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

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,

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100 Replies to “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:

  2. I'm late to the party, but I have thoughts so I'm going to contribute anyway.
    I'm someone (from Ireland, early 20s) who used to shop a lot and now I barely shop at all due to budgetary restrictions (curse you, rental accommodation!). I'd say 90% of my wardrobe originally came from fast fashion stores and 10% came from smaller independent/ethical stores. I still have blouses/tops/jumpers from Forever 21 and Primark and New Look that I bought 3/4/5+ years ago that are still in good condition and are perfectly wearable. I probably paid no more that €30 for any single item, and it seemed great at the time.
    Looking back now, though, I honestly feel like if I had said to myself then 'Hey, you know that denim skirt is going to last you for more than 4 years and you won't have to buy another for that whole time – don't you think it's worth more then €20?', I feel like I would say yes.
    Recently I have looked at sustainable and ethical clothing brands but I've been nervous to purchase anything because I think all my years of fast fashion have taught me to mistrust clothing brands. I don't BELIEVE that those clothes will last me years until it has already been proven true, and I don't have enough disposable income to experiment on a whim.

    Basically, if I could be sure that an item of clothing really will last year on year then I would happily pay €50/€60 for a t-shirt or €80/€90 for a dress, because then you only need to buy two or three things a year, which maybe adds up to €200 annually rather than many times that amount for a fraction of the wearability.
    I would also say, though, that as a curvier person, investment pieces are scary because it often feels like most of fashion is made for straight-torsoed people, and there's always that toxic fairy at the back of your head whispering vain hopes that you'll be smaller soon, so there's no point buying expensive clothes for your current body…
    I think there is a labyrinth of social knot-work that needs to be pulled apart before society will divest from fast fashion en mass

  3. Hi Justine can you do a video all about brown? Like what colors go well with brown… for example, can I wear brown boots with a brown bag of different shades? Or can I wear brown with navy, green, etc. I love brown but I find it trickier than black

  4. I think people are also sick and tired of having their closet full of clothes that they don't really love and feel trapped, like they constantly have to go buy new stuff because of the poor quality of what they have (you sometimes wash a tee-shirt only once and it already is waisted), and we know now that this new piece will look horrible in a couple of months and join the pile of clothes we never wear 🤷 I'd rather have fewer clothes and feel gorgious in them, feeling like I could wear them every day for my whole life and now I have my targets and it keeps me away from fast fashion. If I resist 3 or 4 timess buying something in Mango or Zara, I have the money to buy 1 piece in my favourite sustainable brands if I can catch some promotion (which they rarely do but I got lucky a couple of times) or on second hand websites. I am willing to pay 60 to 90€ for a dress, 30 for a tee-shirt, 90 for a really food quality pullover, 70 for pants…

  5. As someone who lives in Asia the hysteria in the west equating "made in china" to "low quality & slave labour" smacks of racism and white superiority attitude. To a certain point, countries need to progress economically first, and it is rarely done ethically. The 2 industrial revolutions in the West came off the backs of poorhouse children forced to work in factories for food/shelter

    I'm not saying we should support businesses that squeeze factory workers and barely pay a living wage, I'm saying we should demand full transparency along the supply chain from the retailers we buy from.

    I look first at the construction and material quality, then at the price tag. Where it's made is the last point of consideration. I've bought made in Europe (Poland) clothes with crappy construction/material and made in China clothes that are much higher quality for the same price point.

    Because no businesses are fully transparent/ethical that i know of, these days i shop much much less, and usually secondhand.

    Ceteris paribus, I'd be willing to pay much more for clothes made from recycled or new low-impact material than cloths made of unsustainable resources

  6. In Russia, we have a website for independent designersartisans for them to sell their work. It`s the best "in-between" option I have found – you know that the worker gets a fair living wage, you make less carbon footprint because your boots won`t get shipped overseas for you to get them (you can also find artistscraftsmen from your town, so you can reduce that footprint even more).

    And the coolest thing is that you can ask this person to make any product with more sustainable fabrics or change the color scheme of anything! I`m really happy that I`m able to order stuff directly from the person who makes it, it`s a great alternative to fast fashion.

  7. I start to buy more natural materials and I wish I could do more research on this. I try to buy less as well (but it is hard). I switch to zalando and their cashmere is not so expensive which I probably not good as well. but I admit I am cheap, I understand the cost but still would rather pay less.. and that is my problem

  8. I just came from Uganda, Africa, where I bought a t-shirt for $15 and another for $20. One of them had embroidery. I paid little attention to the content, and I did not want to bargain for them because of the people. I don't care about organic, but I do care about waste and garment quality. Therefore, 95% of my wardrobe is from the resell or thrift shop because I know how to sew for myself. Thank God there were sewing classes in school during my era.

