Take it Slow this Holiday Season
On the day after Thanksgiving, the world transforms into a consumption machine to celebrate Black Friday. Prices are slashed, lines form at dawn, and people pull out their wallets to buy anything and everything.
We’re not opposed to getting a good deal. But we are opposed to supporting a culture of mass consumption that encourages consumers to buy things they don’t need. On top of amassing items, mass consumption encourages poor working conditions and makes surface-level personal fulfillment the norm. Black Friday means that retail workers lose their holidays, consumers lose time with their loved ones and large corporations have a reason to continue producing low-quality goods.
Thankfully, we’re not alone in thinking that Black Friday is a strange tradition. Communities like the Ethical Hour lean away from traditional Black Friday actions by taking advantage of consumer’s enthusiasm to spend and encouraging shoppers to #shopethicalinstead. REI, an American-based outdoor retailer, closes their stores and online shop and encourage their employees and customers to #optoutside and enjoy the day with their loved ones.
We approve. As proponents of the slow fashion movement, the antithesis of Black Friday, we’re eager to provide garments that long-lasting, fulfilling and environmentally friendly threads are made with love, intention and time.
Slow is the New Black
Some things to keep in mind over the festive season…
We live in a strange time where 16% of the global population consumes 80% of the earth’s resources. According to Kate Soper, Americans are responsible for 25% of the world’s carbon emissions – it’s safe to say that the clothing industry contributes to that number.
The economy, particularly in first world countries, is dependant on encouraging the consumption of material goods. Achieving an ideal lifestyle has become synonymous with acquiring the newest iPhone or purchasing the hottest clothing item of the season. And we’re not to blame – the corporate sector, advertising industry, and big companies push us to believe that consumption = success. But at what cost? Does a consumption mindset justify the intensive extraction of finite resources, unlivable wages for workers and fights at the mall for items on sale?
The fashion industry is worth $2.5 trillion dollars, employs roughly 40 million garment workers, and dictates how we approach our closets. The industry (fast fashion in particular) is also synonymous with worker exploitation, intensive resource extraction, and poor quality garments.
Slow fashion, an offshoot of the slow food practice, is a growing movement that encourages environmentally-friendly clothing production. Since slow fashion is made, well, slow, the garments are designed with quality craftsmanship made to last. It’s an approach to fashion that encompasses all things ethical and eco in one unified movement. Slow fashion prioritizes textile quality, workers rights, the environment and the purity of design.
Slow fashion pieces can be a bit more on the pricier side because of the eco-friendly materials and practices used but lean towards timeless design. The idea behind slow fashion: buy less bad quality clothing & invest in quality pieces. A bonus? Most slow fashion pieces are limited release, so the pieces you pick up will be somewhat unique.
The fact is: the fashion industry is dirty. Pulse of the Fashion Industry reported that the industry is to blame for 1,715 million tons of CO2 in 2015. As one of the planets biggest polluters, following oil, the clothing we wear releases toxic dyes, pesticides and uses incredible amounts of natural resources to fully manufacture a garment. One of the main issues with the clothing industry is the consumption mindset – in Australia, home of a $2 billion fashion industry, 75% of adults throw away their clothing – 30% sent more than 10 garments to the landfill. Those garments that end up in the landfill release methane and are unable to decompose.
A growing number of companies are coming to terms that fashion is detrimental to the environment. They’re adjusting their practices to reflect a commitment to the environment. By making better choices at each stage of production, upcycling materials and rethinking how and why clothing is produced, we’re excited to support up and coming companies. Slo active uses solution-dye, which uses over 75% less water than conventional dyeing, and an environmentally-friendly water based-glue. Resources like Good On You measure the environmental and ethical impact of common brands.
Swimwear is an especially tricky industry. Swimwear is traditionally made with polyester, a cheap, synthetic, versatile material that is petroleum-based. It’s estimated that more than 70 million barrels of oil are used to create polyester on a yearly basis! Polyester, and poly-blend have also been traced to contributing to microplastic pollution, known as microfibers in the ocean. This doesn’t stop here, the microfibres problem is still existent with many ‘eco’ fabrics that are often mixed with synthetics
Neoprene, the material used for bikinis or wetsuits, takes from the environment, from start to finish. Neoprene can either be limestone or oil-based – both iterations require resource extraction, an energy-intensive production process, and glue to bind the seams together. Limestone-based wetsuits are recognized as a more environmentally-friendly alternative, but still requires the use of a finite, non-renewable resource. While neoprene helps us stay in the water longer (especially during cold winters), alternatives like Yulex, a plant-based natural rubber are being used as a more sustainable option. Yulex, the material used for our entire Clean Lines collection, comes from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified by the Rainforest Alliance. This ensures that trees are not grown on newly cut rainforest land, like some of the world’s supply.
SLO active’s Clean Lines Collection drops early February. Stay up to date with us by subscribing to our newsletter.