If you are headed to your typical shopping mall, where will you shop for fashion? Many people would respond with Target, Forever 21, or Nike, as these stores offer trendy, stylish clothing and shoes at reasonable prices. Behind the pretty face, however, these stores also perpetuate what we call “fast fashion,” which is convenient but also challenging for people who believe in making a deeper statement with the clothes and shoes they wear. Slow fashion has been talked about in terms of clothes, but slow fashion and shoes are also an important thing to talk about.
You might be wondering, what, exactly is “Fast Fashion” and why does it matter to me? Fast fashion, as we mentioned before, is characterized by trendy clothes at reasonable prices. It is often made to replicate runway trends and is produced quickly to satisfy an immediate fashion urge.
“FAST FASHION ISN’T FREE. SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE IS PAYING.”– Lucy siegle
Slow Fashion is the opposite of Fast Fashion and focuses on producing quality over quantity, using ethically-sourced materials and employing fairly-treated workers. Shoe repair and slow fashion go hand in hand. Slow fashion often takes longer to produce and can be more expensive, but it’s thoughtfully made. Fast Fashion meets an urge, Slow Fashion satisfies a need. Better yet, over the long run, it is often less expensive than buying cheap new shoes.
Our customers have a connection that extends, literally to the soles of their shoes. That is why we do everything to bring your favorite pairs back to life. Think about that next time you have an urge to splurge on fuscia colored, basketball inspired slippers at H&M. Then say “Go Away” to to throw away.
SOME FAST + SLOW FASHION BRANDS TO KNOW
THE GOOD: Able
// ABLE’s headquarters is in Nashville, TN. They also have factories of hard-working women in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru. ABLE has fair labor practices for employees & is one of the only fashion companies to post their employees wages on their website. Supporting women & slow fashion- we can get behind that.
THE BAD: Converse
// Although seen as a cool and classic company, Converse seems less cool when you hear about their lack of attention paid to making their shoes. Converse has yet to get strict about their labor laws in developing countries. Converse also continues to use hazardous chemicals in their shoe manufacture, when economical alternatives exist.
THE UGLY: Forever 21
// Forever 21 is probably the epitome of Fast Fashion. Not only do they offer poorly-made products, but they received a D+ from the Ethical Fashion Report. We’ll let the report speak for itself. Sometimes that $9.99 shirt isn’t worth it.
THE GOOD: Veja
// Veja makes fair-trade sneakers from organic cotton. Their factory is also fair-trade certified and they offer a fair wage and many benefits to their employees. This stylish European brand is now also being carried by Madewell and reasonably priced .
THE GOOD: Nisolo
// Nisolo makes chic, sophisticated shoes, all while maintaining an ethical price point and a commitment to sustainability and ethical production. They even go as far as far as publish a yearly impact report on their site, to allow for transparency over all aspects of production. Additionally, for every Nisolo product sold, a contribution is made to help protect forests in the Amazon Basin.
THE GOOD: Allbirds
// Allbirds is known not only for their comfortable and trendy shoes, but also their commitment to the environment and making shoes that last. They use certified ZQ Merino Wool which is produced from higher farming standards and with great care for the animal’s welfare. They also use 40% less packaging than most other companies.
Why should I worry about fast fashion when it comes to shoes?
Although much of the discussion involving fast fashion is around clothes, shoes are just as important in the discussion. We wear shoes everyday and for some of us, we wear the same pair of shoes for many days. When picking out shoes, we should pick ones out that are made of quality materials and are built to last. Shoes from slow fashion companies often come at a higher price, but can last for years and are easily repaired. On the other hand, many cheaper shoes can only be thrown away once they have broken.
Next time you are buying a new pair of shoes, think about the kind of consumer you want to be. Does it make more sense to buy a pair of cheaply made shoes that will last a couple months or a more expensive pair that can last for years?