  9. I keep my clothes a really long time usually, like 5 years or more, so I’m willing to pay a bit more for ethically and sustainably made clothing because it also is (usually) good quality, well fitting and lasts.

  10. I enjoyed your analysis of conditions in the fashion industry today and how you compared a bankrupt fast fashion retailer and a bankrupt luxury brand. It seems like the way of the future is online shopping with a focus toward ethics and sustainability. Well, at least in the PR message. It takes integrity and compassion for a business to think of the entire picture of their operation’s success and value EVERYONE that helps get their product to the consumer. Wow. I’m amazed just to think of it.

  11. I am 100% with you, Justine.

    I simply by less, better quality. Period. We’ve got too much stuff as it is.

    Thank you!!💖

  12. Darling, I would like to pay more AND in the same time, the reality of life in NYC is as follows: I would rather invest money in my retirement than in clothes. I am working in meficsl field, not doctor, neither RN, so I get paid OK, but NOT enough to support myself, save the max allied. Fir my retirement, pay student loans , SAVE fir a good vacation, save for emergencies, and actually have money left over to pay more for clothes.
    I choose to buy as GOOD QUALITY as a I can afford. This means that I own only 2 hoodies, each almost 200 ( two hundred) , vs. many low quality clothes….

  13. Justine thank you! I just watched the true cost. You just changed my outlook on fashion. I want to know more about how to support and buy organic, ethically produced fashion. Will be looking at a capsule wardrobe from now on. You are making a difference. 🇨🇦 👏🏼

  14. I don't believe an issue is only with the fast fashion. Big brands such as Chanel, Gucci, Dior are also proven to be unethical and unsustainable.

  15. I might pay $10 for a t-shirt from China.
    I would pay upwards of $50 for an organic t-shirt made in the USA. This does have some weight to it though. I'd be aware of how ethically it was made, plus something as basic as a t-shirt and paying this price, I would expect it to last a very very long time.
    If I chose to buy a recycled shirt from China, maybe $20. I would rather have fewer clothes in my wardrobe that last and are ethically produced and well made the to have a ton of blood cheap clothes creeping in my closet.

  16. Do you have a video about the path of a garment from purchasing to recycling to trash? What happens to our old clothes when we donate them?

  17. The fashion industry itself is responsible for "trends". People used to pay more and think of their clothes as long term investments. Clothes were meant to last many years.

  18. Although primark is a fast fashion brand I have to give them credit for becoming crulety free certified. This means their supply chain is open for inspection. They didn't need to do this and many other brands don't care. Although it's not about clothes it's something.

  19. When I went to primark in london I bought 5 or 6 t-shirts in size 18 in different colours to wear everyday for 2 or 3 pounds. I knew they were shitty quality, but I wear them to work and they lasted for a while. I can't buy those sizes and that availability of colour in my country. At any price. you just can't. Even if I were willing to spend 10 times more money, nobody manufactures clothes in plus sizes in so many colours and models.

  20. the question is in what kind of planet do you live? because here on planet earth few people will be able to dress if a shirt can cost $200 or $100 when the minimum salary is $15 or even less than that! the question for you is what will you do when your salary is so small that you can't afford to buy eco-friendly clothes? Do you think that paying thousands of hundred of dollars for a purse IS NOT RIDICULOUS? while millions of human beings in this planet are dying because of hunger and preventable diseases? as long as people can afford to buy something to dress is good enough for humanity! WELCOME TO THE WORLD BEYOND PARIS!

  21. I can't think of a dollar figure but I am willing to pay more for a sustainable and ethical product mostly basics as I am a thrift store shopper since the 90's for a lot of my clothes.

  22. Hi Justine, I read this piece from the Washington Post today about an enormous increase in fraudulent online clothing stores with deceptive practices. There seems to be so much corruption surrounding the fashion industry. Perhaps you would be interested in discussing this topic as well.

  23. I shop 1940s-70s vintage and secondhand now. I unfortunately don’t have the talent or patience to make my own clothes…as for mainstream fashion it seems so cheap and horrible quality…not to mention how juvenile they look…I’m 25 years old and don’t want to wear cropped tops with Cheetos on it…yikes.

  24. I don't want to pay cheap but l also don't want to pay for the brand name .The thing is that I am now looking for quality that I can hardly find anywhere.The fabrics and the workmanship are all in the way to be replaced fast.Ethics also means for consumers they should get what they paid for.which brand is doing that properly???

