Forever21 & Topshop are bankrupt: is it the end of “Fast Fashion”? ǀ Justine Leconte


Hi everyone, it’s Justine. This year there
has been a wave of fast fashion brands going bankrupt.
Forever21 in Europe, Topshop in the US… big names that are suddenly in big
trouble. So does it mean that the so-called golden era of fast fashion is
over? What are the options for you as a consumer, as a shopper, wherever in the
world you are? That’s the discussion that I would like to start in today’s video.
And before we do that, let me very quickly define what fast fashion
actually is, to make sure that we’re talking about the same thing because
it’s not a word commonly used everywhere in the world
what is fast fashion in a nutshell fast fashion is a concept created for rich
countries if we’re honest a fast fashion brand will have clothes produced in a
less less rich country then production was so cheap that they can afford to
ship the clothes all the way to Europe for instance where the living standard
is and the costs are higher and then they can sell these clothes in an
expensive store somewhere in London where the rent is expensive the
salespeople are expensive everything is more expensive so the business model
works because the production costs in the first place were insanely low it
works because there are people buying in rich countries and people producing in
less rich countries it’s a system based on inequalities internationally and even
then the margins for the fast fashion brand are really low because the price
tags are kept so low to attract consumers even on a budget so if you’re
a fast fashion brand you will have to sell incredibly high volumes in order to
be profitable at all now if the production costs start to increase for
instance workers in Bangladesh get a law that says that they have to be paid a
living wage (it’s not the case right now, they work for a salary that they cannot
live off of) let’s assume their salary increases (still not a high cost factor
for the brand in the end, and we’ll come to that later) or the shoppers in said
store in London are starting to demand higher quality better ethics sustainable
sourcing as a fast fashion brand you will immediately lose your margin which
is small and you will go bankrupt so it’s a very unstable
system with very little buffer in case something happens and something in the
equation changes that it’s just the summary of how it works
if you want to know more about how fast fashion how the business model really
functions from beginning to end I recommend that you watch this video
which I did previously it’s linked here and down below as well
in there I explain among other things the breakdown of the retail price of a
t-shirt as an example how much the government worker who saws it gets paid
the retailer the transport the brand etc if you new to that topic I have to warn
you it might blow your minds but now back to this video I want to move on to
forever 21 which is the topic in the title and it’s absolutely a hundred
percent a fast fashion label what happened is that forever 21 failed at
its own business model which is quite a thing the American brand forever 21
filed for bankruptcy they are closing about 350 stores worldwide out of 800
approximately they are practically leaving Europe and Asia they are giving
up their their remaining active in North and South America but shrinking big time
so it’s really a setback for brand that once was major they thing is the way
they filed for bankruptcy doesn’t mean that they have to shut down the business
it just means that they are freed of their debts they don’t have to pay the
creditors so the supply chain people the production people the suppliers won’t
get paid and if you know what I stand for and what I talk about generally
speaking on this channel you would know what that makes me feel I’m mad when
things like that happened I think it’s so unfair for the people who are before
before that in the supply chain like they always have the poor cards at the
end of the day forever 21 was once known for trendy fashion and very very low
price tags the problem is trends pass and once
you’ve lost your cool competing on price is not smart because it will never save
you if you’re not cool people don’t want to
shop at your stores anymore so forever21 is victim of the business
model that they contributed to establishing their brand was never
really unique they lost the edge price is irrelevant at the end of the day so
they have to start over does that mean that we’re witnessing the
beginning of the end of the first fashion era unfortunately not quite yet
Primark on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Europe is still doing
well Primark is uk-based and currently
leading the market for very very very very cheap clothes directed mostly out
of there a young target group teens young adults dirt-cheap really we’re
talking about in British pounds 10 pounds for a pair jeans 250 for a bra
25 for coats if you think about it for a minute you wonder how they even do it if
you know the price levels in Europe it seems so low that it’s hard to be true
I said cheap but I should say blood cheap instead Primark is one of the
brands that was having clothes produced in the sadly famous Branagh Plaza
building factory in Bangladesh that building collapsed in 2013 killing over
a thousand people and somehow Primark and others got away with it
Primark targets teens and young adults how by relying heavily on the latest
trends there’s another UK former flagship retail brand that’s called
Marks & Spencer where everybody in the UK used to shop they didn’t set enough
on trends things Primark and they lost their relevance because teens and young
adults didn’t want to shop well their parents and grandparents were shopping
so Primark is really trying to stay relevant by going for the very very very
young people and releasing new collections all the time but now teens
and young adults in Europe and everywhere in the world are becoming
more and more environmentally conscious that’s the greatest Wenberg effect and
suddenly they’re starting to research and to question the way the fashion
three works so a strategy question for the future Primark how are you going to
do in three years from now when your exact target group is going to be a lot
more aware and demanding in terms of the clothes they’re buying maybe they will
turn towards more sustainable more ethical brands and you will lose your
relevance as well? Primark is aware of the danger which is why recently they
started the so-called sustainable line which means that they source organic
cotton what they don’t tell you though is that sustainable doesn’t mean ethical
it’s a lot easier and a lot cheaper to source sustainable materials for your
production than to pay the government workers properly and they say nothing
about that it’s completely untransparent actually if you really want to do things
right you need the sustainable sourcing and you need fix in terms of how you do
your production so it’s really just a marketing stunt meant to buy themselves
an image of an ethical brand when really it’s actually one of the dirtiest
players out there let me be really clear about that and also this sustainable
line is just a tiny part of their sort and all the rest of what they sell all
the basics is still sourced and produced the way they used to do it and trust me
it’s not clean their sales keep increasing yes they’re doing fine for
now but it’s artificial growth it’s because they keep opening new stores
overall it seems that the fast fashion business model is starting to feel out
of breath is overheating htm’ has been having difficulties it’s one of the
leaders in the market they launched a new brand which is positioned as a more
ethical sustainable we don’t really know thing Topshop is bankrupt in some parts
of the world as well so it’s really it looks like it like a downward trend for
most players so they’re all looking for solutions if consumers shoppers start to
demand higher quality and higher ethics is the solution than to shift to the
other extreme and go luxury?… Barneys New York is bankrupt as well if forever 21
and Primark are down here in terms of pricing Barneys is is a
it is the the epitome the most luxurious high-end expensive department store
chain in the US I studied in New York so at my school they will always say that
the holy grail for young fashion designers starting out is to get into
Barneys there was a professor who said once in class getting to Barneys is the
highest sign of recognition that you can get from the industry if you get your
clothes to get sold at Barneys together with Vuitton Gucci Chanel etc it means
that you’ve made it in fashion but you know what I looked into it the
conditions to get into stores like Barneys as a designer or ridiculous they
negotiate the prices super hard they have you design special things special
colors variations just for them they put you on a rack there they won’t promote
you so unless you do the heavy lifting no one will even know that you’re being
sold at Barneys and at the end of the season if they haven’t sold everything
they force you by contract to buy your inventory back so 100% of the risk and
of the cash flow problems potentially is on the side of the young designer and I
always thought before I go knock on the doors of big retailers like Barneys I’d
rather sell my clothes directly the fixed cost and the financial risk is a
lot lower for me and the price tag will be a lot lower so my clothes will also
be more affordable for customers for shoppers and this system seems like a
much better option for everyone doesn’t it you would think that barn is selling
high price high and high high things would have huge margins and then also
huge profits because it’s the opposite of what fast fashion is doing and yet
behind that facade of the most luxurious fashion experience they have bankrupt as
well so where is the solution fast fashion brands can’t seem to be able to
last on the long run it looks like the system is overheating but on the other
hand traditional retailers look like they can’t sell enough to survive either
so that’s that so problem somewhere in the equation and
that brings me to a question or I should say an affliction that I get every time
I talk about the topic of fast fashion on this channel Justin you’re saying
that fast fashion is bad but you know not everyone can afford Chanel and
designer brands and I have a problem with that argument because Primark is
five dollars or pounds or euros whatever shannon is mm are you telling me that
you see no option in between because for me the option is clearly in between it
can’t be the price of Primark because that’s not sustainable that’s not
ethical and I think that’s not okay it has to be more expensive than that and
in Western countries we can afford more we did afford more before the fast
fashion labels existed and nobody was going around wearing new clothes you
know what I mean and then it doesn’t have to be as expensive as Chanel there
is a lot of buffer in between and lots of brands that are tackling different
aspects it can be a safer more sustainable sourcing system with
Fairtrade labels it can be local production it can be an ethical
production based in Europe there are plenty of options in between and I think
the option is definitely in between now I’d like to send a question back to you
how much is in between how much are you willing to pay for what more
specifically and regardless of the brand new looking up I’d love to know how much
you would pay let’s say for a cotton t-shirt basic made in China
how much would you pay for a t-shirt in organic cotton made in Europe how much
would you pay for a t-shirt in recycled cotton made in China do you look at the
tag does the origin or the material influence the price that you’re willing
to pay are you willing to pay more for organic for garment workers paid
properly protected by European law for instance are you willing to pay more
because it’s recycled or because it’s a new technology called development and
you know it will be better for the environment and why or why not I will
read all your comments under this video I will try to summarize all the inputs
and the arguments you’re writing down and I will present the results of this
little survey to you in a future video so here really your opinion matters if
you feel like you want to know more about how the fashion industry works
here and down below I have linked two videos the first one is the one that I
mentioned earlier about how the system works and the price breakdown for a
t-shirt and the other one is a video where I explain how you can find out
yourself if a brand is part of the fast fashion system or not because spoiler
forever 21 and Primark are by far not the only ones out there and you have
several fast fashion brands in every country you can think of. Thumbs up if you watched until here! I will see you
very soon in a new video, that’s all from me for today 🙂 Until next time, take care,
bye!

