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Dress To Impress... Not Impact

Date: 09-Jun-09

Isn’t it ironic that today’s fashion trends move fast, while fabric and pollution are long lasting. And, after all of the hype and excitement passes, the clothes remain. Remember bubble skirts, shoulder-padded jackets, M. C. Hammer pants, scrunchies, tulle? They're out there still, in closets, charity stores, and landfill.

Fast fashion has engrossed us for years with cheap versions of the latest trends available just days after they are seen on the runway. In the current economic climate, as we become more aware of our unnecessary spending, as well as the ever-growing concern about climate change, slow fashion has emerged as a valuable, yet stylish, alternative.

Slow fashion moves away from cheap items that are disposed of at the end of a season, to clothes that are made to last over time and throughout different trends. It means clothing and accessories that are made with quality fabrics, constructed by well-paid workers, and designed with styles to be mix-and-matched for years to come.

Fast fashion and cheap clothes promote an unsustainable approach to labour and natural resources by encouraging short-term use of clothes.  Each item of clothing represents an investment in water, energy and material resources. For instance, making a single cotton dress takes around 22,000 litres of water, so we are losing vast amounts of water buying new dresses to replace last season’s. A dress that will see you through two seasons instead of one would halve the use of this resource alone!

Choosing durable slow fashion that is made from recycled or organic materials further lessens the clothes' environmental impact.

Be a slow fashionista by following these simple tips:

1. Select clothes that you really need that can be worn with a range of your other clothes.
.2. Choose quality fabrics that wear well.
3. Find vintage items at car boot sales, Op shops or raid your parents’ wardrobes.
4. Get creative with accessories and find new ways to match-up the clothes you already have.
5. Find clothes you are happy to keep for a long time. If you’re finished with an item, send it to an Op shop or pass it on to someone else.
6. Host a swap party as a fun way to exchange clothes with your friends and liven up your wardrobe. Download Planet Ark’s comprehensive guide to hosting a swap party at RecyclingWeek.PlanetArk.org/Involvement/Swap.cfm
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