Slow Fashion: The Guide To Building A Conscious Closet On A Budget

Do you think that there is absolutely no way you can live a slow fashion lifestyle without burning a hole in your precious wallet? That you’d have to give up all those cute Christmas outfit ideas and your dream wardrobe for the sake of sustainability? Then look no further. This is your holy guide to debunk that absurd assumption. Oh, wait! Are you scratching your head and wondering, what on earth even is slow fashion? Don’t worry, we have your back. So, let’s take a look.

What is Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion has a strong emphasis on quality. Manufacturing is local, and it has slow production times. In fast fashion, we see extremely rapid production periods. Whereas, slow fashion aims to reduce as many production cycles as possible.

Fast fashion garments swiftly go out of style and are short-lived. Whereas, slow fashion encourages garments that last longer, in materials and style. Slow fashion also encourages recycled materials and upcycled materials.

Here, it is important to note that quality in slow fashion takes many forms:

  • feature for the production
  • for social matters as working conditions of workers
  • quality of our environment
  • quality of material, like sustainable materials, fashion, and style of the garments
  • Fairness for both producers and consumers
slow fashion

How is Slow Fashion different?

It is a struggle to differentiate between all the popular buzzwords surrounding fashion. These buzzwords include sustainable fashion, sustainable fashion industry, slow fashion, conscious fashion, ethical fashion, and around half a dozen more terms. This can make any of us overwhelmed and scream with absolute confusion. But, let’s take it one by one.

First, let us make an assumption. We can safely assume that all these terms are close cousins. They are closely related to each other. There is some overlap between their personalities and looks, owing to their origin, the genes. But are they the same person? A big no! Each cousin has its own unique identity, something that makes them different.

So, the next step is to understand exactly what makes slow fashion unique from any other of its close cousins.

Slow Fashion is an intersection between:

  • Ethical fashion: which advocates for humanitarian consideration and welfare,
  • Eco-fashion: which advocates for environmental consideration and welfare
  • Lasting fashion: which advocates for quality clothes with longevity

Now, there is an underlying common denominator across all three. What makes slow fashion unique is~ intention and mindfulness.

So, slow fashion is not a criterion that we can give a product. We cannot label an item of clothing as ‘slow’. Also, we cannot call a certain brand a slow fashion brand. Rather, it is a mindset and lifestyle shift. It aims to reduce our consumption and make use of what we already have to fulfil our needs.

And when we buy something, slow fashion advocates, we do it in a mindful and intentional way. When we buy, we should be conscious of exactly why and what we are purchasing. Rather than it being an irrational and impulsive purchase.

So can you incorporate slow fashion into your lifestyle, on a budget?

Simple answer? Yes, Absolutely!

Everyone can make slow fashion a part of their lifestyle. It is about ‘How we shop’ not ‘where we shop.’ Slow fashion is not concerned with shopping at certain brands that claim to be slow. Brands that are slow in nature do not even advertise themselves to be that way.

So, it is important to know that everyone can incorporate slow fashion in their life. Everyone can take part. You can take part in slow fashion without spending money and buying anything.

How everyone incorporates a slow fashion lifestyle will also be different. So, let’s see how you can make slow fashion a part of your life, on a budget.

slow fashion on a budget

How to build a conscious closet when your wallet says no?

Before buying

As mentioned above, you do not have to buy anything to take part in the slow fashion movement. In fact, slow fashion is about transforming our lifestyle and habits in such a way that the need to buy something new rarely arises.

Let us dive into how you can build these useful habits in your daily lifestyle.

1. Throwaway tricky temptations: Imagine having a busy afternoon, working endlessly yet feeling bored. You are scrolling through your phone, but there is nothing exciting to make you feel happy.

Suddenly, a new notification pops up on your phone screen. Your favorite shopping app is advertising a new offer. A ray of hope – an exciting opportunity, a mild escape from the boring day that is eating you alive. You click on the notification and…

Lo-and-behold; you have fallen right into the temptation trap.