  25. Thank you for calling out the argument that for people with little money there are no other options than to buy the cheapest fast fashion, I hear this a lot in sustainability arguments. At least in the usa and now online, there is a booming second hand market, which, generally speaking, is much cheaper (less than it used to be but its still possible to find it cheap). There is also the option of just owning less articles of clothing but each higher quality (although more expensive doesn't always mean high quality unfortunately).

  26. As someone already said, “organic” doesn’t mean sustainable, and most people still don’t know the difference.
    I can’t exactly pinpoint how much I would pay for each of the 3 options you mention, but I’d definitely pay more for an ethical t-shirt – I guess between 20-30 £ or 25-30 euros? The thing is, I think we’ve been so used to buying cheap-er clothes that is sometimes hard to pinpoint the actual worth of a simple thing such as, for example, a t-shirt. I grew up in Italy, where the my family would always try to buy “made in Italy” ( not the super expensive one! As you say, there’s a middle), and I then moved to the UK. I quickly noticed that London, people just don’t care, they buy what’s trendy and don’t even bother reading the label. It’s all rooted in the way we were brought up.

  27. There is much to say about this and I'm surprised Justine exposed everything so clear. To the point, here in southamerica forever21 is in business, just as berksha and mango; obviously I never shop there (I used to cry a lot in dressing rooms since I was rlly fat for a teeneager). As an option certainly, in this latitude is not even expensive to buy a few meters of fabric and send them to a modiste, actually in october I received five blouses from mine, and making numbers it was about $130 overall. Just saying, the only hard thing about my situation was to find a modiste (and loose weight, but not the point).

  28. I have a sincere question that comes from a place of caring for these underpaid workers (in faraway places like Bangladesh) and with no hidden agenda. What will happen to these workers when all the companies that employed them are no longer around? Will they be given better paying jobs by the new businesses that replace the former? I would hate to find out that lower paying jobs are replaced by no work at all. 😢

  29. Very ethical topics. I can’t buy fast fashion clothing as I cant find clothes that fit me perfectly so I would rather spend more money ( obviously not channel and Gucci though) and buy better quality clothes…. but for some who cannot afford and have better build body fast fashion is perfect to splash the ethical thoughts will not even cross your mind when you have smaller purse. There are choices available to people and they have the freedom to choose whatever they fancy. I get mad also when company like these make the chain on supply line face the suffer the consequences

  30. After watching your videos on fast fashion, now I don't go for the design instead I look for the fabric quality. And as I am from Pakistan, we have a trend of tailor made dresses. So, this way I dont buy fast fashion.

  31. I'm kinda nervous to post this. But to that question, how much would I be willing to pay for, for a shirt:
    Regular T-shirt, made in China: Depends on its quality, 10-20€
    T-shirt made in Europe, organic cotton: Affordable for me would be 20-30€, but if it's really high quality, 40€.
    Recycled cotton, made in China:
    I started buying some stuff made from organic cotton. Some of them are fair wear foundation approved. I'm excited, when I see, a pair of denim was made in Turkey. And I feel bad, whenever I chose to buy non-fair garments out of… Well, selfishness. Merchandise, Bandshirts, or out of "I need asap some shirts for work, not too expensive, because clothing often gets damaged and ripped in my job" or because of laziness. Sure, there are probably amazing pants out there. But I have to try so many, to find one, which fits. So I choose those, who I know. Even thou, they won't last more than a year and a half. Or because your income is low and you don't want or can not buy everything second hand (underwear, shoes and stuff like that).
    I'm aware. So I only buy, what I really need and I wear this, till it's literally falling apart. Before I buy it new, I often check secondhand apps like eBay or Kleiderkreisel.
    That's how I try to do my part. Has anybody recommendations for affordable fair basic fashion?

  32. I know that you are talking about westren countries but here is my situation. I live in Egypt. Our currency is really suffering and even though fast fashion is supposedly cheap, for middle class person here brands like zara mango bershka forever 21 are not always affordable marks&spencer is actually pretty expensive. For a white basic t shirt 100 egp= around 5 gbp= 6.5 usd
    For organic one I could pay up to 200 egp=10 gbp= 13.5 usd
    And unfortunately, things like supporting ecofriendly technology will not matter alot for me if the price is out of my range which I assume it's going to be.

  33. Answing the shoping question, sortof.
    Right now i shop exclusivly used and am trying to get my wardrobe switched to home-biodegradable pieces. Adding that criterion to my shoping has definately added to the price i am willing to pay second hand, and when i look for things new it has way upped the price. But tring to figure out where my clothing came from and also where it is going is worth it to me.

