The term slow fashion can be applied across a broad spectrum. Generally speaking it is used to describe fashion that has been upcycled, handmade, recycled or repurposed. Secondhand or preloved clothing (including vintage) are all considered forms of slow fashion.

Photo by Elle DS Photography.

Slow fashion can also be used to describe garments that are made from materials which have minimal impact on the environment (such as hemp or bamboo) or where sustainable farming practices (such as the use of non-toxic dyes) are used.

Slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion in that it is conscious, sustainable and ethical. Here’s some more comparisons between slow and fast fashion:

Mass produced, ordinarySmall batch produced, unique
Synthetic materials (rayon, nylon, polyester)Sustainable materials (hemp, bamboo, recycled)
Factory madeHand made
On trend, short term fashionTimeless, enduring style
Cheaper, shorter lifeMore expensive, longer life
ImportedLocally produced
Workers exploited (unfair trade)Workers supported (fair trade)
Lower qualityHigher quality

Another major benefit of slow fashion is that it reduces waste. Clothing, fabrics and materials that might otherwise be destined for the bin are intercepted and given a new life, and end up being used meaningfully instead of ending up in landfill.