The High Cost of Cheap Fashion

From Project Syndicate:

Naomi Wolf


OXFORD – I confess: I do it, too. Like most Western women, I do it regularly, and it is a guilty pleasure every time. It is hard to listen to one’s conscience when one is faced with so much incredible temptation.

I am talking, of course, about cheap trendy fashion. I’ll visit a Zara – or H&M, or, now that I am in the United Kingdom for the summer, the amazing Primark – and snap up items that are “cute,” effectively disposable, and so shockingly inexpensive that one does a double take.

I need to face my addiction – and so do all women like me.

Fashion has been transformed by the recent emergence of retail chains that hire good designers to make throwaway clothing and accessories that are right on trend. This evolution has freed Western women from the tyranny of a fashion industry that in the bad old days would dictate a style, compelling women to invest heavily in updating their wardrobes, and then blithely declare their entire closets obsolete – again and again, with no end in sight.

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Cheap or expensive so much of the clothing we wear and other product we use  are manufactured using virtual slave labor in far away lands.  With the surplus value created between the cost of manufacture and the final sale filling the coffers of the wealthy and privileged elites.

In turn the dollars spent on advertising literally create the constant stream of right wing propaganda that keeps us ignorant of how we ourselves are exploited.

See also: Retail: It’s Complicated by Aminatou Sow over on Feministe:

One Response to “The High Cost of Cheap Fashion”

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