Tailored suits and slow fashion: the art of sustainability and the antidote to the damages of fast fashion
In recent decades, the fashion industry has undergone a rapid transformation driven by the so-called “fast fashion”. This business model is based on mass production of low-cost clothing in various countries around the world where labor costs are extremely low, often with little regard for the health of these “workers”, as well as the use of harmful chemicals and materials, to create collections that change frequently to follow the latest trends. However, fast fashion has a negative impact on the environment and the people involved in production. In this article, we will explore the consequences of fast fashion and how slow fashion, the business model that has always characterized the way we design and produce our tailored suits at Sartoria Litrico, represents a sustainable and responsible alternative.
The destructive effects of fast fashion
Fast fashion, more commonly known as “disposable fashion”, emerged as a predominant phenomenon from the ’90s, although its roots date back to the ’60s and ’70s with the rise of prêt-à-porter fashion and mass clothing production. In the ’90s, many companies began to expand rapidly and adopt business models focused on producing low-cost garments and rotating collections frequently, to meet the growing consumer demand to follow the latest trends at affordable prices. Since then, fast fashion has become a major driving force in the fashion industry, with a significant impact on the environment, natural resources, and workers’ rights. The following are the main problems that have emerged from the growth of the fast fashion model:
a. Environmental Pollution
Fast fashion significantly contributes to environmental pollution. The production of synthetic fabrics such as polyester, commonly used in fast fashion, requires the use of oil and the generation of harmful chemicals. Moreover, the garments produced by this business model have a short life, which means they are quickly discarded and end up in landfills or incinerators, further exacerbating the environmental impact.
b. Excessive Consumption of Resources
Fast fashion production requires enormous amounts of natural resources, such as water and energy. For example, the cultivation of cotton, one of the fabrics most used in fast fashion, is extremely costly in terms of water consumption. In addition, the dyeing and finishing processes of fabrics require the use of toxic chemicals that can contaminate local water resources.
c. Exploitation of Workers
Fast fashion often relies on low wages, precarious working conditions, and the exploitation of workers in developing countries, where much of the production is usually carried out. This business model encourages low-cost production, jeopardizing the safety and well-being of the workers involved.”
The Hidden Costs of Fast Fashion
While fast fashion garments may seem cheap and convenient at first glance, they often hide costs that go beyond the price paid at the time of purchase.
i. Environmental Costs
As we discussed earlier, fast fashion contributes to environmental pollution, excessive consumption of resources, and the generation of textile waste. These environmental costs can have a significant impact on air and water quality, and biodiversity, which ultimately affect the health and well-being of people and communities.
ii. Social Costs
The low wages and poor working conditions often associated with fast fashion production lead to hidden social costs. Economic insecurity, job instability, and health risks for workers can fuel social inequality and reduce the quality of life for communities involved in the production of these garments.
iii. Long-Term Economic Costs
Buying fast fashion clothing may seem convenient in the short term, but the poor quality and short lifespan of these items often require frequent purchases to replace damaged or worn-out garments. Moreover, the cost of disposing of textile waste and cleaning up polluted natural resources can pose an economic burden on communities and governments.
iv. Cultural Costs
Fast fashion can contribute to the erosion of artisanal traditions and the loss of local skills in the fashion industry. Mass production and homogenization of trends can lead to a reduction in cultural diversity and the disappearance of traditional techniques and practices that have historical and artistic value.
Considering these hidden costs, it becomes clear that fast fashion can have a negative impact on various aspects of society and the environment.”
Slow Fashion as a Sustainable Alternative
Slow fashion, or High Fashion, is a movement and approach to fashion that promotes sustainability, quality, and ethics in the production and consumption of clothing. As opposed to fast fashion, slow fashion focuses on responsible production practices, use of eco-friendly materials, and respect for workers’ rights. The following are the main advantages of this approach:
a. Quality and Durability
Unlike fast fashion, slow fashion focuses on the quality and durability of garments. At Sartoria Litrico, we only use high-quality fabrics and materials and pay great attention to detail and artisanal craftsmanship in the design and creation of our tailored suits. This approach ensures that our garments last over time, reducing the need to buy new clothes and decreasing the environmental impact.
b. Responsible and Sustainable Production
Slow fashion promotes responsible and sustainable production. At Sartoria Litrico, we commit to reducing the environmental impact of our production processes, using eco-friendly fabrics and low-impact production practices. For example, we aim to use natural and biodegradable fibers, such as linen, wool, cashmere, and silk, and to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in dyeing and finishing fabrics.
c. Valorization of Craftsmanship and Local Traditions
Slow fashion celebrates the art and traditions of local craftsmanship. At Sartoria Litrico, we are proud of our Italian heritage and the skills of our tailors, which represent our history and cultural heritage. Valuing local craftsmanship also means encouraging skill development and job creation within communities.
d. Transparency and Fairness in the Supply Chain
Another fundamental aspect of slow fashion is transparency in the supply chain and the promotion of fair and safe working conditions. At Sartoria Litrico, we commit to working with suppliers who share our ethical and sustainable values and to ensuring that our workers receive fair wages and work in dignified conditions.
e. Conscious Consumption
Slow fashion encourages consumers to shop more consciously and to consider the impact of their fashion choices on the environment and the people involved in production. Choosing high-quality tailored garments, such as those offered by Sartoria Litrico, means investing in garments that will last over time and that have been made with respect for the environment and workers’ rights.
Fast fashion has proven to have a negative impact on the environment, natural resources, and workers’ rights. On the contrary, slow fashion represents a sustainable and responsible business model that focuses on quality, durability, and respect for the environment and the people involved in production.
At Sartoria Litrico, we are proud to promote slow fashion through our dedication to craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail that makes the difference, and the use of sustainable materials and practices. By supporting slow fashion, we can contribute to creating a fairer, more responsible fashion industry that respects our planet and the people who are part of it.
Since 2022, Sartoria Litrico has also become a “Benefit Corporation”
Benefit Corporations (BCs) represent an evolution of the very concept of a company: they integrate into their corporate purpose, in addition to profit objectives, the goal of having a positive impact on society and the biosphere, pursue common benefit purposes, and operate responsibly, sustainably, and transparently towards people, communities, territories, and the environment, cultural and social goods and activities, entities, associations, and other stakeholders.