The inspiration for this blog was the breathtaking sight of the line of people waiting along Wenceslas Square in Prague for the opening of the world-famous, but new in the Czech Republic, fast fashion chain PRIMARK. Several kilometres long queues of people waited for the opening, even for 12 hours in the June sun, in the middle of Prague's Wenceslas Square.
The term fast fashion is mentioned quite often in Europe, and I'll summarize it like this: The most typical features of fast fashion are that the clothes are cheap and thus very affordable for the masses, they often copy the latest trends of our favourite celebrities and force us to completely rethink our wardrobe every year, even three times a season. Not only because of trends, but also because of questionable quality. The zipper of my trousers breaks, I sweat in a fake T-shirt and my skirt instantly turns grey after the first wash. In particular, chains like H&M, Primark, Zara and others.
I will now give you the facts that many of us hide our eyes and ears from: in addition to the fact that around 92 million tonnes of clothes end up in the world's rubbish dumps every year, clothes are produced in huge factories in China, Bangladesh and other Asian countries. The inhuman conditions of often 19 hours a day at work, with a monthly salary of €78 (2019), form a vicious circle for the workers. Bangladesh, for example, exports over 84% of fast fashion and therefore employees have no choice. Either they will work under these conditions or they will be left with no income at all. Though the citizens of Bangladesh protest against these conditions, but the police disperse them and so the changes happen very slowly. So, in short, here's how it is with fast fashion. Often the argument is heard that we simply cannot afford to buy more expensive, genuinely designer clothes. A spring coat for EUR 100? Trainers for EUR 250? That will ruin us! Really? So let's work out how much it costs you to wear things with a simple calculation.
First I buy a dress according to the latest trends somewhere in H&M. The dress cost 34 EUR. I wear it for one season, from May to September. I wore it 10 times during the summer because after a couple of washes it was not as good quality. How much did it cost me? 34 EUR :10 wears = 3,40 ,- EUR one wear. I also bought a designer spring coat, good quality and versatile. The coat cost me 100 EUR. I wore it from March to May and then again in September and October. I wore it 20 times each month: 20 wears x 4 months = 80 wears. The price of the coat was EUR 100 : 80 wears = EUR 1,25 per wear. I will wear this coat again next year and probably the year after that as well, because it is well made, nothing is wrong with it.
It is essential to realise that we are not so rich that we buy cheap things. Cheap things require additional expenditure. A more expensive thing serves you for a long time and makes your life easier. The more times you put clothes on, the less it costs you. So it pays to buy quality clothes that are versatile and comfortable, that we wear more often and always feel confident because we are wearing real quality. If we don't immediately have a larger sum of money to spend on quality sneakers, let's learn to set goals and save for quality. But more on that in the next article.
We hope we've helped you realize the value of the clothes you wear. Share the simple calculation with everyone you know or share this article with them. Being responsible to nature and people makes us happy.
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