  34. This sounds awful, but when I think about it, I’m less willing to pay more when I purchase a garment made in China (or another sweat shop of a place). I think it’s because I’m angry that the store is taking advantage of me and charging me a lot for a garment when I know the funds aren’t allocated to the proper place.
    I’m plus size and pretty much can only shop at Torrid. There have been times I’ve been there two or three weeks in a row making returns, and more and more often I exclaim you the clerk, “Geez, you guys have a new collection every week now!” Since watching your channel, it bothers me. I’ve been on the sustainable bandwagon for a while, but being a US 24 top and 26/28 bottom, it’s really difficult to find options and flattering clothing. So often I resolve I will find a seamstress to custom make me some staple pieces from sustainable fabrics, which is pretty much all I ever look for anyway (and it’s difficult to find in fast fashion at my size). I hop on Etsy and look for people and haven’t found someone who fits what I’m looking for yet. There are local shops I need to explore though, just need to understand fabric better.
    Truly, I’d fly somewhere to be measured properly and meet with someone who will make me custom fit, sustainable pieces, and would pay for it.
    I don’t know what a fair price is for that, but for a shirt (assuming I’m getting a few basic colors of each garment so the pattern is used more than once)? I’d say $50-$60, and for a dress $120-180 or upwards of $220 ish (since I wear dresses less often).
    I want fewer clothes of higher quality.

  35. Hi Justine! I've been following your channel for a few times, and I could say it's very helpful for me and really educative. In my opinion, mostly people in that level lower or middle worker would like to buy something that on budget. Yes, of course I personally want have high quality, but the situation sometimes seems like doesn't support for that. Another options that maybe most people do, even me is buy second hand clothes or things which is much much cheaper than you buy new one. I got good quality and cheaper eventhough is used before. That's seems make sense for our life. For me, even is used before, I don't feel ashamed cause that's solution for my situation.

    I have suggestion for your next video, how's about second hand/used clothes or shoes. What's your opinion as a fashion designer or fashion expert ?? Thank you.. PS: Apologize with my poor grammar. 😉

  36. I sew, and my mother and grandmother before me. I was taught to look for quality stitching as well as quality fabrics, which is why I never shop at Old Navy, Forever 21, etc. I have no idea what I'd pay for the items you asked about without seeing and touching them, but I'm always willing to pay more for good quality, and will not purchase cheap clothing or unethical brands.

  37. Everyone is calling for a more ethical production process and fair paid workers. I am wondering if the same people still want all of that once they realize that they actually have to pay for that at the end of the day. That they can't buy a lot of cloth for very little money anymore. That they actually might have to change their shopping and styling habits. That they might have to say goodbye to a overflowing wardrobe and new cloth every other week. Everyone wants change. But who wants TO change?

  38. I fully agree with the statement / question "Can you find no alternative between USD 5 and USD 2000?" The reason is that there seems to be an eroneous perception prevailing out there, at least in the mainstream Anglo sphere, i.e. there is only cheap (=low quality) and expensive (=high quality) products. People have stopped looking for quality (i.e., durable, long-lasting, well-made, well aging) products at the right price. I have paid for excellent quality coats made of wool & cashmere in the British Isles somewhere around GBP 200-300. Is that expensive? No, because a product like that is timeless, lasts for decades, and ages well, IF one takes care of one's products. Most brick-and-mortar retailers face their own financial problems and young consumers / designers should shift towards online buying / selling, which should actually correct the information "asymmetry" prevailing in fashion, as long as people do their research.

  39. Hey Justine,

    It’s a little hard to say exact numbers for how much I’d pay. For me, a big piece of the decision making process is related to quality. My assumption is that a European made T-shirt would be better quality material and last much longer. If that’s the case, I’d factor in almost a multiplier idea. If it’s from europe, good quality materials, it’ll likely be made better and be in a classic style (it’s also likely to last 2x to 3x longer).Therefore I’d be willing to pay between 2x and 3x the price. But I would need reassurance of the quality. It’s so disheartening buying something that begins to fail after the first wash. That’s a sign you bought garbage and extremely upsetting.

    It’s interesting that even Barney’s is failing. I’ve been to some high end dept stores lately and basically see fast fashion equivalents for high prices, horrible polyesters made in China, but for $150. It has made me not even go shopping like that anymore. It feels like clothing found in any malls follow this pattern! I know it sounds dramatic but I find it offensive that they’d even try to sell this stuff, like we’re such idiots we’ll never catch on…perhaps though these bankruptcies are some evidence that many consumers are noticing their stuff ends up being so low quality and disappointing.

