Slow Fashion — How to get better at understanding what it really means?

In the last few years I heard the term “slow fashion” at least few times but somehow, while honoring the importance of what it is all about, I labeled it in my mind in the same compartment as “slow food” — important and have to try soon! And I moved on…My understanding of fashion has changed profoundly since I have started studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology, practicing fashion consulting and writing this blog, which surprisingly to my own self, is very close to what “slow fashion” philosophy proclaims. However, only this weekend thanks to reading a tiny orange book “A Bunch of Things I Did Not Buy” by Sarah Lazarovic, did I realize that slow fashion is a direction that should be actually considered and tested by any conscious fashion consumer.

Via “A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy” by Sarah Lazarovic

In this pocket-size book, beautifully and very funnily illustrated by the author, the reader is taken on an autobiographical tour, which shows the the nature of development of the shopping habits from childhood to early adulthood. It is a bit terrifying to see how universal is the need of a teenager to follow blindly and urgently all the upcoming trends and just buy, buy, buy all those $15 dresses, skirts and t-shirts. Unfortunately, that massive fast shopping movement leads to very sad consequences, i.e. overproduction of cheap quality man-made garments, which are damaging to the environment; terribly low wages for people working at factories overseas and surplus of quickly disposable clothes that nobody wants to wear and which actually shrink or fall apart after few washing cycles.

“A Bunch of Things I Did Not Buy” by Sarah Lazarovic

We are living in the times, where e-commerce (of which I am totally an addict myself :) is a favorite addiction for insomniacs and all those looking for instant gratification, which is a guarantee when you can purchase with one click and things are delivered next day.

Sarah Lazarovic wrote in her book: “Every once in a while my rules (slow fashion rules) bug the hell out of me. I see the dress that makes me imagine lives I could lead in it. I worry I will never see something that perfect again. Then, I remember a dress in my closet that looks pretty similar.

Don’t we all, from time to time, suffer from the same predicament? (6 very similar Marc Jacobs dresses in my closet;) It took Sarah years of self-education, changing priorities on her hierarchy of needs to finally exercise self-control and appreciate the idea of valuing what you have and buying something really well-made that will be a true investment in terms of cost per wear.

Small cheat sheet of what SLOW FASHION stands for:

1. Rejection of impulses to buy fast fashion.

2. Choosing small businesses, fair trade and local brands.

3. Buying second-hand clothes, donating your clothes or exchanging your clothes with friends.

4. Doing it yourself! Making, mending clothes by yourself.

5. Reading the fashion labels consciously. (Where is the product from? Who made it? How was it made? What is the fabric?)

6. Buying fewer and less often.

After reading this post, some of you might think that slow fashion can be a threat to some big designers, fast fashion companies or fashion professionals like personal shoppers, fashion consultants or stylist. However, I think slow fashion can be used to their advantage. (e.g. Companies like H&M, Top Shop already have had a few environmentally conscious lines.) I think, as a fashion professional, that we have a social responsibility to be aware of slow fashion importance for the ever evolving business of fashion and nature of our buying decisions.

What do you think about slow fashion? Would you be willing to follow a “slow fashion” life-style? Do you support local designers? I can’t wait to hear your opinions!

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