Is Slow Fashion Always More Expensive?
By Elyse Hart
Some people are reluctant to make the switch from fast fashion to slow fashion, thinking products that are ethically and sustainably made are too expensive. I’m here to dispel that rumor.
First, allow me to introduce myself. I’m a Los Angeles based personal stylist and blogger at Dust to Stardust, a blog I started to document my personal journey to become a more conscious fashion consumer--on a budget! While it’s true that many slow fashion brands can be quite expensive, so are many fast fashion and non-sustainable designer brands (for example, Michael Kors was given the lowest rating in sustainability by Rankabrand.org). But it is equally true that there are many slow fashion brands that are affordable or even less costly than fast fashion brands.
Above you’ll find a comparison I’ve put together to show you that sustainable, ethical fashion doesn’t have to mean more expensive fashion. The t-shirt on the left is from a fast fashion brand while the t-shirt on the right is from a slow fashion brand. In this particular example, the fast fashion tee actually costs $5 more. Why is this? Is the style better? In my opinion, I think the styles are equally nice.
What about the materials?
Is the fast fashion tee made with better quality materials? Quite to the contrary, the fast fashion tee is made from rayon and spandex, which are cheap materials that shrink and lose shape easily while the slow fashion tee is made from 100% organic fair trade cotton, a high quality material that withstands many wears and washes. Fair trade organic cotton also uses up to 95% less water to produce, does not pollute the environment with toxic pesticides, and earns farmers a premium to invest in social development projects and fight poverty in their communities.
Perhaps the fast fashion tee costs more to make because it was manufactured in a factory that pays higher wages and has higher safety standards for workers? Wrong again! At least I think so--it’s impossible to know because this brand was rated as one of the companies with the lowest supply chain traceability (0%-10%), according to the 2018 Fashion Transparency Index published by Fashion Revolution, an organization dedicated to increasing ethical standards in the fashion industry. To compare, the slow fashion brand manufactures its products in India near where they source their organic cotton and promises that its factories are sweatshop-free and child labor free.
When it comes down to it, even if the slow fashion tee was the more expensive product, I’d be willing to pay for it because this product is going to last me longer, which costs less over time, and I can rest assured that it was ethically and sustainably produced.
To get you started with some ethical, sustainable clothing and jewelry brands that are affordable, check out PACT, Threads4Thought, Glassons, and Bidiliia. Share your favorite affordable slow fashion brands in the comments and follow me on Pinterest to get more great ethical and sustainable fashion and living tips.