  40. Since my mom is a dressmaker, I know how much it takes to sew a plain t-shirt. If I had to buy one, I'd probably pay ca $15-20 whether it was made in the EU or China.
    Tbh I don't really buy clothes at the shops like H&M, New Yorker etc. I'm a student and I try to pay as little as possible for clothes. That's why I shop at the local thrift shops and oh boy if you could only see the awesome clothes. A white wool sweater for $3. Last month I've bought a cashmere sweater for $8. I've looked up the brand and the same sweater costs $150 in the brand's e-shop. I regret not buying clothes in thrift shops earlier.

  41. Hello! Greetings from Latvia! I have discovered Your videos and thanks for the usefull and interesting videos about the fashion. 🙂 I totally understand what You are saying about fast fashion and the way garments are done in countries were it is cheaper to produce. But there is other side as well. As always. If there is not enough work opportunities to work, but for living is needed money, people are happy to have a jon and get paid. Of course companies use cheap work force. For example, no wonder why so many things are made in China. If Your country can't provide you a job (for example, country is economically poor), contry's, government is happy that comes companies from abroad and gives people work. Although people may work in a poor conditions. It's better to get some money rather than nothing. Those countries which are economically good developed can be priviliged to have an opportunity to choose what kind of work and salary they are happy to work for. Not every country have an opportunity to choose. And second. Fast fashion shops. Yes, people can choose, if they can afford to buy clothes from a little bit more expensive retailers. But there always will be people who are poor and who are happy to be able to buy. For example, when I lived in UK, for some time, I worked here to earn money for my studies and later come back to my country to be able to pay for my studies. At that time I, of course, saved as much as I can and buy things what are cheap. I did buy clothes in ''Primark'', because it was cheap. Later I went to second hand shops, where I could buy tha same clothes from the same shops, but in second hand. It was good, because I could afford to buy for myself and to earn, which was the aim why I was in the UK. I am not saying that it is good that with a purchase people (those who can not afford to buy in a proper shop) support fast fashion shops. But need to understand the whole situation. There is countries which are less economically successful and people still need to be able to wear something. And people are happy to be able to buy if there is something cheap. Of course I would be more than happy that everyone can afford good things and buy. But that is not the reality. Sometimes reality are much sadder than people can imagine. All the best and I am looking forward to find something new and usefull! 🙂

  42. Now that I can afford it, I do look at the tag and try to find clothes made in Europe, possibly organic. However, I'm also aware that this is an incredibly privileged position to be in, especially since I grew up so poor even fast fashion wasn't cheap (I still don't consider them "cheap", apart from some pieces they do sell for 5 euros).
    I think the question for most people is how much they can, rather than are willing to, pay for a T-shirt. I think 10-12 euros is realistic (for the organic and made in Europe), although I have no idea if it's also realistic on the production side.
    Fundamentally, we need to significantly reduce the overall amount of clothes we buy, which is a major shift in thinking that needs to happen.

  43. While I am inclined to pay more for locally made and sustainable clothing, I also have a problem with waist, and by that I mean I feel somewhat guilty when I buy new clothes, which is a whole different problem. But what I take into account to decide if a garments is.worth the price for me is also if it's thrifted and if it's a smaller and/or local creator

  44. As with food we should go for regional so when I buy it matters where the clothing come from. Period. I avoid stuff made in China and from other third world countries as much as i can. Buying everything made Europe is impossible, sadly. Globalization made it impossible.

    But the trick is NOT buying. The trick is buying less, more qualitative and buying vintage or second hand. In Europe its possible.

    Most people are overstrained because they don’t know how to simplify their wardrobe, they buy wrong stuff that actually don’t fit their body types because fashion industry itself deceive the masses by selling stuff for only one female body type so fatter people will always buy more and badly. And fatter young people is the majority in Europe and the USA and that’s why fast fashion still isn’t over… Dissatisfaction and lack of self esteem is what allows such systems to work because fashion per se is in fact disposable.

  45. Wages in the UK have fallen in real terms over the last 40 years. With the recent re-election of the Conservative party I can't see that trend reversing in my country.

    The big winners are pay day loan companies, bargain supermarkets and clothes stores like Primark.

    The world seems to be racing to the bottom. I believe people do care about ethics and the environment but unfortunately at a time when they're least able to shop ethically.

    I wish I could be more positive.

  46. Yes, I would pay "more" for better made, ethical, sustainable, fair trade, etc products. An option, as you said, in between, are thrift stores and consignment shops. I love watching your videos on this topic, and I hope to see ones where you talk about businesses who claim to have these positive models. Examples I think of include Rothys, Allbirds, Everlane, Pact Organic, etc

  47. I am very grateful for your continued passion and commitment to educate us about the ethical issues with fast fashion. I would certainly pay more for an organic cotton t shirt made locally (I’m in the US) with transparency in the supply chain and fair trade for workers. First there is the good feeling of diminishing complicity in a corrupt system, secondly the higher quality— I have shirts like this that last years and years and are so soft— so they are not actually more expensive in the long run than many less ethical and environmentally toxic competitors— and thirdly there is the fact that non-organic, chemically sprayed cotton is a major health and environmental hazard. It’s like switching from styrofoam to paper cups… once you know how bad styrofoam really is, you can’t forget it. The knowledge you shared about Barneys made me feel happy I never entered an income bracket to shop there, though knowing what I do now from your video I wouldn’t shop there even if I had the money.

