion industry is now held accountable for being the second largest polluter on the planet, significantly contributing to water pollution, waste accumulation, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Consequently, shoppers are turning away from fast fashion labels, as well as some designer names whose practices continue to show disregard for prevailing environmental concerns. And the approach is having an effect. More and more brands are shifting to eco-friendly material options and adopting sustainability policies in order to appeal to consumers.
Every year, an increasing number of shoppers is deciding against purchasing mass-produced clothing, and a new trend is emerging – that of slow fashion. The term stands for clothes produced with an ethical and sustainable approach that benefits both consumers and producers. Considering that buyer awareness is at an all-time high, greatly in thanks to online resources such as Good On You, small-scale brands are finally getting the recognition they deserve, reaching customers who are ready to invest in eco-friendly pieces.
But material sourcing is not the only reason slow fashion is becoming popular. To a number of men and women, its main appeal is its durability.
Pieces that fall under this term tend to be handcrafted, durable, and timeless, which ultimately means that they can be worn time and again, without going out of style. They also tend to go through more rigorous quality control, and are produced mainly in the USA, Canada, or EU, where standards are higher than in most developing countries. Furthermore, these items are likely to come with readily available repair services or even lifetime warranties, as is the case with the activewear brand Patagonia.
Additionally, with a higher consciousness regarding the origin of their clothing, buyers are doing more in-depth research before purchasing, turning to social media and online communities to share recommendations with like-minded shoppers. And it’s not surprising that this is where designers are getting the most exposure.
The hashtag #slowfashion appears almost 6 million times on Instagram, while the related #sustainablefashion isn’t too far behind, at over 5 million uses. Out of all social media platforms, Instagram is perhaps the best space for both established brands and emerging designers to reach audiences, mainly because it provides visual content that is easy to consume.
But Instagram promotion is not the only way. A rising number of concept stores are opening up, offering sustainable clothing, footwear, and accessories. Content Beauty & Wellbeing is one such example, backed by actress and activist Emma Watson. The store stocks a selection of labels, offering affordable worldwide shipping to anyone interested in making a purchase.
Similarly, small retailers who offer items by local designers are also benefiting from the increased consciousness of shoppers. These brick and mortar boutiques have a substantial advantage over online stores and social media, mainly because they allow shoppers to check and experience the quality of what’s available for purchase.
Displaying both male and female models of slow fashion garments, these small retailers are offering shoppers the opportunity to visualize themselves in high-quality, durable, and stylistically timeless pieces they can buy without guilt. Furthermore, they have the unique opportunity to host events, including fashion shows featuring local designers, as well as educational lectures on the importance of ecological conscience in the fashion industry. These small but significant opportunities are essential in bringing the movement to a broader audience, and consequently, exposing new names to wide masses.
As the demand for eco-friendly brands increases, so will the opportunities available for those willing to go with the times. After all, the very fact that fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M are launching committed campaigns and using recycled and green materials is telling of the fact that this is what more and more consumers want.
All in all, we’re witnessing a movement that is placing up-and-coming businesses at a great advantage – instead of greenwashing their image, they are able to build a loyal following of buyers who are ready to pay above average for clothing that is going to last.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.