100 thoughts on “Forever21 & Topshop are bankrupt: is it the end of “Fast Fashion”? ǀ Justine Leconte

  1. Hi everyone! Looking forward to your comments on the questions at the end of the video 🙂 Here is the other video mentioned, on how to tell which brands are fast fashion brands: https://youtu.be/mG_6yUtLZ4k

  2. Thrifting, charity shopping: the future, to erase a past of pollution, inequality and exploitation. Love your videos Justine

  3. I understand what she means when she says that there are mid-options between Primark and Channel, but I don't think it's a coincidence that these brands have flourished during times of austerity in Europe. This week a documentary came out in the UK featuring children who have to sleep in their coats in the winter because the parents can't afford to heat their houses… teachers in the UK are complaining that more and more kids are coming to school hungry.. yes we are a western country and a rich country collectively, but there are still a lot of people for whom the only option if they need a new pair of trousers is to buy the 10 pound ones…

  4. I’ve found the ‘Good On You’ app really eye-opening when it comes to understanding different brands’ ethics, especially for brands that I thought were better than the likes of Primark.

    I remember, back twenty years ago, thinking that £30 was cheap for a top, but now people seem to consider cheap as being lower than £10.

  5. can you give some brands that are in the middle, not fast fashion, not luxury? I would consider reasonable to pay 80€ for a pair of jeans for example.

  6. Recycled cotton: I wouldn't go for it. I think that cotton takes only few months to break down in a landfill, so I guess that the whole process of recycling (you driving your car to the recycling container, a truck taking it to the factory, the energy in the factory to process it, etc) it would actually polute more than just let it be. An organic cotton tshirt I think it even breaks down faster, but all eventually do, so I wouldn't get out of my comfort zone to go find an organic one (which costs more just because it's organic). That's my guess.

