Fast vs. Slow Fashion: What's the Difference?

You probably hear a lot about fast fashion versus slow fashion (aka sustainable fashion) and you might be wondering: what IS fast fashion, anyway?

There are a lot of factors that go into what makes clothing "fast" or "slow," and we're here to break it down for you. 

First, a couple of stats for context. We discard 92 million tons of clothes-related waste each year (source), and every second the equivalent of a trash truckload of clothes is burnt or buried in a landfill (yikes!). Videos tagged with #haul on TikTok have cumulatively been viewed more than 49 billion times (as of 2023) and that number increases every minute (source). To keep up with high demand, fast fashion (as in: trendy clothing that's made as quickly and cheaply as possible) has exploded. 

On the flip side, slow fashion is a counterculture against the mainstream fast fashion movement (and the silver lining in this story). It brings more awareness to the clothing industry (generally one of the most polluting industries on the planet), and asks individuals to be conscious consumers that demand more from the brands they support.

So, what really differentiates the two? Quite a few things, actually.

Because sustainable clothing is produced to have a longer lifespan, the most sustainable thing you can do (aside from going nude) is to repair, thrift, and buy secondhand (and we've got our ToadAgain resale clothing platform to help with that). But when it does come time to buy something new, sustainable clothing is going to be your best bet. And if you're wondering whether sustainable clothing brands are really as eco as they claim to be, check out our handy Guide to Greenwashing to help you wade through a sea of buzzwords.