If you strive for sustainable, slow living, it’s time to consider the environmental impact of the clothing you wear. In recent decades, most of us have gotten used to buying from fast fashion stores, which create cheap garments at the expense of the environment and the workers in the supply chain.

But why exactly is fast fashion so detrimental to the environment? And what other alternatives are there for people with the goal of slow living?

First, let’s discuss one of the most pressing environmental issues – climate change. Did you know that the fashion industry produces 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide? Fast fashion’s factories are usually located in developing countries, which use almost exclusively fossil fuels for power generation, and the clothing then needs to be transported across half the world to the end consumer.

The environmental impact of fast fashion

Fast fashion isn’t kind to water either. Aside from consuming large amounts of it (for example, it takes 2,700 to produce the cotton needed to make just one t-shirt), it’s also a significant pollutant. Harsh pesticides and fertilizers from cotton farms are washed away into rivers with rainfall and factories often dump toxic wastewaters from the dyeing process directly into rivers because of lacking environmental regulation in the countries of production.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the environmental impact of fast fashion – it’s also responsible for widespread plastic pollution, waste accumulation in landfills, deforestation, soil degradation or the overall encouragement of overconsumption.

5 slow living alternatives

  1. Thrifting

If you’re on a budget, the best choice for you will likely be thrifting. With the sheer amount of clothing the fashion industry produces nowadays, there is plenty of clothing that would be thrown away if it’s not resold.

You can find both high-end fashion and cheap, trendy fast fashion when shopping second hand and this option works for any budget!

  1. Borrow from a friend

Need a certain garment for a special event or as a costume? Reach out to your friends to see if you can borrow from them instead of buying anything new.

  1. Sustainable fashion brands

Sustainable fashion brands are transforming the fashion industry by reducing the environmental impact and improving the social and economic aspects too.

A slow fashion garment may cost more upfront, but it will last you much longer than a fast fashion piece.

  1. Try rental services

Not only are there rental services for wedding dresses and other special occasion clothing, but there are also brands which rent everyday clothing on a monthly basis.

This is perfect if you like a fresh, stylish wardrobe but don’t want to support fast fashion.

  1. Upcycle your old clothes

Have an old pair of jeans you no longer like? Crop it and wear it like shorts. Your basic white t-shirt is no longer so white after years of wear? Dye it!

Also interested in slow beauty products? See this blog!