    An option I would pay more for is a FAIR TRADE piece, and to ensure the people involved in the manufacturing etc (designers, sewers, sellers,…) are paid and treated well. I think this is the main caveat I have with fast fashion (but any brand may actually do it): it relies on companies outsourcing production to developing countries and pushing them to do more for a lower price. A friend of mine used to work in that for a well known Spanish brand. Her tasks were mainly calling factory managers in China (during her office hours, which most of the time was late night in China) to demand a reduction in few cents for X piece, etc.

  7. Videos like this are part of why I enjoy your channel. I love how you have real substance in your videos! To answer your question, we are on a pretty tight budget, so I rarely pay more than forty dollars for an article of clothing, in fact, I usually pay nearly half that amount. The way I accomplish this is by buying a lot of second-hand clothing. I shop at thrift stores and ThredUp, sometimes altering the pieces myself. Again, thank you for getting this information out there for all of us. Blessings to you and yours!

  8. I would love to see the end of fast fashion. I'm not going to say I have never purchased anything from places like H&M because I definitely did, before I learned the awful practices of fast fashion companies (Major luxury brands are no exception really, they have their dirty little secrets too).

    There are so many options for people to get affordable and good quality clothing. With some skill such as sewing, garments can last for years and years with mending here and there. If consumers thought about having something custom made for them from a local seamstress, it would last a lot longer, fit better, get a garment that is both unique & the style you want, and support local artisans.

    And if you can't afford to hire a seamstress, everyone can learn to sew and draft patterns for free, literally google or youtube it!

  9. Not sure young people are fans of Barney's even if they had the money. It's a stuffy name. With a BIG issue of racial profiling, therefore isolating some customers. Plus paying out settlements. Not surprised they are closing with that reputation.

  10. I'll pay up to $50 for a basic t-shirt I'll wear a hundred times if I know the worker got paid a fair wage. My mom worked in the garment industry in NYC designing children's clothing, from the 70s to the 90s, and she saw firsthand how hard seamstresses work, how much skill that labor requires, and how the rise of fast fashion destroyed those workers' wages. I'm not interested in exploiting garment workers.

  11. Truthfully I have been concerned with only buying clothes that I know will last me a good long while, and that, if donated, will continue to get good wear. There are so many clothes that I have slightly grown out of, or have gotten second hand, that are in great condition but don't fit properly. I wish there were more tailors in my area so I could get them fitted! I also have issues with brands that cater to plus size women – they are so few and far between, and are generally much pricier than brands that cater to "regular" clothing sizes, and so I don't have a good grasp on how ethical they are. Brands like Torrid, Lane Bryant, Cacique, etc. can sell a cotton/poly dress for $90, but I have no idea where that money is going to.

  12. I’ve pretty much not bought new clothes (other than socks, underwear and pjs) for 3 years now. I have switched to pre owned, charity shops for clothes – at least 99.5% of what I buy. I love the thrill of the thrift. Finding a gem of an item amongst the rows of polyester. Finally finding exactly what I was looking after looking for weeks or sometimes months of searching is the best feeling. I’m in my 30’s now but have been regularly buying secondhand clothes since I was in my teens (it was much less common and definitely not a cool or trendy thing to do back then).

    If I had to buy something specific now and had no option to buy new (because I can’t find it pre owned), I would definitely look at more ethical, smaller businesses first. However I wouldn’t completely avoid all of the fast fashion brands if it was the only place to buy the specific item I needed. I rarely buy things new. If for example I buy 2 items per year from a fast fashion brand and every thing else pre owned then I won’t feel too guilty about it. I know people who go out almost every week and buy loads of new clothes from places like primark, H&M Etc. I see videos on YouTube where they are always doing clothing hauls from these shops. I still feel my overall impact is very low so I don’t stress too much about it. If all these cheap shops disappeared overnight then we would all have to shop in alternative places. If the prices get higher then we would all buy less and have to think more about what we do buy. Just like people did in the past. I also think it would bring back people learning how to sew so they could alter or make clothes. I personally love to sew but don’t do it very much as it’s more expensive, time consuming and I don’t think I can make things looks as nice as pre made. I used to sew a lot for my daughter when she was small as baby and toddler clothes are easy to make. They take up less fabric so perfect for up cycling adult clothing into toddler sizes.

  13. Yes I would pay more for a tshirt. Firstly for better quality! Even expensive tees seem like you need two layers these days to be opaque. Regardless of manufacturing location, I would pay more if it was made ethically. Although cotton production has its own environmental issues, I would pay more if it was made from recycled or environmentally farmed material.

  14. I don't think Topshop and Forever 21 going bankrupt is a sign of the end of fast fashion. They are being outpaced by online retailers like Fashionnova, Prettylittlething etc. These online retailers offer more choice, more sizes and cheap (often free) next day delivery. They can't keep up!

  15. Good riddance! I can’t afford designers and they don’t design for my size anyway. I find the buffer in between!

  16. Justine, you're gorgeous. True French beauty with brains and good morals. 😊 Because of you I've started to re-evaluate where I shop and what I buy in terms of fabric and quality.

  17. I'm in the US. TL; DR: I would be most influenced by ethical production (regardless of place of manufacture), then by place of manufacture, and least of all by organic labels.

    To me, "Organic" doesn't mean much. At least with food and in the US, the process to be named organic still allows for a lot of the things that those who the Organic label is targeting would object to (certain pesticides, etc). Things can be environmentally-friendly and still not classify/register as organic. The location the garment is made in would impact my willingness to pay more based on environmental factors; something made in North America tends to be more environmental-friendly if for nothing else than the shorter distance it needs to travel and the regulations in place. However, I'd be most inclined to pay more for a garment if it was ethically produced, transported, and sold, regardless of location of manufacture. You can ethically produce things in 3rd world countries, and to be fair it's cheaper to ethically produce things there than in a developed country. Providing a living wage to someone, regardless of where they're living, is important to me.