What happened, you wonder? Let us look.

Temptations are things and situations that trigger us to shop more than we need. A big temptation is all the alerts and notifications we get from our favorite shopping apps.

A few examples of these notifications are – 60% off, buy 2, get 2 free, best deals until midnight, free shipping for you, offer valid till 1 hour, so on and so forth.

The way these brands use marketing and smart wording tempts us. The words manipulate us into splurging our money by making us believe we are getting an amazing deal. These brands create a need that does not exist. Email alerts from app subscriptions are yet another way many brands can tempt us.

Now, everyone has been spending more time working from home. This means we are always using our phones and laptops. Hence, notification triggers are even more likely to tempt us.

A lot of us click on the notification because we are so bored. We all are guilty of doing that at some point. Initially, we are scrolling through some clothes. Before we know it, we have already added clothes into the shopping cart, getting ready to pay for them.

To stop these urges, it is important to know what triggers us. It could be notifications, or constant emails, or even occasional “window shopping”. Once identified, eliminate those triggers. Unsubscribing from emails and disabling app notifications are ways to end our shopping urges.

slow fashion guide

2. The Pivotal Personal Style: Understanding our personal style is of utmost importance. Now, what does personal style include? It is learning what colors suit us, what color combinations we like, and how to balance different colors together to build a good wardrobe.

It also includes styles of clothing, cuts which suit us. Being familiar with our personal style helps reduce any purchases we make which might not complement us. It helps build a more cohesive wardrobe.

3. The 30 – Day Wish list: Wish lists are an amazing feature. Wonder why? These help us be more conscious of what we want to buy and be more mindful. All we need to do is add what we think we need into the wish list.

Now, the most important part is, let it sit on the wish list for a while. Generally, 30 days is a good gap before making a final decision. This step requires some self-control.

However, once the item stands the test in time, we realize that we really need that item, following which we can buy it with no guilt. Or, we realize we don’t need it, and it was an impulse thought.

This simple trick can prevent us from making irrational decisions and impulse purchases. Believe it or not, you will thank yourself at the end of 30 days by saving money on unnecessary purchases.

4. Dig your closet: For what you ask? Clothes that you do not wear that much. We all know exactly which clothes we reach out for the most, and which clothes get neglected. Once you take out the clothes, start taking a note of exactly why you don’t wear that item.

Is the color not that good? Does it not fit your body type? Does it look good on you, but it kills to wear every time because it is so uncomfortable?

Once you do this, you might see some patterns in what you dislike in clothing. Also, you will realize mistakes you commonly make while purchasing. And you can avoid shopping there next time and save your money.

5. Pinterest is your best friend: We all have come across the situation where we think we have nothing to wear. Well, of course, that is not true. If you have many clothes in your closet, yet cannot find anything to wear, it means you are not sure of how to style those clothes together.

Enter Pinterest -the ultimate savior.

Simply type outfit inspirations and add the color of the clothes you own. For example, blue and brown outfit inspiration. A plethora of images will pop – up.

This is a wonderful way to learn how to style existing pieces of clothing in unique combinations. And in no time, your closet will seem more than enough. This is a fun and creative way to get more use out of our existing clothes.

6. Some TLC for your clothes: Do you often find tears in your clothes? Or cannot seem to get out a stain from your favorite light-colored apparel? Then, learn how to take proper care of your clothes. Give them some time, love, and care, also abbreviated as TLC.

Follow the correct washing, drying information on the label. Use correct soaps and detergents to preserve the color and quality. You will realize how much these simple steps increase the longevity of clothes over the years.

This will reduce the need for re-purchasing a cloth again and save your money in the long run.

slow fashion tips

“Finding affordable slow fashion brands to shop from is great, but finding a solution without having to buy at all is the best.”

When you actually have to buy

Frequently, you will have to buy an item, because it is necessary. So how can you be more mindful and slow while purchasing?

