You need to slow down, stat! We have trouble with the concept of slow, don’t we? Given the frenetic pace of modern life, it’s not surprising. We are feeding the lie that busier lives are better lives, and in doing so rushing recklessly towards stress-related sickness. According to this study, half of all working Aussies “experience high levels of occupational burnout”. The knowledge that much of this stress is self-created doesn’t seem to stop us running ourselves ragged.

But despite mind-spinning reports that scientists have broken the universe’s speed limit (it’s something to do with the speed of light in a vacuum, apparently; what do I know? I’m a fashion person), down here we simply cannot accelerate for ever. Something’s going to get in the way. Like corners. Or our frayed tempers. What kind of status symbol is exhaustion anyway?.

“When we rush through our days, rarely taking the time to slow down and consider our choices, actions, or interactions, we miss out on so much,” Slow author Brooke McAlary says. “We miss out on real connection to the people we spend time with, the places we live and the things we choose to own, and we miss out on quality in those same things. When we choose to slow down, even just a little each day, we give ourselves the opportunity to connect and be present, and to really pay attention.”

She reckons the result is feeling happier, healthier and more grounded. “It’s in paying attention that life reveals so many of its little treasures, that we’d otherwise be too busy to notice,” McAlary says.

She notes that a growing number of people are recognising the wisdom of such thinking, and there’s a “general movement towards slow living, that takes in meditation and digital detoxes as well as things like the slow food and slow fashion”.

The slow food movement was founded by Italian chef Carlo Petrini in the 1980s, and advocates for seasonal eating based on local, natural produce, cooked mindfully “to recognise the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture”.

Slow fashion is trickier to define. Is it about hand-made, natural fibres, mending and DIY? Or bespoke, made-to-order, limited editions that are worth the wait? Can the big brands really embrace slow fashion? How will the digital world respond?


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