  18. I don’t even shop bc tbh I even think fast fashion clothes are expensive, the only time I go shopping is right before schools starts and Christmas
    My mom constantly gets mad at me for not knowing my size in anything but it’s only bc I don’t go shopping & a lot of my clothes I do get from my mom and sister

  19. This may not be the case in Europe, but thinking of how in many countries are living in precarious work conditions, it is quite logical that younger people be the target of these brands. Many articles mention that millennials are the generation with the lowest income, despite their high educational level. Naturally this generation wants to dress well and with style, but it cannot afford jeans of more than 10 pounds and thus the cycle is perpetuated

  20. I would pay more for something from organic or sustainable materials and specially if made locally! For now it seems like secondhand is the way to go and choosing to buy one item instead of buying 10 crapy pieces. I can not afford expensive clothes but prefer second hand instead, so as you said, there is plenty of options in between, it is just a matter of trying.

  21. I always opt for second-hand clothing, but if I had to buy something new, I would pay more for something that is ethically made, sustainably sourced, is a natural fiber that will not shed micro plastics into the water, is well-made and durable, and can be recycled or composted at the end of its life. In the T-shirt example, I would pay up to $50-$60 US for a basic t shirt that met all of these standards

  22. It seems there is an oversaturation in the market of options, a new store/brand/item coming out seemingly daily. But also there is a growing number of thoughtful curation/minimalism when it comes to clothes and possessions in general as well as demand for better quality items/treatment of people. I appreciate well made clothing at a fair price. It's hard to break out of the 'it's a good deal' mentality but stopping and thinking about real people, animals& environment affected by that small price tag, I know it helps me.

  23. I always pay attencion about materials and country where the garment was made. Unfortunately, sometimes I buy products from countries where I know workers don't get paid enough. But I do that because, in Brazil, is getting more and more dificult to find clothes ethically produced. Definitively I agree paiyng more if workers' rights are being respected and the materials are good and sustainable.

  24. Yes, I would pay more for workers'
    – Condition (safe AND clean)
    – Salary
    – Knowledge and "savoir-faire".

    Same for the quality of the material and the technique used.

    I would NOT pay more for
    – Crazy marketing/ads
    – companies to make over 100% in profit

    I don't care where a t-shirt is made as long as people are paid properly.

    I think 40$ for a t-shirt would be reasonable. People are already paying 50$-70$ for see-through blouses from Zara (RIDICULOUS!).

    I'd rather have more material for that price!

    Thank you so much for what you do. Very interesting and educating.

  25. Justine, I like your content. Enjoyed this topic& fast fashion. However, you as well as others in fashion failed to address the pink elephant in the room. Retail is dying. Brick & mortar stores are dying.

    F21, yes its fast fashion. But, they took on too much debt. They were anchor stores in malls across USA. Nobody goes to malls anymore. Rent is a fixed cost & hard to innovate when your CO has long term debt. Lots of F21 closed their doors. Some stores were previously leased & F21 didn't put $ into repairs & new shelves, tables, etc.
    Also the tastes of Gen z is different than millienials. So they didn't keep up w/ the changes & trends in the mkt.
    Fast fashion is still here & not dying out. Ie: Fashion Nova, they are fast fashion. They copied designers, made sized available to girls/women that previous designers failed to cater to. Also, they're smart w influences (Kylie Jenner), Instagram. They have a good online app too. Quality is the same as H&M. Fashion Nova saw a demand & supplied it. They don't have many stores, which is smart, bc nobody goes to the mall anymore. Zara is another Co @ fast fashion.
    They also use the Fomo. Fear of missing out. So if you like it, you better get it.
    They're vertically integrated Co. They make, manufacture, box, & deliver clothes & the store. Quality is pretty good, little more $ than H&M. Latest technology software app employees use 2 see if merchandise is sold out & do quick inventory. I saw employee go to an area, wave the device near the clothes. Inventory is done & updated in real time. This technology is expensive, but allows Zara to stay up to date w/ trends.
    Online app is great too. U can pick up @ store or have it delivered.
    Amazon sells lots of fast fashion from China. They spend a lot of $ on technology & logistics & supply chain. They see it as a revenue source, rather than an expense. This explains why shopping online @ dept stores suck. They see it as an expense & spend least amount as possible. Zara's software for inventory illustrates Co. That spend $ on technology will be te winners in fashion.

    I loved barney's NY too. They also made similar mistakes as F21. They're saddled with debt from their leases. The 5th Ave store, is one of the most expensive real estate in the world. The landlord can raise the rent as much as possible and someone will acce. A Co like Apple, tesla, etc. can pay for all those leases easily. Barney's would have to sell $5k every hr 24/7 just to pay rent. U still need to $ employees, vendors, etc.

    Barney's has a horrible online app. Makes it difficult to shop & doesn't have all designers online. Idk if mgmt was trying to sell the "experience" of going into the store instead of online. Stupid bc barney's clients will have stuff delivered to their multiple residences.

    Inside the store, they kept a small amt of inventory on hand b barney's wanted the "minimalist" asethic. Dumb. What good is having a few sizes available at a store?

    Barney's has kept up with tastes of their customers. They were the 1st store to carry Armani, alaia, Louboutin, Zegna to America. Bad management @ the top. They just failed to see how the internet would alter, change and make retail (malls) obsolete.

    I understand consumers are uncomfortable when they learn how fast fashion is produced. I did w/ ur videos. However, consumers also want to pay the least amount as possible &want to be current on trends. So it's a hard decision everybody has to make. And when the rubber meets the road (an American expression) , the $ dollar they spent will reflect what is most important to them. This is not meant to be a good or bad decision. It's just an observation.
    I'd love to see a follow up video from this topic & any studies out there 2 see where fast fashion is headed and how the internet will further impact & change shopping for clothes forever. Thanks for your channel & content

  26. If we completely eliminate fast fashion/ lower priced fashion, who are we actually punishing? The higher class who could afford to make purchases anyway or ONLT the lower class who could be struggling to purchase even fast fashion? On the same note, limiting fast fashion is not going to help the sweat shop workers necessarily either. These factory worker could go from getting low pay to not having jobs at all. On top of that, many mid/high range brands out-source their production to sweat shops as well so it's interesting to me why the media only targets the fast fashion brands as if they are the only ones doing it.

