Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Any ideas on shaking this desease?

At the corner of Iroon Politechniou & Omiridou Skilitsi, Piraeus.

Bumped into this mess in the morning, some of it was still there when I drove past it late in the evening. Embarassing and frustrating. If you are a regular reader, you know by now that I have a serious issue with clothes being thrown away like garbage.

Give them to people in need, ship them to Africa, make cleaning towels out of them. But garbage? Then again they may have cost less than trash so why bother...(?)

With tonight's OZON event 4FashionShake themed 'Shake the Disease', I am thinking What About This Disease? Because designers and stores are the smallest part of the ill approach towards fashion, even beyond the borders of this country. The true disease is how us, the consumers perceive what we wear and respond towards it.

Cheap so we can buy more, fast-changing so we can own variety, of poor quality so it can be cheap. Is today's wardrobe tomorrow's garbage?
Are we really ok with it?


jenna ♥ a little blue said...

totally agree. i'd never throw clothes in the garbage... there is always somewhere they can be donated to... even the super cheap ones.

Velveteen said...

I totallyagree. It's a damn shame to throw away stuff that others might find useful But it's not a bad thing to own cheap clothes. Not everyone can afford designer items. But, sure, all unwanted clothes can be used in several ways. From cleaning cloths and people in need to jammies and headbands to wear indoors. I personally give them to a friend that in turn gives them to people in need. And, mind you, most of the clothes are not Zara and H+M (cheap) but some trendy brands like Killah, Custo Barcelona, Miss Sixty and Diesel that I used to buy when I was younger. I guess quality is not always a matter of cost.

Alecca Rox said...

@ Velveteen - thk u for that comment. By no means am I saying that it's a bad thing to own affordable clothes! I most certainly don't imply that we should all wear designer clothes that we'd never treat as garbage just because we paid a fortune for them;)

I try to avoid referring to brands by name, but I will tell you this: it's better to buy a t-shirt for approx. 30 euros from a brand that quality justifies the price, than buying 3 for 10 euros from a brand that either quality doesn't justify the low price (suspicious) or it's it's as low as the price & produced in millions of copies so that the whole world can buy it like a uniform, wear, throw away go buy some more.

We buy way more than we need and since we are willing to do this, brands try to find ways to sell it to us.

Not sure I explained my point well, hope you get what I mean:)

Alecca Rox said...

*quality is not just the fabric. In order to make a t-shirt the costs involve:

- paying the worker to sew it.
- paying the electricity, etc.
- paying for the label, the packaging, the hanger.
- paying for transportation and distribution.
- paying for the showroom sellers, marketing, storage.
- paying the operating costs of the retail store that sells it to you.
- paying for the shopping bag.
- paying the tax (23% in this country!)
- have some profit to live on, buy food, pay home bills.

The larger the production, the better prices they can achieve on the above. But NO WAY can it go as low as a tee costing 5 or 10 euros without compromising one or more of the above.

For how much would you accept to sew a tee or a dress? 0.20 cents?

ShoppingTherapy said...

Εγώ πάλι να καταθέσω την προσωπική μου εμπειρία ενώ παλιότερα είχα βρει κανά δυο δομές που έδινα ρούχα κ παπούτσια (κ ήμουν βέβαιη ότι φοριουνταν κ δεν έμεναν σε καμία αποθήκη) τελευταία όλο κ συχνότερα μου λένε ότι δεν έχουν ανάγκη άπο ρούχα καθώς η αγορά καινουριων ρούχων άπο τα επονομαζομενα κινεζικά κατα κύριο λόγο είναι πολύ προσιτή

Velveteen said...

Yes, I see your point and again I agree with you. There are things involved that we are not really concerned with and it's a good thing you mention them. Of all the things you said I sympathize mostly with the workers. It's very hard work I gather, not to mention the clothes made in Asian countries. If you sit down and think about kids working almost for free for us to wear cheap ballet flats you'll never buy them. But I do believe that expensive brands do the same thing. Plus, I must say that when it comes to shopping, every person has their own code. For example, when I come across a tee that costs 50 euros I admit I don't think of the costs involved. I think of what I have to do, in my own job, to earn this 50 euros, namely write a whole page (best case scenario, sometimes two pages) in a mag or paper. But when I see a tee that costs 10 euros I don't think of that. Unfortunately I don't think of the workers either. It all comes down to economics in the end. Our salaries dictate our shopping behaviour more than our ethics. This systems always wins in the end.
Thanx for this dialogue! It was refreshing!

Alecca Rox said...

@ stella - yes! true. glad u mentioned this. on one hand, it's great that now super cheap clothes are around and everyone can afford them. on the other hand, not only poor people are happy about cheap clothes (cheap, not affordable).

Someone poor can now buy one coat and protect themselves from the cold. Someone of average income though can now buy 5 coats just to show off and own more stuff. So cheap clothes take over because they sell like mad.

Concerning our pocket and vanity, cheap clothes are good news right now. In the long run though, it means that thousands of people will loose their jobs just because they are not cheap labor and then this will affect us more than we know.

Which brings me to Velveteen's point (see following comment, this is getting too long:)).

Alecca Rox said...

@ Velveteen - really enjoyed (-ing) our discussion too. when i type my thoughts is to share, discuss and hopefully provoke thinking because the specific issue is a tough one.

Perfectly reasonable, when you shop you think of your salary and not the workers' salary (although other costs are important too because without them u cannot produce/sell clothes therefore, no job and no salary for the worker).

And here is when the short term vs long term issue hits me:

right now you have your job and you get paid for it. imagine going to work tomorrow and being told that they don't need you anymore because they found someone to do it for half the money and people who read the magazine are super happy with it because now the magazine costs cheaper. how about that? terrible i'd say.

clothes is an identical case: someone else sews them for less, clothes cost less, you buy them happily. buying anything is not charity though, i've said it before.

so for now, my answer to this complicated issue is a balanced shopping diet, trying to include as much reasonably priced clothing as i can, even if this means buying less.

If you have any more thoughts on this, please do share. we can all use them right now!

Velveteen said...

Thanx for sharing your thoughts too. I really appreciate the fact that you get me thinking. But guess what..I actually was told they don't need me at work...right after my wedding trip. Not in order to hire someone else with less money (which happens all the time in the journalistic field) but because the magazine was expensive and people use the internet nowadays instead mags. So i ACTUALLY see your point totally and you are right.I was good at what I did and just because people don't mind someone being less good (amongst thousands of sites) I don't have a job. But now I have to work for 3 or 4 different people just to make a basic salary out of them. That's why I think twice before buying something costly. It's a vicious circle after all but I absolutely see your point and I'm going to think again before buying an extremely cheap tee. Well, gym clothes don't count, right ? :P

Alecca Rox said...

@ Velveteen - oh dear...sorry to hear that. I actually understand more than you know.

That is why I have come to the conclusion that if something is worth the money I'll wait till i can afford it and not go for the first suspiciously cheap alternative. What is worth one's money, is a totally personal decision, provided you've given it some thought.

Wish you best of luck with it all!