What!--no more fast fashion? No more quick hits for a little something new and cheap to mix with the Prada skirt...what's happening? It appears that the once unimaginable has finally occurred--consumers are thinking ethically and are becoming more interested in the quality and provenance of the clothes that they buy. According to a new study, clothing just can't get any cheaper. The big manufacturers have already lowered their costs by moving production to Bangladesh and China; even cheaper locations are getting hard to find. Plus, rising fuel, staff and rent costs are taking their toll, and retailers are starting to pass these increases on to the consumer. The really big supermarkets like Asda, Tesco are responding and improving the working conditions in their factories abroad. Retailers, such as Marks & Spencer have followed suit.
The average person in the UK buys 34 new items a year now, as opposed to half that number in 1995. People are jaded and looking for the new new. Retailers are realising that they can up their prices and sell people more aspirational clothing, such as cashmere and silk at a higher price. Even better, according to the study "there is an increased concern about ethical sourcing. People want to know where things are from, this will get stronger in time, and we could see a consumer backlash. The environment and our disposable society are on everyone's mind, and this will have an impact on the fashion industry." So, the trend is more expensive clothes (prices are predicted to rise 4.7%), but more ethically made and better quality. :: The Independent