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Fast Fashion Price Pondering

Posted by Amanda Buckland on

Last week a new report on clothing factory conditions for fast-fashion brand Shein was released and it made me wonder about two things: 1) the possibility of raising fast fashion prices; 2) why this new article isn’t getting as much attention compared to previous news.

Main part of the article stated factory workers at Shein suppliers work 75-hour weeks. Without the overtime the monthly average base pay amounts to $337 (USD equivalent) vs the monthly living wage in China of $914 (USD equivalent).[1]

There is a misconception that ‘Made in China’ is always cheap or absolutely inexpensive.  The cost of labor in clothing production is actually determined by how long it takes for a garment to be cut, sewn, and finished. Fast fashion designs are simpler, use less or worse quality fabric, and are sewn & embellished with less refinement as quickly as possible.

The average price of clothing has increased less than inflation since 2006[2] primarily because low prices of fast fashion weigh down the average. Consumers have been trained to expect low prices for a long time. Even if brands increased prices specifically for factory wages, or if higher value garments are produced, the stigma of a fast fashion brand may still limit the consumers’ acceptance of price increases at the low end of the market.

Discussing low quality clothing and fast fashion have been popular topics on social media. However, I’ve seen very few talking about this updated Shein report. People experience semantic satiation – becoming desensitized because of repetition – for neurological efficiency. Meaning, our brains tune things out because we don’t need new resources to understand & process the same things. We feel less emotional about more of the same news.[3]

I would argue that personal semantic satiation is what leads many shoppers to overconsume apparel & accessories that they don’t wear repeatedly because low priced merchandise is easier to buy impulsively. As I think through Amanda Lynnae, my goal is to create clothes that people wear repeatedly because the designs carry through cycles and the fabrication lasts.

 
[1] Edwards, Charlotte. “Shein suppliers still work 75-hour weeks – report” www.bbc.com 2024 May 12.
[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
[3] Bartlett, Stephen. The Diary of a CEO (Great Britain: Ebury Edge, 2023), Pages 107-111.
Fast fashion overconsumption shopping

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