Fast Fashion Vs. Slow Fashion, And Why It’s Time to Consider The Shift

If you’re a fashion lover, you’ve probably heard of “fast fashion” and “slow fashion.” These are terms that became increasingly popular in recent years as fashion enthusiasts and companies become more aware of their role and impact on the environment.

But aside from the obvious terminologies, what do they really mean? How are they different from each other? And why is it even important to know about them?

Let’s open up the discussion!

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion refers to clothing that is commercially produced in bulk or mass. To keep up with rapidly changing trends, they are usually produced at lightning speed – hence the term. They are usually sold at cheaper prices as companies try to outsell competition and ride trend cycles.

It’s mostly what we buy in commercial clothes shops, malls, and other fashion bazaars. They are usually very trendy and quality is questionable.

What is Slow Fashion?

To put it simply, slow fashion is the exact opposite of fast fashion. Instead of producing clothes fast, and in bulk, they are created in just limited numbers. They carry a higher price tag than fast fashion items but for a number of good reasons. 

They are not seasonal and they are usually produced with higher quality, sustainably sourced materials and sustainable production practices.

Key Difference Between Fast Fashion and Slow Fashion

1. Raw Materials: Synthetic vs Organic

Fast fashion uses raw materials that are cheap, unnatural, and mostly synthetic.  These include man-made fabrics such as acrylics, polyester, nylon and petroleum-based raw materials that produce microfiber plastics that degrade over repetitive wear and tear, which make them very harmful to the environment. 

Slow fashion, on the other hand, uses materials that are natural, organic, recycled, repurposed, and/or biodegradable.  These include eco-friendly raw and plant based materials - which leave little to no carbon footprint.  You’ll find linen, organic cotton, hemp and Tencel among the most popularly used fabrics by slow fashion brands.

2. Production Cycle: Shorter vs Longer

As mentioned, Fast fashion produces clothing at lightning speed to keep up with the trends.  The products are designed, produced, and released within the shortest possible time to capitalize on the trends and generate revenue. They are mostly seasonal, but beyond the usual four seasons. Fast fashion can push out up to 52 seasons of micro-trends!  That’s a lot of clothes and a lot of waste from items that go unsold.
Meanwhile, slow fashion is intentional in the process of garment production.  Preparation and production of slow fashion take time., and the purpose is clear. They aren’t seasonal. Compared to fast fashion, slow fashion uses more environmentally friendly production methods.  With this holistic approach, the life cycle of a product is universally taken into account.


3. Durability: Flimsy vs Long-Lasting

As fast fashion clothing is produced as quickly as possible, quality suffers. As they are made from cheap materials, they don’t last that long.  With such a low retail price, it doesn’t make sense for fast fashion to invest in quality fabrics or construction.
Due to the use of higher-quality materials, slow fashion items last longer and are more resilient in comparison to fast fashion clothes. Longevity is an important consideration in the design and production of these pieces. They are more durable than fast fashion items as they are created with sustainability and longevity in mind.
Dreamy, Sustainable Clothing for Women. Shop At VALANI

4. Price: Cheap vs Expensive

As we know, fast fashion pieces are produced in bulk. And with the steep competition and the goal to release them fast, they are sold at very cheap prices. This is also the main contributing factor why many people purchase them.
Slow fashion, on the other hand, uses sustainable, and more durable materials, which usually come at higher prices. Sources like these are usually made by hand and with dedication by artists and local folks.

5. Labor: Low Wages vs Higher Pay

Low wages and poor working conditions are common in fast fashion companies. Why?  Because they always prioritize their profits above all else.  Developing countries often have favorable labor laws, which is where most companies outsource production. Moreso, since fast fashion is produced in factories, the environment is not really that conducive to workers. Look at new articles revealing this unethical practice and you’ll be shocked which major brands depend on sweatshops.

 With slow fashion, ethical production is a priority and workers are given higher wages.  Those who work in slow fashion also work in better working environments. Our incredible artisans can tell you about that!

6. Environmental Impact: Harmful vs Sustainable

This is the most important key factor between fast fashion and slow fashion. Fast fashion uses materials that yield byproducts that are toxic to the environment. They are produced massively and frequently in factories that create a huge carbon footprint and also employ harmful practices. They create massive waste – one of the major issues on the planet.
Slow fashion is created with less waste, fewer resources, and sustainable materials that have minimal to zero environmental impact.  And yes, putting these factors into practice result in higher production costs.


With these key differences considered, it’s safe to say that Slow Fashion is the way to a kinder fashion world…

But why do you really need to make the switch? 

Here are the facts:

  • 92 million tons of clothes-related waste are discarded each year.  Low price tags of fast fashion lead way to the “throw away society and culture.”

  • 25% of fast fashion garments remain unsold.  Many are either doomed to landfills or burned.

  • Clothing production produces more emissions than international plane travel and shipping combined

  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change projects textile manufacturing emissions to skyrocket to 60% by 2030. 

  • Unfair labor practices are rampant in fast fashion industries, and the workforce is neither well-compensated nor cared for. Slow fashion partners with local entrepreneurs and skilled people, and are able to earn fair wages.

  • While fast fashion clothing is trendy, it’s not durable. It’s time to invest in fashion pieces that transcend seasons – which slow fashion enthusiasts mostly produce.

  • Slow fashion supports local industries and artists.

  • Fast fashion is not environmentally friendly. Get peace of mind in wearing pieces that are less harmful to the environment and know that you are not contributing to its further damage. 

You can be fashionable without hurting the environment, all while helping other people along the way. 

Slow fashion industries are growing along with the momentum of the sustainability movement.  So there’s a lot of budding businesses you can choose and buy your clothing from. 

Whatever your style may be, you don’t need to settle with just fast fashion companies anymore. You have more options than ever from slow fashion brands.

And if you’re in for a sustainable fashion overhaul, you don’t need to look any further! VALANI is your best place to start. 

Browse our slew of amazing, sustainable pieces today and begin the shift.  Remember: The purchasing power is with you. 

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