  48. It's not about their model .Everything is connected in terms of economy.World economy slowdown is also one of major problem for their bankruptcy.

  49. Personally, I still like to hunt down second-hand quality. I have several cashmere pieces, linen, wool, mohair and cotton. Also, a couple of AllSaints leather jackets. Both for under £50. A bargain. This still feels like the best option – until the fashion/clothing industry gets its house in order. Shopping for fast fashion is a waste of money as it doesn't fit, washes badly, doesn't keep you warm or cool and mostly ends up as landfill. However, I am grateful Justine covers this subject – and pulls no punches. Better to be informed so we can all make reasoned choices in how we shop.

  50. Hi Justine another problem I have with in “between brands” is their customer service usually. They put the risk entirely on the customers usually in my experience.

  51. I am willing to pay more… and i am also usually broke… so i had a minnimal wardrobe before it was popular. Some was thrifted a lot was gifted. With gifted clothes it is sometimes hard to find a sense of style so my goal has been to swap my percentages to 60% thrifted (vs gifted) 20% gifted and 20% new to have ability to have more of my own style. This is what I've discovered over a decade of dressing on a severe budget. I'll probably always have a small wardrobe but I am used to it now.

  52. Well I live in Hungary, so in that perspective:
    – a basic t-shirt( with minimal design elements) I'd pay 3000Huf, so around 9 Euros. Anything higher than that should be something special. Material wise – beautiful cotton, or something with design.
    – I'd pay more for more environmentally friendly clothing- but only if I know for sure they are. And by more I mean like 150%…I'd not be able to purchase double the money. ( like H&M and so called sustainability does not convince me at all).
    – I'd pay more if it was local shop- but also reasonably.
    – I'd also add, that I live in my clothes. I love more special pieces, but I find that I get limited in wearing them, because most if my activities and everyday life could ruin the materials, so I often skip my pretty clothes to wear practical ones. And so I would not want to pay so much for my everyday use clothes, because if I ruin them fast it is not worth it. And I don't want to keep them in the closet forever, waitng for the perfect occasion. – I mean, I don't want to worry about my t-shirt in the summer while being in the forest, or just sitting down anywhere. I hope I wrote this down, so it makes sense…

  53. Your video is very interested and it made me think a lot!! Certainly i don't buy so chip clothes and i'm against all these.
    From now i 'll be even more careful..but how can we find out from the labels??They all can be changed.

  54. I'm a bit late to the conversation, but to answer your questions: I would pay more for more sustainable clothing, but I generally refuse to buy things labeled "organic." It isn't by default more sustainable (and is often less sustainable), it's just a marketing term used to drive up prices. You've obviously done a lot or research into fast fashion, I would encourage you to do the same with Organic. A lot of articles you will find on this topic talk about how cotton uses a ton of synthetic pesticides, whereas organic cotton uses "natural" ones that they claim are safer for the environment, but there nothing makes natural ones any safer by default. In many cases, natural pesticides are subject to less rigorous safety testing. Additionally, organic crops bar the use of GMO varieties, even though the whole point of GMOs is to increase yield but decrease the amount of resources needed, including the amount of pesticides used.

    That all said it is very possible that organic cotton is more ethical and sustainable, but I highly suspect that relying on organic cotton alone wont yield enough to supply the world's needs. Personally I would rather transition to more sustainable materials for new clothes and buy used but quality clothes whenever practical.

  55. I would rather buy recycled cotton but my favorite clothing is second-hand and online. If I buy brand new (rare) I do my best to stay with natural fibers.

  56. Some ethical & organic T-shirts that are really thin already cost 25-30 euros, so for a really good and lasting one made in Europe, 50 euros. 20 max for those made in China depending on the quality. A good quality regular T-shirt made in China? No idea. Would I even buy one?

  57. Not only the low end is failing, not only the high end is failing, the whole middle end is failing too. The brick and mortar retail has become increasingly volatile.

