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The Affordability of Slow Fashion

For slow fashion to make a positive impact it needs to be accessible. A significant barrier for people accessing slow fashion is the price point.

Why does slow fashion cost so much?

Can it be more affordable?

Cost of making clothes

LABOUR. Many fast fashion brands source their labour to countries with lower/no minimum wage. Average wage is $0.43/hr - which isn't a living wage for most countries where the work is done. Big brands will cut the cost of labour before they cut the cost of anything else.

FABRIC. Fast fashion brands pay less for fabric because they buy in bulk - which causes 25% of their inventory to be thrown away at the end of a season. Also, the materials are lesser quality, synthetic fabric.

OVERHEADS. Fast fashion factories’ overheads per item are minimal since they produce thousands of items a day. Sustainable fashion brands are usually in a smaller factory, producing smaller collections and amounts, thus having higher overheads per item.

MARK-UP. Having a mark-up less than 3 times the cost of the item is not sustainable for a company. Remember, a brand still needs to pay tax, shipping cost, packaging, designer fees, marketing fees, money to develop new collections, and the list goes on. The industry standard for fast fashion brands is a 4 – 10 x mark-up.

Source: The true cost of fashion

A survey of over 2000 people done by Nosto showed that over 50% of fashion consumers said they wanted brands to act more sustainably, but only a third was willing to pay more to do so

My plans to make slow fashion more affordable are the following:

Start making Ready to wear lines

Most fashion brands are ready to wear (RTW) lines, with pre-made items you can buy

off the rack. RTW costs less to produce due to less time being on pattern modification

and sewing efficiency

Sew with deadstock and remnants

Deadstock and remnants are fabric that are leftover from a season or at the end of a

fabric roll and will be thrown out by a manufacturer. They can be purchased for a

reduced price by companies textile collection companies.

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