Sustainably Chic

Slow Fashion for Climate Change | One Solution to One Major Problem

FashionNatalie Kay

With Vogue's September Issue,

NY Fashion Week, Back-to-School Shopping and the start of the beloved Fall Season, this is the perfect time of year for a discussion on the Fashion Industry's effect on Climate Change. We can no longer ignore this, and we can no longer sit by and wait for change. Since we all share a 'need' and most often a 'want' for clothing, this is the easiest place to start when dealing with the issue of Climate Change - in our own closets! Maybe your first reaction will be "but, I can't afford sustainable clothing" or "ethical clothing is not fashionable". Well, good news, I'm hear to tell you you can afford better clothing & you can look great in it.

The Slow Fashion movement is just as hot and beautiful looking as its Fast Fashion counterpart, but, yet, it keeps its workers, the environment and your health in mind. Fast Fashion is fooling you and selling an idea you can only be accepted if you have the latest trends or a new outfit for every event. We no longer have an appreciation for the garment, the worker or the art. As consumers who fall victim to this trap, we are only feeding the pockets of a very few select individuals while creating hostile work environments and damaging ecosystems. We can collectively say "NO" by casting a vote in the opposite direction. 

My friend Savannah from Sustainable Directions  is the fact checker & numbers lady {she did an awesome job on the chart below, no?!}, and according to her findings, we can't keep the Fast Fashion industry up. Change is imperative and we want to make it easy for you...

Next time you're shopping, ask yourself a few {important} questions:

1. What's the Fabric? 

  • There are thousands of brands who care about the fabrics they use. Many brands, even, upcycle discarded fabrics! Fabrics to look for: Organic Cotton, Bamboo {Lyocell is better than Viscose}, Hemp, Tencel, Modal, Linen & Recycled Polys. Of course, these fabrics can all have their fair share of corruption so its critical to understand the brand's ethos before purchasing.

2. Where's it From? 

  • It's important to know who made your clothing, and the carbon footprint on exporting and importing goods. Under no circumstances should the person creating your garment be suffering or unable to feed, cloth & educate their children. In order for us to be a truly sustainable world, we have to uphold basic human rights of safety and well-being {health}. By compromising on safety in the workplace {which many Fast Fashion companies are guilty of} we are lowering a standard of living for us all. By poisoning waterways and ecosystems with toxic chemicals needed to create Fast Fashion garments {not to mention, putting those nasty fabrics on your skin} we are undermining the health of millions of people. This is NOT okay, and someone needs to be held accountable for the sicknesses, deaths and suffering. Also, the majority of our goods are shipped from the other side of the world creating a rather large carbon footprint. I'm all for supporting impoverished nations and purchasing goods to help boost their economies {ie Fair Trade, artisan-crafted goods}, but Fast Fashion suppresses these vulnerable communities and profits only benefit themselves. 

3. Where's it Disposed? 

  • So what happens after you've worn the garment into the ground {I mean this quite literally, hah}? Most of our garments sit there releasing harmful chemicals into the air - not to mention, they usually sit in a developing country littering their streets. Can you imagine all of us giving away around 70lbs of clothing a year?!  We all say "I'm going to throw things away" or "I'm going to get rid of things", but in all actuality, 'throwing away' and 'getting rid' never really goes away. You make it someone else's problem. Out of sight, out of mind - right?! Well, maybe, we need to change our way of thinking. This starts with buying less. Yes, most of us put a lot of value on having fashionable clothing - that is totally okay! We still need to think more about our purchases and make more time for truly recognizing a well-made responsible product.


Going through all of these steps takes time & leads to slower purchasing - the very essence behind Slow Fashion. We all need to slow down a bit on the consumerism, don't ya think?! I think once you find more meaning behind your garments, you will find an appreciation and value you can't experience with Fast Fashion. Plus, your Earth will thank you!!!! With rising temperatures, melting icecaps and threat to animal species, how can we not look at our current habits and try to figure out a more responsible way of enjoying the things we value most?!

So, where to begin your sustainable fashion journey from here...

Sustainably Chic has curated a wonderful list of brands you can help support in this necessary movement of Slow Fashion, as well as lists featuring different price points and looks. Also, Savannah took some lovely photos of me styling responsible outfits so you can see just how fashionable Slow Fashion really is :D {click links below}

15 Affordable Sustainable Clothing Brands | 7 Contemporary Sustainable Clothing Brands

Fair OOTD: Green Street | Fair OOTD: All About the Makers

Want to find more information on the topics discussed? Head on over to Savannah's article Fashion & Climate : It's Trending Now. Have Netflix? The True Cost is the documentary I wish was out 5 years ago when I started talking about this movement. It shows you up-close and personal the impact the Fast Fashion industry has on the Earth & its people. A real tear jerker, so get the wine and hankies out. & perfect timing, fellow ethical blogger Alden just posted a great read on Newsweek!! 

Good luck on the new journey {or good luck keeping the course!}