  27. I have changed my consumer habits to consuming „less“ clothes for the same amount of money from Europe based brands (whole production chain) as well as thrifting and renting clothes. I think trends will always come and go and they are part of our human experience & expression but I personally like to wear classic staples and not worry too much about „what’s en Vogue“ because it’s not really relevant in my personal or career life. However I recommend for young people to find their own style – regardless of trends – and work out a capsule wardrobe. And if you don’t know what to look for and where to start – ask friends who’s style you like if you can borrow an item for a day or two and see if you like it and feel comfortable in it. Or rent clothes online before making a purchase.

  28. Justine, you might be interested in this! I worked in Debenhams (a UK department store) in 2018 and had a constant stream of 70+ year old women complaining at how old-fashioned Marks and Spencer’s clothes were.

    They found it really hilarious and so did I, I know they stopped a lot of their ranges that people liked and changes ownership which may have caused it to be funded less to be on top of trends.

  29. I am doing Marketing at university and the Barneys story you had is the same as some Fast Fashion trainer shop brands.

  30. Interesting questions, I usually thought £20 was a lot for a top as a child because we had to buy cheaply back then and children’s clothes do not have tax in the UK.

    I would usually go for charity shops now, and I never even see T shirts I would consider “mid-ranged”, even in the department stores.

  31. I feel like I would not pay more for organic cotton really, unless it was ethical and they also do not dye it (if that means it is still labelled organic).

    Recycled cotton potentially, but the issue would be people should rewear more times instead of recycling. I know a lot of paper etc gets sent to China as “recycled” now. So, I wouldn’t want to support that kind of reliance on shipping materials from all over, if it could be made locally.

  32. I love your content!!! I live in Mexico city, and we have both the most common fast fashion brands and the higher end ones. However I´m in the process of moving to more sustainable living for over a year now. And I have found wonderful initiatives in Mexico. Even though I would love to buy from ethical brands in other parts of the world it can get too expensive and the resources it takes to ship something overseas are too high to order just one t-shirt. So I believe a huge part of what we can do as consumers is finding out what is available in your area.

  33. I will absolutely pay more for items that are ethically made with sustainable materials. However, the quality must be high as well. If you have a low income and you're paying more for an ethically made product, you need it to last longer than a few wears. I would like to see a return to days past, where people were able to buy very high quality items that would last for many years, but generally only had a few outfits. As long as you know the product will last a long time, I think a lot of people will spend that bit extra on ethical and sustainable clothing. Currently, even products that claim to be of superior quality and ethically sourced can fall apart quickly. Icebreaker merino comes to mind. NZ$200 for a pair of sweatpants that will only last you a year.

  34. I worked as a buyer many years ago for a big, off-price chain. We would buy the fast fashion retailers close outs and cancellations as well as making some our own goods to fill in the gaps. These huge fast fashion chains put people out of business with one cancellation! They said they had their warehouses inspected in China…believe me they don’t. They pay for an overseas broker to say that everything looked good, no kids, good working conditions, fair pay, not government run. Not one buyer ever had to make a trip to China to see for themselves. I managed about 50mil in retail per year, this was the 90’s! Most were cancellations from giant fast fashion companies, before the term fast fashion was around. We told ourselves we were doing good, offering low priced fashion to people that wouldn’t be able to afford it, but it was a dirty business even back then! We were in business to make the stockholders money, not helping people. Same goes for today. Everyone wants a “deal” a “bargain” here in America, and we made money off the false notion that something cheap equates to a deal. It’s not!!! It’s just cheap.

  35. Hi Justine! I'm from Brazil and here I notice that some fast fashion brands started to imitate thrift store clothing, vintage clothing, revisiting looks from other decades.
    I know everything in fashion comes and goes but lately, looking at the showcases of these stores it looks like it is a thrift store and not a fast fashion mega store. I think maybe this is one of the strategies to look like sustainable without being truly sustainable.

  36. For a cotton t-shirt from china, i would pay MAXIMUM 15$
    For an organic cotton t-shirt from europe/canada(where i am from), i would pay 40-50$ if the quality was there (which it usually is)
    For a recycled cotton t-shirt from china, i still wouldn't pay much for it, unless the quality is really good (which it usually isn't).

    I very much trust the products that are made in Canada/Quebec. I can't afford them right now, since i am a student. But upon reflecting on what you said "we used to afford them", I think i could easily switch my 5-6 "China" t-shirt for 1-2 "Canada" ones.

  37. I would pay $20 for a Chinese tshirt. $50 for a European organic. $25 for a recycled Chinese. I would love to see a data base of ethical designers. An online shopping environment that you can trust. Maybe it exists already?!

  38. Thank you Justine for your educative videos. I am presently trying to only shop second hand for most things. I am wearing out all my T shirts and turning older ones into bed time shirts. When I am ready to buy new T shirts I want them to be sustainable materials and above all ethically made. I would buy a T shirt made by any worker wherever they are if this were the case, although ones with less transportation costs to where I live in Australia, would also need to be a consideration. In the future I will pay $30 – $50 for a good T shirt but I will own less of them.

  39. I would (do pay more) for sustainable and ethical. Ideally both. I want stuff that’s produced closer to home, but it’s hard to find that trifecta. I think reusing/trading/thrifting and consuming less are a key part of the equation too.

  40. Great video… I feel positive that we are becoming more aware of what we buy and the consequences.
    T shirt made in any country let's say not providing a living salary to workers… 10-20$ I am sure I paid more in real life.
    Tshirt organic in EU or US I would give 50, and for recycled cotton made in China about 30$.
    I think the key to our consuming habits is to buy things that we value and we will keep and wear and enjoy for a long time.

  41. It’s impossible to shop at those stores. The stores are too big, the clothing is made out of cheap quality fabric, the way clothes constructed is horrible too. I am willing to pay more only for a well constructed garment made out of quality fabric.

