There’s nothing sluggish about the recent growth of the slow fashion industry.
While various forms of what we now call ‘slow fashion’ have been around since clothes were first a thing (skinning a woolly mammoth takes TIME, am I right?), the past decade has seen the mass-produced threads of fast fashion begin to fray at an increasing rate. It’s just not sustainable.
As people around the world realise the fast fashion industry’s impact on the health of our planet, animal habitats and the working conditions of the people who help produce these garments, a wave of change has slowly been washing over the fashion industry, gaining real momentum in recent years. While it is heartening to see this movement, we acknowledge that there’s still a looooooong way to go to truly turn the tide on fast fashion.
At Bon+Co kids swimwear we are proud to be one of many contemporary brands consciously committed to rejecting the principles of fast fashion for a more sustainable, slow fashion, approach.
Part of that commitment is encouraging our customers to do the same, not just when it comes to choosing slow fashion in the form of sustainable childrens swimwear, but across entire wardrobes and households.
But why should you choose to spend your heard earned dollars on slow fashion, over fast fashion?
We’re so glad you asked! ?
Girls Kiki Flounce Frill Bikini
What is slow fashion, anyway?
Slow fashion is an approach to fashion that considers the processes and resources (human, energetic and material) required to make garments, with a particular focus on sustainability. It is an awareness of where, how, by whom and with what fashion garments are made. A commitment to slow fashion involves designers and manufacturers creating AND consumers purchasing better-quality garments that will last for longer. Slow fashion is usually classically styled and slow to date, rather than trend-based.
The term ‘slow fashion’ was coined by Kate Fletcher of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, following the phenomena of the slow food movement. As with the slow food movement, Fletcher saw need for a slower pace, increased ethical consciousness and transparency in the fashion industry. We are here for that!
Boys Toco Racing Jammer
Fast Fashion and Waste
Did you know that the global fashion industry is one of the most polluting industry in the world?
Or that 57% percent of discarded NEW clothes end up in landfill each year?
The dirty facts behind the pretty pieces produced by fast fashion brands are plentiful.
But the one that always makes our jaws drop all the way down to the floor is the methodical burning of millions of perfectly wearable garments at the end of every season.
Tonne upon tonne of BRAND NEW and unsold clothes & swimwear that are BURNED by the big guns of the fashion industry every year.
Yep, you read that right. Big brands around the world have a common practice of destroying their own product – as policy. For luxury brands, this destruction is a strategy to preserve their reputation of exclusivity through scarcity. For everyday brands, it’s a way to make more space in their warehouses for the next seasons stock. These fast fashion behemoths would rather see millions of dollars-worth of their creations burn than sold cheaply or donated to the needy.
The most common reasoning cited by fast fashion decision-makers to justify destroying perfectly good merchandise is simply because there is more ‘stuff’ stocked each season to cater to consumer demand. Only 5 years ago, the average person in the US purchased 20 fashion garments per year. Today in the US, the average person is buying an about 68 garments per year.
Fashion cycles have also grown shorter because of the boost from online sales and fast fashion. Many brands are responding to a constant push to put new merchandise out on the market, to make it available in a huge range of colour, cut & style options, and to turnover it faster than ever before.
The fact that so many fast fashion garments that have never been worn – after the fabrics were woven, the garments were made, the labour was put in to make, ship, stock and attempt to sell them – are then, after all that, burned…represents all kinds of waste across the system.
This communicates volumes about the current state of consumer culture, and highlights to us why slow fashion is the only way toward a sustainable future for the fashion industry.
If consumers continue to support and spend their money on fast fashion brands who have these wasteful strategies, they are only encouraging the fashion industry at large to keep behaving in the same way.
As fashion designers ourselves we have a choice. We could allow the knowledge of the scale of the challenges facing the fashion industry to overwhelm us. Or, we could double down on our commitment to slow fashion as a better way forward and encourage others to do the same, by educating them on the fast fashion vs slow fashion facts. And by producing stunning, slow and sustainable swimwear for kids, tweens and teens.
So, here we are.
Girls Arco Sleeveless One Piece
Modern Day Slow Fashion
Before the industrial revolution, fashion garments were locally sourced and produced. Everyday folk valued durable, well-made clothing that would serve them for a long time. Clothing also reflected the place and culture of the people who wore them, and tailors and dressmakers were celebrated for the skills of their craft.
Much of modern-day slow fashion is a nod to that pre-industrial era, with an emphasis on encouraging people to spend their hard-earned dollars more wisely when it comes to stocking their wardrobes, to get to know the makers, to value the craft involved and to choose sustainable materials.
Some of the characteristics of slow fashion brands are:
- Garments are made from high quality, recycled and/or naturally sustainable materials
- They are often produced in small runs or batches and stocked with only a handful of local retail stores or independently online
- They have unique or handmade elements (for example, our exclusive Bon+Co patterns are all handpainted or drawn by our in house designer)
- They have a refined range, with a few very well thought out styles in each collection, and new collections are released only a couple of times per year.
The practice of purchasing a lesser volume of garments, less often but at a higher quality, necessarily requires people to unfollow fast-moving fashion fads. That can feel like a sacrifice, at first (hello FOMO!), but embracing slow fashion can be uniquely freeing of your time, your mental & emotional energy and your wardrobe space. Less stuff in your wardrobe = less clutter in your mind and less choices to make each day about what to wear.
Boys Haven Aqua Everyday Boardshort
Fast Forwarding Slow Fashion
Just imagine for a moment that there was a mass quitting of fast fashion by consumers. That consumers collectively decided to give slow a go.
Fast forward to 2025…2030…2050 and just think about the impact that so much LESS STUFF and less waste and less burning of excess product would have on our lives, our world.
It’s only as we as consumers change our behaviours that the fashion industry at large will be forced to change, to adapt, to slow down.
Now that we’ve shared a little of what we know about the benefits of fast vs slow fashion, we hope you’ll join us in our commitment to going slow…or at least allow yourself a moment of pause the next time you’re tempted to impulse purchase a pretty little thing ‘just because’.
But speaking of pretty little things, next time you find yourself in need of some stunning sustainable swimwear for your kids or tweens, please take a leisurely look around our online shop, read up on the recycled fabrics we use to make them and delight in the timeless hand painted patterns that our in-house designer has created.
But most importantly, don’t feel rushed about making your purchase decision, just take it nice and SLOW.