Slow Fashion v Fast Fashion: The What’s and Why’s

“If you are not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem”.

You know the saying, right? We’re sure you’ve heard it before. It’s been circulating for some time now, applicable to any and every social topic. We’re here to use it on an issue close to us- the debate over Slow Fashion v Fast Fashion.

Let’s get it straight first. This widely misquoted phrase derives from the quote “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem,” generally attributed to American writer and political activist Leroy Eldrige Cleaver (Sheetz, 2020) .

Impactful, and never more accurate than today, this quote is a reminder and guide. In this troubling time everyone is aware of the impact lack of action has and we strongly count on the awareness of our followers and clients.

Quite a dramatic beginning for a blog that promotes “It’s always more fun in a suit,” right? But this time, we’ve got something serious to say, so buckle up.

In this weekly blog post, as promised last week, we will try to explain why, today more than ever, taking a stance is important. And we are taking a stance! But first some context is required, which brings us to the first point.

The What

It is important to understand the concepts of slow fashion, fast fashion and their environmental impacts. Although most of the time, with us, it’s going to be light and fun, when there is an important issue we are not afraid to speak our mind! So let’s start with some concrete definitions.

What is Fast Fashion – According to our friend, the almighty Internet, which comes in our aid once again, fast fashion (Aishwariya, 2019) denotes lower-quality, low priced, mass-produced and machine-made garments that quickly end up in landfills.

In short, clothing that is produced cheaply and quickly, often replicating the newest styles, hence the term Fast Fashion.

What is Slow Fashion – On the other hand, slow fashion (Green Fashion Week, 2020) aims to decrease the speed of production, consumption and disposing by placing greater appreciation on one’s purchase. Carefully considering an acquisition, connecting with clothes instead of just another addition to the wardrobe.

Now that we’re clear on the specifics, let’s move to the most important part of this blog post: THE WHY.

The Why

Two words- Environmental impact.

Scientific studies (McFall-Johnsen, 2019) have reached the conclusion that the fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Furthermore, it produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second largest-consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with micro plastics.

Source: The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry by Luisa Wagner

Source: The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry by Luise Wagner. SANVT


The European Parliament had a briefing on the “Environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry,” (Sajn, 2019) which highlighted a series of environmental damages the fast fashion industry produces, as well as some advantages of the slow fashion.

We’ve cited the report below, so we will only highlight some key aspects but we
strongly encourage our readers to go through it.

The report states that “encouraged by multinational retail chains, Fast Fashion relies on mass production, low prices and large volumes of sales.”

As an example, Zara offered 24(!!) new clothing collections each year while H&M between 12 and 16. In what concerns specific numbers, the textile and clothing industry was responsible for the consumption of 79 billion cubic meters of water, 1715 million tons of CO2 and 92 million tons of waste.

Source: The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry

Source: The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry by Luise Wagner. SANVT


If you think this is troubling, well… the estimates, under a business-as-usual scenario, are that these numbers will increase by at least 50% by 2030.

And this is where we come into play! According to the same report, estimates show that if the number of times a garment is worn is doubled on average, the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions would be 44% lower (keep in mind our previous blog post about the advantages of clothes lasting longer).

Now that’s BIG.

One solution, among others of course, provided in the same report, is SLOW FASHION. Unlike Fast Fashion, Slow Fashion is an attempt to convince consumers to buy fewer clothes of better quality and to keep them for a longer period of time.

The philosophy includes reliance on:
1) trusted supply chains
2) small-scale production
3) traditional crafting techniques
4) using local materials and trans-seasonal garments

It calls for a change in the economic model, towards selling fewer clothes.

Now, without any false modesty we are very proud to shout out: we are 4 out of 4. Don’t get us wrong, this is neither the place nor the context to brag, but it is important for you to truly understand the level of commitment we have towards Slow Fashion.

We want to be unequivocal on our position here, and we will not refrain from pointing fingers when we feel something wrong or environmentally unfriendly is happening!

Remember in 2017 when Burberry burned bags, clothes and perfumes worth 28.6
million (BBC News, 2018) ?

*As a side note, Burberry is hardly the only example, H&M has burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013, Richemont (owner of jeweler Cartier, Piaget and Baume &Mercier) destroyed $563 million worth of watches (Lieber, 2018) *

The list goes on, believe us, but we are confident, that by now, everyone’s down with the point we are trying to prove.

We can happily assure you, this is a thing we will never do.

We strongly feel, and hope we were able to prove, that Fast Fashion is a serious problem. We’re not here this week to generate sales, we just want you guys to know where we stand on important issues, especially but not exclusively, environmental ones. If this blog post has achieved its purpose, then we are more than happy.

We know this post was long and somewhat technical and not in line with what you’re usually accustomed to from us. We are delighted if you, kind reader, reached this point. As a general guidance, this will not be the standard length for future posts. Just sayin’.

One last tiny request from the creators of Suits by HT&T, being a lazy Sunday afternoon after all, nothing would make us more happy than for you to skim through the cited sources as there more detailed and interesting ideas, which unfortunately, due to length constraints, could not all be detailed in this material.

Enjoy the lazy Sunday afternoon and remember, it’s more fun in a suit!

The HT&T Team




Aishwariya, S., 2019. Fast vs Slow Fashion. FIBRE2FASHION.

BBC News, 2018. Burberry burns bags, clothes and perfume worth millions.
BBC, 19 July.

Green Fashion Week , 2020. Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion 2020. Green
Fashion Week.

Lieber, C., 2018. Why fashion brands destroy billions worth of their own
merchandise every year. VOX, 17 September.

McFall-Johnsen, M., 2019. Fast Fashion Environmental Impact. Business

Sajn, N., 2019. Environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry - What
consumers need to know - , Brussels: European Parliament.

Sheetz, K., 2020. Eldridge Cleaver. Britannica.

Wagner, L., 2020. The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry.