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October 20, 2016

guest post - what slow fashion means to me

Kate Gumbrell: My life happens in fast mode. I am eternally busy, I plan down to the last minute, and I hardly ever have a chance to catch my breath. But there is one thing that I make a point of doing slowly… fashion.

A year ago, I had no clue what ‘slow fashion’ meant. Yet, today it seems that ‘slow fashion’ is my new mantra. After watching the documentary ‘The True Cost Movie', I made the decision to limit my clothing consumerism to solely ethically sourced, made, and produced garments. I have always kept my ‘fashion footprint’ to a minimum, spending my weekends at second hand shops and attempting to fix and create my own clothes. However, I still chose to stay ignorant to the effects of the fashion industry on developing countries and the environment. The True Cost was the turning point for me. It hit me so hard that I genuinely felt a physical change in the way I thought, felt, and viewed the fashion industry. It all made sense! After being trained (along with the rest of the world) to expect to buy a dress for $5, I realised that for someone, somewhere, it was costing them their life.

Slow fashion embodies the idea that fashion needs to be taken back to a pace that is sustainable. It is a movement that encourages quality rather than quantity, zero waste, living wages, and low carbon footprints. Livia Firth is the leading figure in slow fashion and the founder of Eco-Age. Livia leads the Green Carpet Challenge in which she encourages celebrities to wear sustainably and ethically made garments when they walk the red carpet. From witnessing Livia’s global impact and influence in the fashion industry, I’ve come to hold Livia as a leading role model in my drive towards ethical fashion advocacy.

“Call it ‘eco fashion’ if you like, but I think it’s just common sense.”- Livia Firth.

There are many inspirational “sustainability warriors” such as Livia Firth, who are out there battling the devastation of ‘fast fashion’. Among them are the ethical brands: Po-Zu Footwear, Azura Bay, Kowtow, Braintree Clothing, and People Tree. These brands consciously craft their garments out of organic materials to create eco-friendly and ethically made clothes that are good for the planet and the people. Wearing their clothes gives me a sense of empowerment. Not only am I choosing to be excluded from the fast fashion consumerism demand, but when people ask me where my clothes come from I am able to tell my story and explain how they too can change their consumerism habits.

Learning about the devastation of ‘fast fashion’ can leave us all feeling disheartened, useless, and underpowered. But through purchasing from brands like these, and putting into action a few mindful steps, we can change our fashion footprint and aim towards a more sustainable fashion future.

Kate's FIVE Tips to a Sustainable Wardrobe:

  • Second hand ~ take advantage of your local thrift stores and never say no to your sister’s hand-me-downs!
  • Fix-it ~ keep a basic sewing kit handy and never let an easily fixed item go to waste.
  • Buy less ~ spend a few hours with your wardrobe and dream up different combos you had never envisioned before. Maybe you don’t need to splash out on a new dress for the weekend after all.
  • Fair trade ~ there are several fair trade clothing brands out there, some of which have already been listed, go check them out.
  • Be mindful ~ don’t let tempting sales pull you in. YOU may be saving money, but remember the human cost.

Read more about Po-Zu's own sustainable approach here

Browse Po-Zu's current collection here