1. Purchase Pre-owned: Pre-owned clothes, pre-loved clothes are getting popular recently. We also know these as second-hand clothes. But don’t you think second-hand sounds like something which will not be of good quality?

That is far from the truth. In fact, purchasing pre-owned items is one of the best ways to buy something of good quality at a great price.

Online thrift stores selling ‘second-hand items’ are getting popular by the day. And it might not be such a bad idea to go through some good online stores selling pre-loved items. And the best part, you ask?

You can find some unique items which few people own. Some people buy only from thrift stores. They find various unique items, vintage pieces, and valuable items at a great price.

slow fashion budget thrift store

2. Support local businesses: Before heading to popular brands to shop for yourself, stop!

Why not give local brands a shot?

Especially, if you find online shopping tedious for second-hand clothes, the best way is — Go local! Search through small local businesses near your locality.

You can visit the shop and see what all is available and might come across some great and affordable finds. Now, this would mean buying a new item altogether. Though it might make your wallet frown slightly, that is not true every time.

Along the way, you will find local brands that match your budget and your aesthetic.

Moreover, local brands are friendly and they appreciate all the support they get. They also provide personalized shopping experiences. Now, that is something you will rarely experience with popular brands. Right?

What’s more? You can feel great about supporting and promoting under-rated and immensely talented artisans.

3. The match (ic) of three: Is there a piece of clothing that checks all the boxes- color, fit, and style? Yet you still do not reach out for it? Then, more often than not, the reason is simple.

There are not enough matching clothes to compliment that item. So, what happens in that case? You either stop wearing it at all, which means all the money spent down the drain. Or you buy more clothes to match that item.

Hence, the trick is to dig into your closet, yet again, and go through what colors of outfits you have. Might even make a list of it on your phone.

The next time you’re shopping and see a beautiful piece of clothing, take a step back, revisit your list, and ask yourself the following. Is this going to complement well with at least three other items I have?

It can be a jacket, a scarf, a pair of jeans or trousers. The bottom line is, if it matches 3 or more clothes, then you are likely to get good use out of it. You will wear it to its fullest potential.

slow fashion tips

Sometimes, life just gets in the way

It is not always possible to avoid fast fashion. You might have an interview and have to buy clothes from fast fashion brands. And that is okay. Slow fashion brands can be expensive.

Not everything you need might be available at thrift stores or local shops. So it’s important to not feel guilty about buying fast fashion. Remember, you can always get the most use out of the item and ensure that it is worth every penny.

What the slow fashion movement needs is participation, not perfection. It is always better if a thousand people are trying to be more conscious and slow in their fashion purchases. Rather than one person doing it perfectly.

It is much more impactful if a thousand people are slowly taking part in the movement. Rather than a few individuals trying to perfect their approach.

And in slow fashion, like in any situation, as the famous quote says ~

“Slow and steady always wins the race.”

Too long, didn’t read?

Don’t worry, we value your time. Let’s summarize some of the key points that will give you a good understanding of the article in just 1 minute.

  1. Slow fashion has a strong emphasis on Quality. Local manufacturing, slow production cycles, long-lasting clothes, fairness for the workers, and the health of our environment are all aspects under slow fashion.
  2. What makes slow fashion unique from any other buzzword is- intention and mindfulness. It is a mindset and lifestyle shift that aims to reduce our consumption and make use of what we already have to fulfil our needs.
  3. It is about ‘How we shop’ not ‘where we shop.’ Hence, everyone can incorporate slow fashion into their lifestyle, on a budget.
  4. You can take part in slow fashion without even buying anything. We have a list of low-effort practical tips to ensure you can incorporate these habits into your life. But, if you do encounter a situation where purchasing is necessary, we have some tips to help you with that too.
  5. It is not always possible to avoid fast fashion in some situations but it is important to not feel guilty about it. What the slow fashion movement needs is participation, not perfection.



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