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The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive

Slowing Down Fast Fashion

Fashion sketch 

It’s the last day of New York Fashion Week, where celebrities and the industry elite flank runways to catch the first glimpses of new lines from high-end designers like Marchesa and Alexander McQueen. For the average U.S. consumer, though, fast fashion—cheap clothing produced quick and dirty—hangs in the closet.

Fast fashion’s formula, known as the “quick-response method,” keeps up with ever-changing trends promoted at events like Fashion Week by speeding up every aspect of the clothing-production process: design, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. In order to keep the pace lively, workers’ conditions and the environment suffer.

A recent study by Iowa State University professor Elena Karpova and grad student Juyoung (Jill) Lee, however, finds that fast fashion doesn’t fly in certain markets, reports Aaron M. Cohen in The Futurist (Sept.-Oct. 2011), offering hope that we don’t have to stay on the current industry treadmill. Cohen writes:

Responsible clothing options in the states and elsewhere are increasingly easy to find, tracked by blogs like Eco-Chick and Eco Fashion World and spearheaded by green designers such as 2010 Utne Visionary Natalia Allen. And, Cohen says, some in the high-fashion industry are recommitting to artisan craftsmanship, with houses like Hermès beginning to emphasize “slow fashion.”

While we in the Utne Reader office certainly don’t claim to be fashion plates, perhaps we’re ahead of the trends on this one: I’ve had my favorite pair of jeans for nearly a decade and our hipster office manager owns a loon-emblazoned sweatshirt (with red, built-in cuffs and collar) that’s older than he is. Slow fashion, we’re ready for you.

Source: The Futurist (membership required) 

Image by Noemi Manalang, licensed under Creative Commons.