    Steilman: bankrupt.
    Adler: closing stores, wants to concentrate on senior demographic. Except wait a second, what do you do once your demographic bites the dust one by one? That's one way to go nowhere fast.
    Wöhrl: was bankrupt. Recovered from bankruptcy largely just by owing everyone cash for so long that they no longer have to pay back.
    K&L Ruppert: What the hell were they doing? They closed the 7-floor flagship store in Munich and opened two tiny ones instead; those in turn weren't as attractive to customers because there's no assortment of product to be had there, and those are gone now too. That was the place to go for inexpensive store-brand clothes produced from durable material within European Union, which BTW neither is the case either. Seemed to be aiming for senior demographic last i looked who shop there out of habit more than anything, which has absolutely no way of lasting. Issued bankruptcy note last year. Promised to turn around and orient themselves on trends, which… sounds like they're jumping on the Fast Fashion bandwagon, which… i mean you're going to lose customers you already have and the new target audience will not set foot into what's known as the grandpa store, so how is that supposed to work?
    Garry Weber, Miller & Monroe, Strenesse and Esprit are all in trouble.

    The only ones that are thriving are the ones who sell junk, seems like! Why has Forever21 not survived? They've merely been kicked out by another shark who's better at what they do than they are, like Primark or whomever else. One low-end cut-throat chain will be replaced by the other, but the business model overall is likely to remain a success (with slight variations on target age group, but all made as cheaply as possible) and steal everyone else their customers.

  58. I think the most I've ever spent on an ethically made tshirt is about $120 AU from the håndværk. I didn't mind paying for the quality but ideally I would feel more comfortable if it was less than $100. The cheapest was one from Uniqlo which was $9.90 on sale.

  59. In 1967i worked for a French designer in London . We had good quality one of a kind clothes . Very expensive . The sales girls shopped at Biba . Probably the first fast fashion . New styles every week limited production cheap and cheerful . Buy now or miss out mentality 👍🤔✂️🇨🇦

  60. I hope my answer still gets read. Well, for me the country of production is a big thing. I try to purchase things made in europe, and specially in my country Portugal. As for materials… I made a compromise, I prioritize country of origin (specially because most things national are usually good quality even if they're not 100% cotton, and have some synthetics in it).
    Now, the other day I went to a cheap shop (it sells clothes from €5-€20). As I was looking to the labels, some of them were made in Italy and I questioned the shopgirl (who used to work for Longchamp and somehow ended there), and she told me that the Chinese were buying factories in Italy and most likely, things were still produced "the wrong way" and with no conditions for workers. Do you know if any of this is true? The prices are really low and the quality is very low.
    Answer to your question: I would pay very little for a t-shirt Made in China (in case I would ever have to buy one) €2 maximum? European quality would be €40? (Keep in mind portuguese workers are underpaid and that it corresponds to about 7% of the most common wages…)

  61. Bottom line, it is called SLAVE LABOR. It occurs in all sectors of commerce globally for a veryyy longgg time. KNOW YOUR FARMER. Schooling should include the home arts, sewing being one. I had my own flock of sheep in vermont, know how to hand shear, know how to tan a hide, know how to weave and repair a loom, know how to knit in many forms, crochet, tatting, needlework such as bargello, trapunto,etc. Know how to make shoes,work with leather, etc. We need to bring production and animal husbandry back, along with trades and apprenticeships. Then we can really enjoy life. My grandmother grew flax as well. If we could be content with small batch everything that would be the beginning of striving for quality, not quantity. Got wool? Yuppers, 3 bags ( antique hand loomed linen) full. 😊😌☀️☺🌿💧

  62. Could "ready-to-wear" be a metaphor for "fast fashion" too? Idk , just thought and made the connection. Obviously is not same price as the fast fashion concept.

  63. Hi Justine. Very interesting video again! I'm not investing large amounts in clothing lately. When I lived in Germany, while being a student and after graduating and having my first job I would still buy from brands like Orsay, New Yorker, H&M or the Primark that became so popular (and it was pretty good at that time too!) in my city. Since moving to US a couple of years ago, I find the quality of the fast fashion brands so disgusting compared to other larger department stores or thrift stores in the US, that I've completely changed strategy: Now I'm only buying from thrift stores or outlet stores like Marshalls or TK Maxx and sometimes from Macys or Bloomingdale's in terms of shoes and accessories mainly. But the problem that I see with those too, is that all these brands produce ONLY in China!!! It is better quality than European stores, but nevertheless, in 99% percent of cases, regardless what department store I go to, it's all made in China, Bangladesh or India. I cannot trust these companies to have a good work ethic anymore, because I imagine that when they can reduce items of sale by 70-90% in store, that means that they price they paid for the manufacturing of that garment is really really low. I do not mind buying Made in China (what else can I do??!), but I want to buy better quality than that while having peace of mind. And at the same time I want to save money to buy a house and paying $50-60 for a single item is not in my budget…I sometimes wish the US would impose a full embargo to the Chinese or South Asia manufacturing and then see what happens!!

