How can increased manufacture cost save the poor reputation of fashion? II
The fashion among most people has lost its magic
The second and last post about manufacture cost in the fashion Industry. How prices on the way have decreased previous 100 years because of cost minimization in the bottom of the pyramid, particular poor cotton farmers, and low-cost production places. The high turnover has led to more inferior quality the life cycle of a garment new, and second-hand has declined steadily since the 1950s. The demand for fast fashion increased market value, a business such as Inditex group. With eight store formats of which Zara is the most well-known has more than 6000 stores and 120.000 employees. Their strategy is a rapid turnaround and adjusts to changing market demands, nevertheless, does not mention the low price in their business concepts. Another large company is H&M with their 2900 stores, and aggressive growth strategy opened 325 new stores (2012) last year, according to their growth strategy an estimated number of stores by 2020 will be almost 6000. H&M is also one of the companies promoting green and responsible fashion. Recommended post; H&M is playing tricks with their figures in the sustainability reports.
Zara and H&M
Another large company is H&M with their 2900 stores, and aggressive growth strategy opened 325 new stores (2012) last year, according to their growth strategy an estimated number of stores by 2020 will be almost 6000. H&M is also one of the companies promoting green and responsible fashion. Recommended post; H&M is playing tricks with their figures in the sustainability reports.
Nevertheless, H&M sustainability reports highlight neither their aggressive growth strategy nor any other fact that might be in conflict with their wishes to be regarded by media and consumers as a green and responsible company as fast fashion. I admire H&M for their business success, but I will never consider the company as a green and accountable unless they move away from a fast-fashion business strategy. A difficult task, H&M is successful, and as a public company, the real decision-makers are their investors, and they would hardly change a winning team.
How can a fashion brand with a fast-fashion strategy claim to be a responsible company?
Fast fashion has changed the way we look, wear and buy clothes, hardly any consumers purchase because of quality, durability, protection or weather conditions; they wear it for acceptance and successful living. Wearing the same outfit and clothes more than a few times has become a symbol of those down and out. In a TV show, a few nights ago a celebrity was asked about her always a fresh style of whom she replied that one of the most important things was never to be seen in media with the alike out outfit twice as it gave a signal to fans and journalist whom she was not hot anymore. Her statement has a tremendous impact on teenagers, in particular, young girls.
Is it possible to make a fundamental change in business strategy and at the same time, be a profitable company? Fast fashion has over the years led to a decline in garment lifespan; less good quality, the unacceptable working condition in low-cost locations. Of whom the increased demand from companies to produce active, faster and fewer costly force factory owners and the government’s willingness to sacrifice risks health, safety standards and environmental protection. The result of this insane race to the bottom of the pyramid is tragic; Bangladesh death toll last year, cotton worker’s sad suicide rate, local pollution, the dead and dry river only touched the surface. Are these country’s government, politicians or people to blame or do they, in reality, can say no? A country depended on international textile production in Bangladesh, approximately 70% of GDP comes from clothing; vulnerable and unfortunately depended makes them willing to accept global brands increasingly demand lower prices, faster delivery, etc. These brands are not known for loyalty and always look at an opportunity for low cost, leaving behind economic chaos and environmental damage.
Are fashions next steps to be sold in supermarkets?
Historically, a household spent 14 per cent on apparel in 1900, in 1950 it decreased to 12 per cent and more than 50 years later in 2003, a household used only 4 per cent of their income on apparel. Fashion is one of the few industries where prices have led to lower average spending on a household’s total revenue. Since the 1950s, the consumer price index shows that spending on clothes and footwear has declined steadily. For example, the relative price of clothing fell by some 60 per cent between 1975 and 1999. Spending on “basic goods” such as food, fuel, and apparel has declined from more than 40 per cent of total non-housing expenditure to less than 27 per cent, with food exhibiting the most significant overall fall.
People, by contrast, spending more on services than ever. Also, the digital revolution led to many different consumer’s electronic devices like mobile, I –pads, laptops, Internet subscription. Modern electronics and especially mobile phones have become fashion objects and expression for taste and style. They are influencing the “what’s hot” factors and replaced the fashion role of cool. Low price garments, production has to meet several criteria; short production time, easy to manufacture, low SKU, minimize the cost of fabrics and other elements making large-scale production as cheap as possible. These criteria’s have led to a very similar style of fashion, which is easy to spot among most high street brands.
Experienced or perceived quality?
Low price product is often seen by the consumer as poor quality, over time changed our perception of quality, and we accept to a higher degree of lousy quality the word erodes and loses the meaning. Most people can afford to buy clothes today; it does no longer differentiate status or class. Low price combined with fast production has taken the originality out fashion, the endless garment being copied, big fashion brands buy trend reports from the same research agencies. Designers bound to a rigid set of criteria’s (low price, limited fabrics, strict colour story, sales targets, trend analysis and short deadlines. Therefore, to guess what comes next in style is relaxed, consumers do hardly need to make any decisions.
The magic has been taken out of fashion. Compare today’s way with the 1960s or ’70s and see the difference. To turn and rebuild the meaning of quality, is difficult and can only be done over a long period, therefore, I believe a good thing is to start by increase manufacture cost for many reasons, there are of course many other actions needed to create a successfulsustainable fashion future.
- What kind of actions is necessary to improve sustainable fashion ahead?
- How do the new Eco and sustainable consumer look like?
- Re-thinking Environment and Sustainable Development in the Twenty-first Century
How can increase manufacture cost save the poor reputation of fashion? I
Source and Useful Information
- EU-27 expenditure in euros per capita 2003 and 2011
- Statistics consumer index EU
- Will rising costs spark a new social trend in the fashion industry? Guardian post by Dr. Pamela Ravasio
- Consumption Trends in the UK, 1975–99
- Laura Blow Andrew Leicester Zoë Oldfield, Copy-edited by Judith Payne
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies
- The value of longevity: Product quality and sustainable consumption Tim Cooper, Nottingham Trent University, UK
- Bureau of labour statistics “100 Years of U.S. Consumer Spending”, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Textile Market
- The world clothing and textile industry – encompassing clothing, textiles, footwear and luxury goods – reached almost $2,560 trillion in 2010, according to MarketLine.
- The apparel, luxury goods and accessories portion of the market, which accounts for over 55% of the overall market, expected to generate $3,180 billion in 2015, with a yearly growth rate in excess of 4%.
- Inditex, Zara company website
- H&M facts
- The blog freedom lightbulb – documentary movie Lightbulb Conspiracy Documentary by Cosima Dannoritzer