Juicy watermelon. Barbecue ribs. Flowy sundresses. These are just some of the words associated with the lazy days of summer. Yet what does one wear while soaking up the warm rays? Better yet, what slow fashion trends help sustain the earth and look fabulous on a porch swing?
Slow fashion, unlike fast fashion, is meant for longevity. Fast fashion is cyclical, and what's in-style today won't be vogue next season, but with sustainable brands, the emphasis is on sustainability and quality. As we glide into summer, these eco-friendly fashion considerations make the long days and nights even sweeter. And dare we say it —for years to come!
Select fresh fabric innovation
Clothing choice is more than choosing a cut that looks good; it's about selecting a piece that feels decadent, too. Slow fashion is all about fabric innovation, taking a material like plastic or seagrass, and transforming the fibers into poolside loungewear or beach bags.
Summer Salt specializes in swimwear made from premium recycled plastics and nylon waste, such as fishing nets. Yet the fabric is soft and luxurious on your skin. The classic summer bathing suits hold up to wear without the designer price tag.
Pair the gingham jet setter one-piece with the handwoven Sara Wooden Handle Tote. You can carry all your picnic essentials in the tote, no matter if it’s a day at the beach or working on your tan in the comfort of your backyard.
Seagrass is found naturally in Thailand, collected by weavers, and woven into ethically-made totes and handbags. Slow fashion trends means fresh fabric innovation. Look for styles that incorporate sustainable materials.
Choose mom and pop shops
Most prominent fashion names churn out shorts and flip flops faster than it takes to apply sunscreen. This is why small to mid-sized brands are a better slow fashion trend to follow. Smaller niche brands usually pledge a vision of fair wages, sustainable fibers, and commitment to giving back.
Mate, a woman-owned small company, specializes in everyday wear, made from GOTS certified organic cotton. Slip into the terracotta Midi Dress light enough for the hottest summer day. The Mini-Tote Tan by Sea and Grass matches the simple elegance of the t-shirt dress. Both are lightweight and perfect for taking a stroll along the beach or breakfast out with the girls. Sea and Grass is also a woman-owned small business that pays fair wages, and hand weaves all its bags and accessories.
Rent sustainable fashion
One slow fashion trend worth considering is renting the latest styles for summer barbecues. As the temperature heats up, so will your wardrobe. Rent the Runway, Le Tote, and Nuuly are popular options for those who desire to flaunt the latest fashion without destroying the planet.
Some argue that the cost of delivery, returns, and dry cleaning makes fashion-rental a not so eco-friendly approach for sustainably-minded fashionistas. The carbon footprint for delivery plus returns and cardboard packaging defeat the eco-friendly factor of clothing rental.
According to Vox News, transportation (cars, trucks, and airplanes) now encompasses the most significant source of Co2 emissions. The Amazon Prime shipping service, while fast and convenient, only adds to climate change. Still, the cost of buying new clothes and accessories each month outpaces the little-considered downsides of fashion rental.
Another option is to look for newly used or second sale handbags or clothing that possess minor imperfections. For example, the seagrass weave may be slightly discolored or misshapen, but the tote comes at a discounted price and helps save the environment.
Commit to giving back
Slow fashion is more than just the fabric and how it's made; it's also a commitment to creating beautiful goods that support communities. The support may come from fair wages, a donation of the profits, or a fund aimed at promoting a cause. Sustainable and ethically-minded slow fashion businesses usually make it a mission to give back. Now is the time to choose how you spend your hard-earned money.
Conscious Step makes summer socks seem bigger than cozy goodness by pledging funds to numerous causes, such as fighting hunger and building homes in impoverished areas. Sea & Grass created the Areeya Scholarship Fund to educate children in the same Thai regions where their bags come to life.
Wash clothing less
Unless you sweat profusely or eat as if it's a pie contest, it's more than okay to wear the same jeans a few times. Is anyone really going to know? Are they filthy? In the Life Cycle of a Jean report by Levi Straus & Co., we can save up to 80% of water usage, climate change impact, and energy use by only washing your clothes after wearing them ten times.
When you do throw them in the washer, wash in cold water, and forgo the double rinsing. If you can afford the investment, swap out an older washing machine for an eco-friendly one that uses less water per load.
Unbound Merino makes travel and every day t-shirts that you can wear for weeks without washing. The other promise is the shirts are odor resistant, dry fast, and won’t wrinkle. Pangaia offers seaweed fiber tank tops perfect for summer that dry fast and feel silky on the skin. The summer tanks pair well with the Fringe Beach Tote.
Let it all hang out to dry
While hanging your clothes out to dry may seem like something from a bygone era, taking the time to let clothes flap in the wind is an environmentally-minded choice. Air-drying your clothes on a backyard clothesline saves dryer energy and money. Not to mention the smell of the wind-whipped freshness baked into your clothing when you air dry.
If you don't have space outside to let your garments flap in the wind, a chair in a sunny spot or indoors clothing rack serves the same purpose. While your clothes are drying, hang out in the Quinn Wide Brim Hat on the patio or grass.
When it comes to summer, you'll love these sun-kissed slow fashion trends. While a trend implies gone tomorrow, not true for sustainable fashion. Sure, seasons change, and so does your wardrobe, but when you choose slow fashion, you're always taking actionable steps for positive change for yourself and mother earth.
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Amber Roshay is a freelance marketing writer who specializes in health, education, and beauty. She's been featured on Business Insider, Motherly, The Write Life, and more. When she's not writing content, she's enjoying the beach with her family in San Diego