Sustainable Fashion Vs Slow Fashion

Many people have confusion regarding the terms "sustainable fashion" and "slow fashion." They believe that both the terms are similar or synonyms for each other, and therefore, they use them interchangeably. But the fact is that both, though they have some similarity, are distinct terms. The purposes of both terms are different from each other. So, in this article, first we will discuss the meaning of both the terms separately and then we will discuss the major differences between them.

What is the Meaning of Sustainable Fashion?

Sustainable fashion is a comprehensive term, which includes a wide range of acts and processes starting from the farming and culture of raw fibers, making them refine fibers, then fabrics, and then designing, manufacturing, supplying in the market, selling, and finally purchase and use by the consumers. In addition to this, it also includes the way it is disposed of. So, the sustainable fashion, which is also popular as ‘eco-fashion,’ also emphasizes on the concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle (R3). Which means don’t buy clothes unnecessarily, buy only when needed; secondly, keep using and reusing them until their quality is damaged; and, lastly, don’t dump or throw them anywhere, but give them to a proper place where they can be recycled. Likewise, the purposes behind sustainable fashion are to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry, ensure social justice and equality, promote animal welfare and ecological integrity; and it also encourages organic farming and motivates people to avoid using clothes made of synthetic fibers (which is also known as fossil fashion). Furthermore, the sustainable fashion or movement encourages combating the large carbon footprint that is a direct result of fast fashion and reducing environmental impact, such as air pollution, water pollution, and landfill, all of which contribute to climate change.

What is the Meaning of Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion is the reaction or movement that exclusively started against fast fashion. Fast fashion, which has not only been growing exponentially but also adversely affecting the overall environment, has drawn the attention of a few people, and they started the slow fashion movement to discourage the growth and use of fast fashion. Likewise, slow fashion is the complete antithesis to the fast fashion. Therefore, the concept promotes a slower, more sustainable approach to wearing clothes. The process that it involves is thrift shopping, second-hand clothes, upcycling old garments, and shopping in small quantities. The term "slow fashion" was first time used by Kate Fletcher, Professor of sustainability, design and fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion.

What is the Difference Between sustainable fashion and slow fashion?

The following table efficiently describes the significant differences between sustainable fashion and slow fashion:

Basis Sustainable Fashion Slow Fashion
Meaning Also known as ‘eco-fashion’, sustainable fashion is a movement started to conserve the environment. Slow fashion is a movement started to provide clothes in a sustainable manner.
Purpose The sustainable fashion movement was founded with the goal of preserving the deteriorating environment and promoting environment friendly practices in order to meet our current needs without jeopardizing our future prospects. The slow fashion movement, which is just the antithesis of fast fashion, started with the purpose of ending the dependency on synthetic fibers and promoting the local culture and arts.
Coverage area Sustainable fashion is more than just avoiding synthetic garments and wearing clothes made of eco-friendly fibers; it encompasses the entire process, from the production of raw fibers to the final use of clothes, and it also suggests that instead of dumping or throwing them away, give them to the appropriate recycling facility. This is the movement that started at the international level. It promotes locally made, durable clothes and avoids fast fashion. It also promotes the local artisans by buying their products. Besides, it includes economic shopping, second-hand clothes (fashion swap), recycling old garments, shopping from small-quantity producers, and quality pieces with a longer lifespan. But the movement is on a local level.
It started on the response of sustainable growth and development with the intention of fulfilling the present needs without compromising with future generation’s needs. It started to oppose fast fashion and promote local artisans and production in a sustainable manner.


Though there is a conceptual difference between sustainable fashion and slow fashion, but the underneath idea behind both the concepts is same. The only difference is of purpose and degree. The former’s prospects and scope are pretty broad, and slow fashion’s prospects and scope are, comparatively, smaller.


1. Zavi. Sustainable Fashion vs. Slow Fashion: Is One Better Than the Other? (URL -

2. Northmist. Sustainable Fashion vs Slow Fashion vs Ethical Fashion - Familiarizing with the Concepts (URL -

3. Sharmon Lebby. What Is Slow Fashion? Definition, Progress, and Tips (URL -


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