The Fast Rise of Slow Fashion

How And Why to Dress Sustainably


Allie Hollin, Staff Writer

Ten percent of our world’s carbon emissions come from the fashion industry. The clothes that we buy, wear and discard everyday are one of the biggest contributors to pollution.

For teens today, trends rise and fall faster than you can say “climate change.” While keeping up with these ever-changing trends may be something that most high school students strive to do, it is not the best for our planet. 

The increase of collections and styles offered by brands every year to follow trends has resulted in a surge of wasteful clothing habits. The average amount of clothing purchased per person increased by more than 60% from 2000 to 2014.

Water waste is another prominent issue; 2,720 liters of water are needed to make a single T-shirt, while jeans require almost 10,000 liters. Then, the dying and treatment processes pollute lakes and ecosystems with toxic chemicals. Once the clothes make it to your home, each washing contributes to the 500,000 tons of microfibers found in the oceans.

Slow fashion is a modern solution to the opposing “fast fashion” by using previous generations’ ideals of small-business and small-quantity clothing. It focuses on purchasing a small amount of high-quality, versatile, and timeless pieces that can be reworn and restyled for years to come.

1. Shop consciously

While going to the mall is a fun way to spend the weekend, make sure you head out with a goal in mind. Avoid brands like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21, which make low quality items at a cheap or sale price to convince you to make impulse purchases. 

2. Quality over quantity

Items that are of high quality will last a long time, keeping them out of the landfill for as long as possible. While they may be more expensive, shopping from sustainable and high-quality brands like Reformation, Alternative Apparel, and Re/Done is the best way to go for basics and new clothes. However, thrift and vintage stores, as well as using reselling and secondhand clothing apps like ThredUp or Depop are an excellent option for finding secondhand pieces at a reasonable price to avoid new materials altogether. Check out Harriton environmental club’s online thrift shop on instagram @hecpop for gently used items at a great price and send them a DM if you are interested in donating or purchasing!

3. Stick to the basics

Simple clothing provides a great base layer for any outfit and creates classic look that can fit almost any occasion. A few essential wardrobe items are all you need to stay fashionable and sustainable, as they are easy to pair, restyle, and be dressed up or down. 

4. Layers!

Prioritize practical items that serve a purpose, like for warmth or durability, and layer them. A few statement pieces can easily up-cycle these simpler base layers to make them seem different every time. For example, layering a dress over a long-sleeve shirt can keep you warm and fashionable in the winter without having to purchase a new warmer dress that will only be worn once.

Slow fashion is the eco-friendly solution to helping fast fashion make a quick downfall.