The Difference Between Fast and Slow Fashion

November 20, 2017

What is the difference between fast and slow fashion?


Two months ago I had no idea what fast fashion was. But after doing some digging, I’ve got the jist.


What is fast fashion?

Fast fashion is when companies take designs straight off the runway and create the trendiest clothes for their stores. Examples of fast fashion are brands such as Forever 21 and Zara. Fast fashion company’s inventories are continually changing and restocking. That’s why if you see something you like at Zara you “HAVE” to buy it because you know it won’t be in the store the next time you make a trip to the mall.


Why is it a problem?

Fast fashion while it seems great on the surface the reality is grim. Because of the constantly changing inventory, there is often time’s wasted stock. Some stores will have entire boxes of unopened clothes that have no home because it is old stock. This also makes the consumer feeling like they need to keep up with constantly changing trends. Clothes are not built to last since they won’t be in style a year from now. This creates so much waste that has nowhere to escape except for in our landfills.

Along with this much of fast fashion is hugely inexpensive yet continuously being produced-so what gives? The environment and workers are creating the garments of course. SO much of fast fashion is unethical, BUT there are brands such as H&M and ASOS that are working to be more ethical and sustainable.

*side note: the best thing you can do when you are tired of your old clothes is to either donate it to charities or sell to second-hand stores. 🙂


What is slow fashion?

As a result, slow fashion is the exact opposite of fast fashion. Clothing is made with higher quality materials in less trendy styles that are built to last. This also means that inventory and new designs are not continually rotating. Slow fashion brands have new stock at most every season and sometimes twice a year.


The issue with slow fashion-

While slow fashion is fabulous and should be preferred over fast fashion, there are some issues. Much of slow fashion is online and international. As someone who loves trying clothes on in a store, this is a significant issue for me. The prices of these goods are often times (not always!) higher which doesn’t help a broke college student. But, I find that it is worth it and that I must be a part of the solution.


The critical take away is as always-balance. Save up for more expensive sustainable jeans that will last you 10 years rather than a 30 dollar pair that might last you three. And once and a while it’s not a sin to want a trend that you are loving, but if you can buy that top from a fast fashion store that has more sustainable practices!