In recent years, the global fashion industry has witnessed a noticeable shift, with an increasing emphasis on sustainability, ethical practices and green marketing. As environmental concerns and ethical considerations become more prominent worldwide, the significance of local manufacturing and much slower fashion practices have emerged as a rather obvious solution. New Zealand has for a long time now, had its own small but thriving fashion industry. Taking our current climate circumstances into consideration, there has never been a better time to shop local. Local manufacturing and slow fashion are playing a vital role in preserving New Zealand's environment, culture, and economy.

Fast fashion, characterised by rapidly produced and inexpensive clothing, has dominated the global market for decades now. This has created a wear it once approach, with low prices and trend focused products allowing consumers to buy new every season and say goodbye the next. Naturally, this consumer convenience comes at a significant cost to the environment and workers conditions. The environmental impact of fast fashion is devastating, with issues like excessive waste, overconsumption of resources, and extensive carbon emissions. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it by now, yet many of us still continue to shop fast.

We're not here to make you feel guilty about your shopping choices. Rather to explore other more conscious alternatives and gain a deeper insight into your shopping habits. It's important to remember everything you buy comes at a cost and has its own journey before and after you own it. 

You might be thinking, "The idea of shopping local sound's great, but the prices don't fit my budget." Slow fashion isn't necessarily synonymous with unaffordable luxury – it's all about shopping smarter! First and foremost, let's debunk the myth that slow fashion must always be new and expensive. In fact, if you’re willing to set aside the time and a bit of research there are plenty of second-hand gems waiting to be uncovered at your local hospice or even online. Seek out quality fabrics like linen, silk, cotton, and wool – and if you stumble upon something locally made, consider it a bonus.

If op-shops just aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are many curated online platforms that do most of the hard work for you. Designer consignment stores such as Tatty's and smaller independent thrifting platforms are circulating quality second-hand clothing. Remember, less can be more when you're dealing with carefully selected and timeless pieces that you will cherish forever.

Once you've saved a bit on your clothing budget by shopping second hand, perhaps you can afford to invest in some staple designer pieces.  You can’t go wrong with a good quality coat and a versatile black dress to elevate your other more everyday basics. Investing in a good quality capsule wardrobe is a great way to go. Also note that designer items often will go on sale. Invest wisely, and feel good knowing that your designer finds also hold resale value. Vs a fast fashion conundrum where your garments look tatty after one season and go off to the clothing bin – your thoughtful choices have staying power.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it's important to say these things again. The fast fashion industry generates massive textile waste, harming the environment with harmful chemicals. Fast fashion has been marred by numerous ethical issues, including labour exploitation, unsafe working conditions, and the violation of workers' rights.

Embracing slow fashion and local manufacturing mitigates these issues and supports ethical practices. It also stimulates job growth, benefiting New Zealand's economy and promoting fair labour conditions. Buying locally ensures ethical treatment of workers and fosters a skilled local workforce. Furthermore, slow fashion's focus on durable and creative designs, reduces carbon emissions and overall demand for fast fashion. By choosing sustainable fashion, we create a more eco-conscious and self-reliant economy, all while safeguarding workers well-being.

As we see the world increasingly embrace sustainable practices, local manufacturing and slow fashion is one way you can help protect the environment and bolster the local economy right here in Aotearoa. By making conscious choices to support local designers and makers, we can contribute to a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry all around the world. Embracing slow fashion not only promotes responsible consumption but also helps New Zealand position itself as a leader in the global movement towards a more sustainable future.

In essence, slow fashion isn't just about ethical and sustainable choices; it's an artful dance between your heart, your wallet, and the planet. By embracing local manufacturing and investing in timeless, quality pieces, you're making a powerful statement. You're not just following trends but setting a trend of your own – one that showcases both your personality and your discernment.