Slow: A New Take on the Fashion Industry Denmark as a Pioneer

Catharina Aurelia Schröder

Student thesis: Master thesis


The fast fashion industry is criticized for creating negative social, environmental and economic consequences, prompting a constant desire for newness, consumption and sale of low quality clothes at low prices. The industry’s reputation includes rapid change, garment worker exploitation and high profits gained while garment factory workers earn minimum wages, working in unsafe conditions, as seen in the 2013 Rana Plaza scandal, in Bangladesh. In contrast, Denmark has a reputation for its stand in the fashion industry for sustainability. Denmark is now poised to become the world leader in sustainable fashion. Using this knowledge, this research investigates the Danish fashion industry, exploring whether Denmark lives up to its reputation for sustainable fashion. In particular, the research explores tendencies towards the phenomenon of slow fashion in Denmark. Slow fashion is an expression of sustainability. This research also investigates how Denmark based fashion companies, identifying with the slow fashion concept, can use this approach as a competitive and innovative strategy. Furthermore, this research contributes to the investigated research field on two levels. In terms of sustainability theory, the research reveals that communicating sustainability is not seen as a strategy for competitive advantage. The research also provides a connection between a possible lack in education about sustainability and the negative opinions about sustainable fashion in Denmark, possibly a cause for its low demand. This research shows slow fashion to be a silent movement, but in fact existing in Denmark. Strategic advice gained from the research includes companies promoting their own practice of slow fashion, clearly differentiating slow fashion from sustainability, and emphasizing slow fashion values of quality, timelessness, sincerity, longevity, aesthetics and craftsmanship. Inspired by the success of the slow food movement in Denmark, slow fashion promotion might benefit from showing how its values enhance educated consumers’ quality of life. This research reveals that slow fashion can become an innovative and competitive strategy, mindful of the future of the world we live in, and suited to Denmark's current reputation for sustainability.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages247