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How Are Slow Fashion Businesses Selling Sustainably?

How Are Slow Fashion Businesses Selling Sustainably
Bronagh Loughlin

Bronagh Loughlin

Fast fashion is now responsible for more pollution than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Now, slow fashion businesses are on the rise to help tackle the problem.

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Introduction

As consumers become increasingly conscious of their purchases, fashion brands are working to incorporate more sustainable strategies. This has caused a steady stream of slow fashion businesses to emerge. Businesses that are essentially taking the time to revise their supply chain operations and improve the impact of production on the planet. 

So how exactly are slow fashion businesses selling sustainably while turning over a profit that matches fast fashion giants? Let’s dive into the details.

What is a Slow Fashion Business?

clothing rail of slow fashion garments
photo credit: Unsplash

Slow fashion is an approach to clothing production that focuses on more than just the products and profit. Those who have slow fashion businesses consider every part of the supply chain so as not to harm people, animals, or the planet. 

Strategies that are implemented within slow fashion production include workers receiving fair pay and avoiding plastic-based materials. Slow fashion businesses often use materials that last longer and are high-quality. They stay away from the likes of polyester, and other toxic plastics like PVC and focus on creating durable clothing.

Is Slow Fashion Sustainable?

Slow fashion is sustainable fashion. Products are never regarded as disposable, whereas fast fashion has a significant number of trends within a year, resulting in a high number of turnovers and throwaways. By contrast, sustainable clothing items are generally released in collections and do not adhere to trends. This means consumers generally keep the clothing for longer and do not consider throwing pieces away.

Slow clothing is higher quality and can be more expensive, but this expense is what supplements workers with a national living wage, supports green supply chain operations, and pays for higher quality, natural textiles. While fast fashion garments are relatively cheap, they come with a different kind of cost, one that compromises people and accelerates climate change.

Consumers that purchase from slow fashion businesses reduce waste and minimize the ecological footprint of fashion. Because slow fashion uses high-quality materials, the customer receives a more durable garment created to last. It doesn’t stop there; these kinds of fashion businesses are continuously looking for ways they can become more eco-friendly in their day-to-day operations also.

What are the Key Things Slow Fashion Businesses Do Differently?

what do slow fashion businesses do differentl
photo credit: Unsplash

When it comes to climate change, transitioning to a sustainable business model is vital for the planet. Customers are screaming out for businesses to make their operations greener and to show they care about the planet. Slow fashion brands respond to this demand and show they care, but how are they doing this, and what sets them apart? 

If you want to become a more sustainable fashion brand, you need to analyse each step of your product’s life cycle from start to finish. Think of it as a climate audit whereby you see which actions impact the planet most. Once you discover which areas contribute to your carbon footprint  you can make adjustments. 

The main thing is making proactive change instead of bolstering greenwashing tactics or using sustainability as a marketing vice. Therefore, you should be assessing how sustainable your business is from when you first design the product to when it appears on your website. Slow fashion businesses analyse everything, including the materials used, fabric cut-offs, the toxicity of dyes and materials etc.

Some of the key things slow fashion brands do are:

  • Clothing is made from good-quality materials that are often sustainable and durable
  • The brand does not adhere to selling trends but instead creates timeless pieces
  • Garments are sourced and produced locally
  • Clothing is sold locally or worldwide via eco-friendly shipping options
  • Limiting waste by using excess fabric
  • Not harming animals
  • Workers are treated fairly, earn a living wage, and have a good work environment
  • They engage in a carbon scheme

Why is there a Rise in Slow Fashion Businesses?

Mein slow fashion business
photo credit: Mein

There are several reasons why there has been a surge in sustainable fashion businesses over the last few years. 

The main reason is slow fashion businesses know that providing options which are kind to the environment and do not cause further harm is vital to keeping our planet thriving. These businesses care about making a difference and balancing profit with purpose accordingly. 

However, they are also aware that Gen Z and Millennial customers are crying out for brands to sell more sustainable fashion. Brands that do this can tap into significant results, and end up building a loyal customer base that truly connect with and value their brand.

Many other brands are also concerned about meeting increasing ESG standards, and succumbing to the demand from COP developments, GHG protocols and fast fashion protesters.

Where to Start as a Slow Fashion Business?

christy dawn slow fashion business store front

If you want to create a slow fashion business or transition to slow fashion production, a great way to start is by calculating your business carbon footprint and looking at your supply chain emissions. There are many businesses out there that can help you audit your business, and evaluate impact areas that can be improved upon.

Once you have discovered crucial impact areas, you can begin implementing more sustainable practices into your operations. This will mostly include things such as reviewing your suppliers, using GOTS certified textiles, reviewing workplace conditions, and many other operation standards .

One Tribe’s Role in Supporting Slow Fashion Businesses

At One Tribe we partner with many slow fashion businesses to help them further improve their carbon footprint and help bring in more eco-conscious customers. Once a product hits retail, and is sold on their ecommerce store, we enable fashion businesses to continually improve their carbon footprint by supporting rainforest conservation programmes with every sale.

Protecting trees is by far the best way we can remove and store carbon with 73x more carbon being absorbed in conjunction with protecting trees. Many of the fashion brands we have partnered with have seen great results, including a rise in customer conversion rate that is thanks to people who love buying from slow fashion brands and are excited that their purchase can save trees simultaneously! 

To put that into perspective, 2.6 tonnes of Co2 is saved for every sale you make. Our current partners have had an enormous impact so far, protecting 78,476,936 trees, storing 7,288,023 tonnes of carbon, and removing 10,107,288 car emissions.

Summary

Slow fashion businesses are slowly on the rise to combat the climate ruckus caused by fast fashion giants- but fash fashion continues to beat out. 

In order to combat textile waste, reduce GHG emissions, and slash sweatshops, it is critical that slow fashion becomes the norm in the fashion industry. Adopting slow fashion practices that actively adjust fashion’s end-to-end operations, we may just be able to solve some of the world’s biggest climate problems. 

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