Slow Design, Slow Fashion, Slow Food—the Slow Movement has arrived, and it has a message: slow down.
Hard to do on a personal level when we live in a world full of instant gratification. Want that online shopping cart of dirt cheap, but highly trendy décor items from China? But you want it fast? Send it by air for an extra $12! Do you like that dress on your screen? Buy it now! Hurry! Only 1 left! And how about some Chilean Sea Bass, just flown in today?
No. This is no way to live. Not for us, not for the rest of the people on the planet and not for the planet herself. Slow down. Never mind that the earth is rotating at a speed of 1,600 km per hour at the Equator. That should make us dizzy enough all by itself. Slow down. Centre yourself. Stop spinning out of control.
Seriously, think about it. Slow is the new fast. It’s ethical. It’s intentional. It’s meaningful. Plus, if we don’t stop all this mindless consumption, we are not going to survive as a society. The landfills are full of cheap clothes that were part of the latest trend from last year. The U.S. alone sends about 10 billion kilograms of textiles to landfills every year. We’re no saints in Canada either, sending a billion kilograms of clothing to the dump annually ourselves. Seriously?
The term ‘Slow Design’ was born from the slow food movement, which launched a global consumer culture around unprocessed, local foods (think the 100-mile diet). According to Wikipedia, the overarching goal of Slow Design is to promote well-being for individuals, society, and the natural environment. So much of the slow movement is philosophical but it’s also extremely practical and forward-thinking.
Slow Design means more time for research, for contemplation and for real-life impact testing. And that means less harm. It’s design that takes into account regional culture and is designed to support local industries, workshops, and craftspeople. Slow Design is really another way to say ethical design. And it’s all part of Intentional Living: living mindfully, living purposefully and purchasing ethically.
In fashion (clothes and home décor), Slow Design means hand-made, artistically designed, environmentally friendly and if not local, traded fairly. The artist is always an important piece of the puzzle in slow design. Some fast talkers have managed to hijack the artisanal label but the true meaning of the word will always be the same: made in a traditional way by someone who is skilled with their hands.
We all need to consider our choices and to make slower decisions. It’s time to practice thoughtful, methodical consumption of products that don’t harm the planet or the people on it. We are all walking on the same path.
Slow down. Relax. Smell the roses, for heaven’s sake.
Eckhardt Tolle said, “In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.”
And he’s right.