Evolving concepts of fast and slow fashion
The concepts of fast and slow fashion have gained increased attention in recent years. With an intensified media coverage and growing research of the social and environmental consequences of fast fashion, the introduction of circular approaches, as well as a renewed slow movement in various corners of the world, the mainstream definitions and practical implications of ‘fast and slow fashion’ are now being questioned and subject to new ideas:
Can we actually turn fast fashion into a more sustainable option? Can fast fashion be redefined and transformed into a sustainable fashion alternative that is good (or significantly better) for the planet and for human well-being? If so, how could fast fashion be designed and produced with sustainability and circularity in mind? Could fast fashion be turned into “ultrafast” with a completely different set of properties, which are far more appropriate than those typical for fast fashion? And, may there be more speeds to fashion than slow, fast and ultrafast? As we can see, when the aspects of speed and appropriateness are included in the dialogue on fast and slow fashion, our design and production practices can begin to radically change, thereby leading the fashion industry into a new, more sustainable direction. These questions (and more) are further explored by a research group at Chelsea College of Arts (at UAL), namely by Prof. Earley, Dr. Goldsworthy and Prof. Emeritus Politowicz.
Work: Study on Fast and Slow Fashion
Client:University of the Arts London (UAL)
Date: February – April 2016 (part time)
Project URL: TED Research, Chelsea College of Arts
The study was performed as part of an ongoing research project on fast and slow fashion, which is conducted at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. The study also forms part of Mistra Future Fashion, an international research program on sustainability and circularity issues within the fashion industry.
The purpose of this study was threefold, i.e.: a) to review academic literature on fast and slow fashion; b) to develop a theoretical framework for comparing fast and slow fashion characteristics; and c) to perform a case study analysis of five Swedish fashion companies (three slow and two fast fashion companies) based on the developed framework.
The study hopes to contribute to the ongoing debate on fast and slow fashion, and to provoke new ideas on how fashion products can be designed, produced and marketed with better consideration to their intended uses and lifetime expectancy – thus bringing both speed and appropriateness into mind – for a more circular and sustainable fashion industry.