Sustainable fashion has been growing momentum and campaigns against fast fashion, highlighting ethical and environmental injustices, have been aptly describing themselves as ‘slow fashion’.
Despite men’s fashion contributing a significant economic and environmental footprint in the fashion industry, the slowing of men’s fashion has been largely ignored, particularly on social media. Instead, slowing women’s fashion has been prioritised.
But how to slow men’s fashion is still a fundamental question. Men’s fashion contributes a major proportion of the global fast fashion problem and can’t be ignored.
How to slow men’s fashion: why is it so bad?
The fashion industry has catastrophic impacts on our world and humankind.
One of the reasons that major fashion brands prosper is by exploiting cheaper labour markets. For example, western fashion brands may employ hundreds of workers in countries where wages are considerably smaller.
Of course, this is not illegal and is the natural state of affairs for many industries, however, these hotspots for cheap labour are also affiliated with very poor working conditions for workers.
One example is the forced labour of cotton farming in Uzbekistan where tens of thousands of Uzbeks are forced into agricultural work every year. There have even been continuous reports of child labour on state-run farms.
To highlight just how widespread the issues are, the International Labour Organisation estimates that there are around 170 million children engaged in child labour with a significant proportion of these made up by the garments and textiles industries.
Not only are the ethical impacts so damaging to our communities worldwide, but so are the environmental impacts too.
It is estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions in a given year, which is more than the combined total of international flights and maritime shipping combined.
The fashion industry is also a massive consumer of water. Annually, it is estimated the fashion industry uses 93 million cubic metres of water, which is enough water for 5 million people to use for everything they need during a typical day.
When you factor in the microfibres that leak into our water systems from the fashion industry and the horrible consequences for animal skins and furs, the industry is responsible for a multitude of negative impacts on our world.
From the harrowing ethical impacts of fashion supply chains to the devastating environmental consequences of the materials used, the fashion industry has a lot to answer for.
How to slow men’s fashion: Fast Fashion
Dressing sustainably and ethically has been around for a long time. Campaigners have been relentlessly trying to eradicate the exploitation of labour workers, the environment, and animals in the fashion industry for decades.
While some ground has been made, unfortunately, the rise of fast fashion has stalled progress.
Fast fashion is driven purely by profit and therefore fast fashion brands attempt to cut costs in as many areas as possible in all parts of the business from raw materials all the way through to sale.
By generating huge amounts of stock at low prices, companies aim to entice the public into purchasing more and more each season. In addition, clever marketing and advertising discourages people to wear clothes for longer.
In fact, a report based in the UK estimated that one in three young women (the biggest segment of consumers) consider garments worn once or twice to be old.
The problem is that fast fashion cost-cutting drives the devastating environmental and ethical consequences that we have outlined above. It also increases material waste as people seek to continuously buy more items from fast fashion labels that aim to produce quantity over quality.
Thus slowing down fashion has never become so important. So why has the focus been on slowing women’s fashion? What about men’s fashion too?
Although much research indicates women buy more quantities of clothes than men, research in the UK has also suggested that men spend more money on clothes than their female counterparts.
In terms of spending, men’s fashion makes up a significant proportion of the problem and requires urgent attention in addition to the focus on slowing women’s fashion.
A quick google search of ethical or sustainable menswear brands may leave you scratching your head and it’s true that the perfect brand for each style may not be out there yet.
However, sustainable and slower men’s fashion brands, as well as sustainable fashion collections, are on the rise. This is how to slow men’s fashion.
Through changing consumer habits and behaviours by committing to sustainable and ethical men’s fashion brands, it sends a direct signal to brands that fast fashion will no longer cut it.
How to slow men’s fashion is as simple as that. Making sustainable brands your new first choice and spending money on timeless items that last for longer with quality at their heart.
How to slow men’s fashion is also about reusing garments and utilising second-hand as well as thrift shops to keep your wardrobe still looking new. The popularisation of thrifting from brands like Depop and youtube channels like the ‘Unknown Vlogs‘ has breathed new life into thrifting and sustainable fashion, especially in the UK.
How to Slow Men’s Fashion: The future of men’s fashion
The global ethical fashion market is expected to rise to around $10 billion by 2025, which is a significant rise from its current valuation at around $7 billion.
With the global drive towards more sustainable consumer culture and the popularisation of ethical as well as sustainable fashion from a slew of celebrities, the slowing of men’s fashion surely seems inevitable.
However, it cannot take a back foot to the behemoth that is women’s fashion. The men’s fashion industry needs to be at the vanguard of sustainable fashion alongside women’s fashion and gender-inclusive fashion.
With some research indicating that men spend more on average for clothing, it creates a unique opportunity to match the higher spending with clothing that is higher quality and more sustainable.
It will take a monumental effort to successfully curb the harsh ethical and environmental consequences of men’s fashion and the industry in its entirety, however, menswear can position itself to take a leading role.
Greater demand for sustainable and slower fashion would tip the scales and hopefully blow the $10 billion by 2025 predictions out of the water.
By simply switching your purchasing habits to take into account ethical and environmental consequences, not only would you be helping the world but you would be driving change to the masses.
A good place to start would be to check out our ultimate sustainable menswear list to see if there are some brands that could help you make the switch.
This has been How to Slow men’s fashion – thanks for reading!