  42. I love thrifting and buying on Etsy. I do love the online or app thrift stores because you can get so much diversity and the computer sorts through it all for you (just search for what you want – it isnt always accurate as it depends on labels and for certain ones it can be a brand name or a description of shape or color etc and it brings up them all regardless of which you meant, but at least that is less than looking at everything in a thrift store. I also sell on one which helps keep good clothes in use even though they no longer fit me or my lifestyle.

  43. 1-I am astounded. I have been learning the car industry and it is basically the same thing! So, I am more concerned of how the global business or market is becoming more about deception to make a profit. WOW! 2-After I first started watching your channel no long after you first started, I ventured to websites to find ethical and sustainable clothes. I got exhausted but kept looking. I wanted a plain white shirt. The cheapest I found was $150. Given I took a financial class on how to budget. I found most websites do not fit my budget or my work wardrobe or my size and I looked at a LOT. I decided to do what another fashion conscious channel on YT mentioned was to go to thrift stores. I appreciate all you teach because I do believe those making clothes deserve a livable wage too. Isn't that what we all want?

  44. Thanks for educating us about these topics. I believe that people who buy cheaper clothing do it mainly because the stores are everywhere, literally. They are very accessible and they keep bombarding us with ads and promotions,etc. So, the solution here would be to be conscious about what we purchase, where it comes from and how it is produced.

  45. yes… I will pay more for recycled… Ethical and sustainable products….
    I am from India…..we have a dress called "Saree " it's a looonggggg material which we drape around in different styles. We use that Saree (long matetial) to stick different dresses….. All the grannies around the world used to recycle cloths in different and creative ways. We have lost that charm…
    Love your videos Justine. Lots of love from India……… Proud of you

  46. Oh and beware of organic clothing as well! Justine is right, it’s a gimmick. I can guarantee you that lots and lots of fossil fuels were used in shipping organic textiles around the world. That’s not helping the planet.

  47. I love clothes and I am fascinated by fashion. That said, I feel no compunction whatsoever to be 'on trend', wearing the latest clothes. I love MY clothes, which I've collected over time … they are beautiful and very plain (classic, not frumpy) and, while not exactly 'timeless' (but as close as one can get), they are complimentary to my figure, my colouring and … they MAKE ME HAPPY. I shop a LOT (almost entirely) at thrift shops, picking up what others have discarded … and this way, I get clothes that are interesting, well made and beautiful. (Having lived in Paris, I learnt there how to dress, I learnt elegance … by osmosis!). I have very very very little money but am very happy with everything I have and FEEL rich. Clothes are meant to make us feel good. But if we don't feel whole, creative, with good self esteem, no garment is going to remedy that. Find what YOU love, what suits your figure and your personality … dress FOR YOU!
    Justine, THANK YOU!!! As always, your posts are intelligent, INFORMATIVE (I'm so grateful for what I learn from you!) and REALLY interesting!!

  48. I used to spend my entire paycheck, now I go to the friperie if I need a type of item (like grey sweater). If I cannot find it there, then I will buy the item new. I never assumed others were doing the same, but I am happy to hear that sustainability and quality is important to lots of people.

  49. I'm not sure if you knew this, but Forever21 didn't allow returns to get your money back. If you were unhappy, you could only get store credit.

  50. I always wondered how Forever 21 kept making money by selling so cheaply. It's the only place that gives me a panic attack every time i set foot in it. It's like a schizophrenic experience. Stuff, stuff all kinds of cheap stuff everywhere. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

  51. I'd pay 25$ Canadian for a cotton or viscose t-shirt that is ethically made and is ok quality. I'd pay 35$ if I was guaranteed that it's not going to shrink. I've never seen a t-shirt that doesn't shrink, even though I wash in cold water on a delicate cycle and dry on a rack . I'm not sure that mythical non-shrinking t-shirt even exists.

  52. I love all your info about fast fashion, I’m proud of myself by saying this year I bought less garments at least, expecting them to be timeless, better quality and hopefully not bloody, I’m from Mexico so it’s hard sometimes to remind yourself that different colors everyday it’s not the key to not be boring, now I keep my wardrobe very basic and I add color with a Mexican scarf or sandals or loud earrings, and keep the intense colors for dresses or party outfits haha thanks I’m talking about my fashion self , I guess normally I’m pretty urban global style but yes I appreciate all the good guide until today, best regards and love from Mexico

  53. My great grandmother grew up during the war. Made silk blouses from the parachutes they found behind their house after the attacks. Later she had a clothing store. She always said “never buy cheap. It will become expensive for you”. I still have some quality clothes that I have had for 20 some years. I swear during those years I have spent more money on cheap clothing that I would have if I just invested in good quality clothes. Maybe I should buy a sowing machine and make my own clothes just like my great grand mom and my mom.

  54. Hi Justine! Love your videos and I would like to hear your thoughts on the company TwoThirds. It is based in Spain and has a sustainable profile.

    For you questions about pricing:
    I wouldn't mind paying about between €30 and €55 for a ethically produced t-shirt.
    I care about where my clothes are produced and in what way, but sometimes I do fall for the temptations in fast fashion. However, I often use my clothes until there are holes in them otherwise I donate them if I don't use a piece of clothing enough.

    Hope you'll make a video with examples of brands that sell/produce clothes in an ethical way.

    Thank you for great content!

  55. People don't need lots of coats jeans and dresses. If you buy carefully you can mix and match with little. Summer shoes and winter boots last me a long time if I buy what suits me in the 1st place. Shop wise equals buy less.

  56. We need to make sustainable clothes more affordable. Less chemicals etc used in them. People will not get on board unless its affordable for common people.

