Slow Fashion + Sustainability

The Slow Fashion ethos influences how we at KEEPER consciously curate our products and secondhand garments. And while we understand the term is pervasive, mentioned by small shops and corporate behemoths alike, we thought it was important to dedicate a page on our site to better describe what we mean when we use the term “Slow Fashion” and how it impacts our process at KEEPER.

How do Slow Fashion and Fast Fashion Compare: 

Slow fashion is commonly described as an approach to fashion production, sales, and styling that prioritizes sustainability, ethical practices, and conscious consumerism. It stands in contrast to fast fashion, which is characterized by quick and cheap production of clothing to meet rapidly changing trends. Slow fashion emphasizes quality, longevity, and thoughtful consumption. After a significant rise of Fast Fashion in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Slow Fashion movement has served as a response to the concerns over how fast fashion is impacting our environment and the conditions of the people making our clothing.

Slow fashion seeks to counteract the negative consequences of the fast fashion industry and it encourages a shift away from a disposable fashion culture.

How We Like to Define Slow Fashion: 

With the phrase “Slow Fashion” so commonly used these days, we wanted to share what Slow Fashion means to us at KEEPER. We would describe Slow Fashion by the following characteristics or guiding principles.

  • Sustainability: Slow fashion requires an emphasis on reducing the environmental impact of fashion production. This involves utilizing sustainable materials, minimizing waste, and adopting eco-friendly production methods.

  • Ethical Practices: The slow fashion movement promotes fair labor practices and safe working conditions for garment workers. Those involved in the production process should be treated fairly and earn a living wage. 
  • Quality over Quantity: Slow fashion acknowledges the value of well-made, durable garments that are made to last. When you’re able to invest in fewer, higher-quality pieces that can be worn for years you reduce the need to shop frequently for more ephemeral clothing.
  • Timelessness: Slow fashion doesn’t just refer to the speed with which things are made. It also refers to how clothing trends can be approached. There is an effort to create great clothing that remains relevant and stylish over time.
  • Local and Artisanal: As a way to help reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods over long distances, many slow fashion brands will prioritize local production. This practice also seeks to honor craftsmanship, support local economies, and preserve traditional skills.
  • Transparency: By sharing and understanding information about the supply chain, sourcing of materials, and production processes, consumers can make more informed choices about the brands and businesses they support.
  • Minimalism and Capsule Wardrobes: Slow fashion encourages building a capsule wardrobe curated around versatile, mix-and-match pieces that suit various occasions and seasons.
  • Conscious Consumerism: When you place a commitment to Slow Fashion, it's important to be mindful of your purchases. We want to consider the environmental and social impact of the items we buy.
  • Mending and Repair: Rather than discarding garments over minor issues, repairing, dying and mending clothes to extend their lifespan to slow down our consumption of more items. 
  • Educational Initiatives: One vital asset of the slow fashion movement is raising awareness about the negative effects of fast fashion and helping others learn that there are alternatives. It is also about learning and discovering ways to work towards a more conscious, earth-friendly mindset. (see our workshops for ways to get involved locally)

Our Journey Towards Slow Fashion: 

From a young age, I (Claire) was fashion obsessed (hello Delias' catalog!) My love of fashion eventually blossomed into a career as an apparel stylist and art director. But, as my career evolved, so did the way I loved and engaged with fashion. I became less enchanted with trends and labels as I saw more clearly how temporary trends lead to excess and overproduction — with real consequences for our planet and the people we share it with. This clarity inspired me to open KEEPER: to forge a path forward for how we consider the connection between what we buy and the environment we all share.

Personalize Your Slow Fashion Style: 

One element to remember is that embarking on a Slow Fashion journey may look and evolve differently for everyone. Not being able to transition away from fast fashion overnight should not deter you from taking steps to a more sustainable lifestyle. There are many small steps you can take to start! The important point to remember is that big change always starts with a single gesture

You Can Start Here

Here are three simple ways you can start to build a sustainable wardrobe:

  1. The most sustainable clothing is clothing that already exists (or what you already own!). Shopping secondhand/vintage is another great way to start. 
  2. Learn how to launder/mend. As mentioned above, caring and repairing your clothes can extend the life of a garment.  Keeping our clothing in tip-top shape ensures we’ll wear them for years to come. 
  3. Avoid synthetic materials whenever possible. Synthetics (like polyester) leak micro-plastics into our environment and don’t break down over time, so they end up in landfills and waterways lasting generations. Researching, finding, and wearing all-natural fabrics can be a helpful way for you to start incorporating more sustainable items to your closet right away.

We know that the term “Slow Fashion” can mean many things. But, we hope that this article helps you better understand what our intentions are when we use it. We also hope that our efforts to bring you earth-honoring and mindful brands; from clothing and jewelry, with a disposition of vintage pieces, home goods and gifts will inspire you towards a more sustainable wardrobe, home, and lifestyle. And by discussing and sharing what we have learned, we hope to welcome you alongside our journey.