  57. I wouldn't mind paying more for ethical and sustainable items; however, there's no way for me to know, as a consumer, if the extra money is being pocketed by the high end brands or if it's actually going towards living wages of employees and sustainable materials. Something "made in Europe" doesn't necessarily mean that the workers got paid fair wages. For instance, I recently watched a documentary about refugees being taken advantage of at many leather factories in Italy. You just gave another example in this video, where a high end brand in New york takes advantage of new designers. So, both expensive and cheap brands are equally unethical at the end of the day. There needs to be more transparency.

  58. I'd like to pay $10 for a T-shirt in recycled cotton made in China. Organic cotton is not necessary for me, I think it's just another conspiracy of capitalism. As for a regular cotton T-shirt made in China, I'd say, I would pay $10 too because, without this work, Workers have to go back home with no sustainable income.

  59. I live in a rich area and people throw out BRAND NEW DESIGNER CLOTHES with the sales tags still on…they put them in clean gorgeous high end bags…Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade…etc. I never need to buy clothes, or furniture, antiques, lamps, sofas (leather perfect condition)Christmas, Halloween Easter Decorations, Beautiful plants, pots, kitchen gadgets and utensils…EVERYTHING IS FREE …rent is high here but the perks are AMAZING! My advice to all….live in a high end area in a small apartment, find things to use and to sell…you will never go hungry and you will live in style.

  60. I live in a rich city, so I'm very fortunate to find great second-hand clothes, footwear & accessories. Some days, almost every item in my outfit, will be used. That`s how I'm trying to deal with fast-fashion & our consumerism culture.

  61. I suppose 5-10 euros for a tshirt from China. 25-30€ for one made in Europe, add 10-20€ for a special design and/or sustainable fabric. 10-15€ for one made from recycled materials in China. This does not apply for everyone in Europe though. Our wage is 650-800€ per month in Greece. In Germany, Sweden, France for example your average wage is more than 2000€ so this is also not fair for us to have to pay 1/8 of our month's salary for a skirt, or a pair of shoes. I decided 2 years ago to only buy clothes that will last me for years. Good quality, good fabric etc, but it's so difficult to find items that I can really afford. I wish I could but local but here everything is overpriced as well, not because of our living standards, but because the fashion brands are trying to survive, they have crazy taxes etc. I work in fashion btw. Bravo Justine, I really like your channel and your personality!

  62. Justine- as always, thank you for another great and informative video. The most important thing I look for when shopping is the quality of the garment for the price. Unfortunately, quality has declined while prices have increased.

  63. Bonjour Justine, when I was an art student in the 80’s, I was quite strapped so I bought most of my clothes from thrift stores. Over time, I grew to love shopping second hand and developed a good eye for quality. I often found items that were far better quality than what was being offered in the regular stores. Now I have two grown daughters whom also love thrift shopping. We’ve been to New York twice and have never stepped into any of it’s famous department stores (except for Bergdorf Goodman’s -but that was for high tea!). Instead, we explored the thrift shops of Manhattan and Brooklyn. To me, thrift shopping offers so much more!

  64. – T-shirt made in China: less than $10 if US: less tan $20.
    – I don't know how much more to use organic cotton but I'd add $10 to the above.
    – I recycle but not enough to pay double or triple price more for clothes. Sorry for being bad but I have that stingy/waiting for sale to shop mindset.

  65. i’m rly happy that fast fashion seems to be coming to an end but i live in a very small town in alabama, i have no thrift stores near me, and most things i order don’t fit i bc i’m so busty, i feel like fast fashion is my only option sometimes

  66. When I was a child, my mother made me wear clothes that had been used previously by:
    – my brother
    – my sister
    – my cousin
    – and then, me
    Clothes were far more endurable 30 – 40 years ago, that's for sure.
    Now, there are clothes that my children can't wear more than a season because they are broken, or deformed, or colors are too faded. Not only clothes, things in general are made to be replaced too fast.

  67. Western clothing brands are not to blame for factory collapses in third world countries. Primark did not own that factory that collapsed, they simply purchased clothes from them and then resold them for higher prices in the West. It would be different it they owned the factory and set the lax safety standards which led to the collapse, but they didn't.
    If you bought a custom cake at your local bakery and then that bakery burned to the ground because the owners of that bakery did not follow fire safety standards, would that fire be your fault? Now what if you are a regular customer at that bakery and you are reselling those cakes at a local bake sale? Would the fire be your fault then? Absolutely not, it would be the owners' faults. So why is this different? The only other entity that you should be blaming, other than the owners, is the government for not mandating standards and/or not following through with safety standards that may have existed. Blaming Primark for that building collapse is stupid and really just shows that you just want to be mad at someone and don't want to actually think about it.
    And honestly, what would your solution be? Only buy things manufactured in the West? Because that is what I try to do, but that means paying a premium and not having a thousand different things, and most people do not want to do that. Also, not purchasing stuff from countries like Bangladesh hurts them even more. As shitty as these jobs are compared to most jobs in the West, they are still jobs, and the workers would not be better off unemployed and living on the streets with no food. Remember this is how China started out a few decades ago and look at how much richer they are today because of the factories that the West exported to them. Do you really want to deny countries like Bangladesh the ability to economically grow? Do you know what will kill more people in Bangladesh than unsafe work conditions? Starvation and disease, which is what will become of them if we cut off trade with them. They have one comparative advantage in the international market, and that is cheap labor, do not take that away from them or they will have nothing.

  68. Hi! So I went in another direction to avoid fast fashion, I sew most of my own clothes (of course I do that for more reasons than just avoiding fast fashion). I do try to be careful about which materials I buy trying to buy natural fibers and good quality, but also in the world of fabric production is difficult to say what is ethically produced.
    I still have to buy some of my clothes, one of those are bras, which I still don't know how to sew myself and I refuse to pay 3-5 euros for a bra at primark.
    To answer your question, I would pay around 15-20 euros for a tshirt of good material produced locally.

  69. You also have to consider the influence that the fashion industry has on pushing consumerism. Fast fashion also refers to “disposable” fashion to make room for the many fashion weeks that are around the corner. When I was a kid I remember 1or 2 fashion weeks per year, how many are there now? The solution is a middle ground where decent quality clothing is fairly priced but it will be worn for a long time. Social media is part of the problem as well, everyone is pushing products all the time. I think it will be good if these “fast fashion” stores go under. Next to the military, the fashion industry is the next biggest offender in polluting our planet 🙁 you can learn more from the documentary The True Cost

  70. I am plus size and live in Australia. Because of limited sizing options I must purchase my clothing internationally. I am not a fan of fast fashion, as quality is far more important to me than quantity. However, this is not always easy to obtain. I believe there is a real education needed not only for retailers but also wearers of plus size clothing. We are encouraged to hold off on buying a leather jacket (if we can even find one), for instance, just in case we lose weight. Personally I will happily pay for quality fabric, construction and design, and also not to look identical to every other plus size woman I walk past.

  71. I think 50€ for a t-shirt would be an affordable price point for me. Still not sure if this is enough to produce it ethically

  72. I'm not sorry to see the loss of these businesses, but the loss of jobs and the way this impacts people in the supply chain is another matter. I hope they all manage to find a more sustainable income. What a sad time for them. In answer to your question, when buying clothes and shoes I work on the £1 per wear ethos (If I bought something for £10 it would need to be worn at least 10 times for it to be value for money). Shopping with that mentality stops you from buying fast fashion and makes pieces, which have a higher price tag but are better quality and last longer, a better investment. I am very aware of shopping ethically, always look at country of manufacture labels and buy about half of everything secondhand. I have been looking out for a new handbag for a couple of months and found one this Saturday: navy leather, unused, £4 from a charity shop….it will last me for years. Thanks Justine for raising awareness x

  73. If you ready to pay more for your "ethical" shirts under pretense that it makes you better person you will undoubtedly be buying less of them. Which means less work for women in Bangladesh where sewing shirts for pennies is one of the best jobs they can ever get and because everyone is so conscious and ethical now factories have less orders and need less workers. Which in turn means that women who were making your "unethical" clothes are now going back to plowing fields in 45 degrees heat.
    Every coin has two sides you know.

  74. Justine I would like to know your opinions on retailers like Next and where they fit into the equation? Online they also promote many other middle range brands and pricing options. Next has seen year on year online retail growth that surpasses many other retailers.

  75. Over the past year, I've slowly trimmed down to a capsule wardrobe, so every piece counts. I've decided that 100% cotton, silk, wool and leather are what I retain and what I will buy in the future so they will last. For a 100% cotton tee shirt, I would pay $40 or less but it must be thick, quality, and preferably made in my country, the U.S..

  76. I read an interesting article somewhere says fashion and economics are tied. When economic is good ppl spend more and fast fashion works great. When economic is worse people tend to spend more cautiously and likely will choose a better more expensive item that lasts longer. I also think a lot of the top shop and forever 21 customers were millennial who have been working for few years now and can either afford better stuff, or not be able to afford owning too much stuff because a spacious apartment costs too much . At the same time Top Shop and Forever 21 failed to capture the newer generation who relied on social media and online shop much more.

  77. Garments that say "Made in Europe" are not always made in Europe. There is a book called "Camorra" by a person named Roberto Saviano: it is not about fashion at all. In fact, it is about one of the mafia structures located in Naples. However, there is one chapter dedicated to clothing and fashion designers. If you want to know how people get fooled thinking that the clothes they wear and the fabrics are made in Europe, simply because the label says "made in (any European country)", then take the book and flip to the (if I remember correctly) second chapter. Even some designers, when sold fabric, really have little clue where exactly the fabric they're buying came from.

  78. So I would personally still buy from China/Bangladesh, but ONLY if the brand guarantees they pay a decent wage. Europe made is not necessarily better, and that wage they get saves them from poverty, and can help the community.

  79. I feel so awful for wearing the same autumn coat I bought seven years ago, the same winter coat my grandma gave me around the same time, same jeans, same dresses and only changing my t-shirts occasionally. I do want new clothes, but they are too expensive for me and never seem to be my size as I'm slim but wide… I'll think of sewing as an option.

  80. I'd definitely pay more for a recycled cotton t-shirt! To be honest, I didn't even know that was an option, and if it is – that's great, I'd love to support that market segment. I also tend to be more willing to spend on things that are well sewn and have an original design that doesn't look mass-produced.

  81. I am very willing to pay more for something produced in Europe. In fact, I tried to get all my clothing to be made in Europe/organic materials by doing a capsule wardrobe and only buying new ones from sustainable brands. But to be completely honest, I have been disappointed with the quality of these clothes more than once, they often look worn quickly, get holes earlier than H&M underwear does etc. I sew a lot of my own clothes and have had a similar experience with mid-range organic fabrics. And those are the middle ground brands between Chanel and Primark. So how sustainable is it, if I have to replace it even more often than even the fast-fashion clothes?

    To answer your questions about the pricing: If I knew that the T-Shirt made in China was a livable wage and organic cotton, I would pay the same as I do for one made in Europe, so about 30 Euros. The worker being paid well is my higher priority. But in reality the question to me is often, what is the best T-Shirt I can afford right now.

  82. I would pay more for a cotton t-shirt instead of polyester for example (summers here are very hot and humid and polyester is terrible in that weather). my ideal option is locally made organic cotton. my top budget for something like this would probably be around 50$us for a t-shirt I really like. if it's made in china (or a similar place) I won't be as willing to pay that price to be honest. I don't rule out fast fashion although I do try to buy less and prefer to pay more for better quality, but good fabrics are a must for me now and it makes it a lot harder to find clothes this way.

  83. Always supporting local producers – you just need to make small research for the country you live in and it is not hard to find. All my clothes are at very affordable prices with local designs and great natural materials. I have been living in Denmark, Czech, Bulgaria, Ukraine and local and quality unique designs are great, easy to find and the only one I buy. Thank you, Justine, for spreading the message – it is very important <3

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