  64. Hi Justine, Topshop is a British brand, with nearly all stores in the UK. They are NOT a USA brand. Please correct. Thank you.

  65. Hello Justine! I live in Europe and I am a student at uni. Through the years I always shopped fast fashion clothing without knowing what's behind that. Now that I know I really want to help sustainable and ethical companies in every product I need, but not all of them and not every time I need to buy something, because I can't afford it. Throughout the times I do save money to get something from an ethical-sustainable brand, but most times when I really need something for my everyday needs I choose the other way..

  66. Oh, I loved this video! So interesting, and such good information, and point of view. I am definitely willing to pay more for sustainable, ethical, fair and good quality clothes. I'm also willing to buy less often. I do look for local options first.

    For a cotton T-shirt, I can find them locally, and the prices are: 12 USD. I am willing to pay 18 USD.
    For an organic T-shirt, I'd be willing to pay 20 USD
    For a recycled… Depends on the material, is it still cotton? Then 20 USD. Is it plastic, I don't think I'd buy it.
    For a hemp T-shirt, I'd be willing to pay 20 USD as well.

    Where they make them, is not that relevant for me, unless it is associated with quality, sustainability, better practices, ethics or fairness. If it is the same product I would prefer it locally due to the carbon foot print of the product. If I also know x countries have really bad labor practices, use children for labor, or slave people, I would avoid buying from that country. Edit: Or avoid brands I know have clothes made there, I would be willing to support independent sellers from such countries that are making a difference, and not using such dirty practices.

    My location for survey purposes: South America

  67. I have been looking for garments not made in China. It’s a challenge. It’s also a challenge to determine which countries besides USA would be made ethically. Is there a good list of countries to look for?

  68. Dear lovely Justine – your youtube channel is my favorite.

    Many of the people that follow your channel  are facing a similar dilemma: where to shop that is both a good combination of quality, price and is both ethical and sustainable for the environment (4 points test). It is really hard to do that. Your channel is educating us in an helpful way – chapeau!

    I would like to consolidate my capsule wardrobe – therefore the basis for buying new clothes is looking for what I am missing. I do not feel like buying anything new, unless it passes the four point test: Quality, Price, Ethics and Environmentally sustainable.  So linking to your questions:
    1. The China aspect would most likely not fulfil the environmentally sustainable test – though I guess I need to research more on this – any thoughts? 
    2. I would prefer to, and can afford to pay for a T-shirts of up to 25 – 30 euro each, provided they would last for more than 2 years. 
    3. I guess I would mind paying for a T-shirt of recycled cotton from China, though I still think this is my least favourite option.

    I would love for you to do a video of the people you collaborate with, to tell us more about your community. I wish all respected brands did that (show how they respect labour rights and the appreciate their staff/ collaborators) so we can connect to the people who are behind the hard work being done and surely will appreciate the items more. 

    Looking forward to your follow up video.

  69. I wonder how it is for cheap fashion websites like shein. Some say it's cheap just because they just sell online and are thus not concerned with expenses for actual stores. Didn't find it convincing..

  70. Hi Justine, I am new to your channel and am finding it very informative and entertaining (love your sense of humor), Have you discussed whether or not to trust the “Made in [insert country]” labels (apologies if you have). There are also unsavory business practices of razing local industry (Italy’s China City: Sweatshops to Wedding Shops ) It has been very disheartening to shop especially in second hand/vintage shops to trust labels. (Edited to include title of link)

  71. I'd like to know what sort of brand you call "in-between" brands: Claudie Pierlot? Sandro? Karl Lagerfeld? Because you pay a lot of money for those brands, so clearly they're not fast fashion, but if you look at the labels, it always still says "made in China" or "made in Bengladesh". So I'm at a loss as to what sort of brands we should be looking into. Because most of the sustainable brands have very classic designs, nothing as fun as Liu Jo, or kenzo… so do we have to make a choice between sustainable & ethic and fun, unique designs that aren't basic?

  72. Justine I love your channel! I basically only buy ethical and sustainable items. Yes, they cost more to purchase. However, they last me years as they are superior in quality, and I prefer to buy something that has as little negative environmental impact as possible. Also, when you look at "cost per wear" they are much more affordable than poorly made fast fashion. There are tonnes of excellent ethical and sustainable brands out there these days, and to those who argue that they cannot afford this option I would urge them to simply buy less but buy well, or to check out depop, op shops, look at clothing swaps etc. Ultimately we only think mid-range rbands are expensive due to the (relatively) recent influx of fast fashion stores (as you mentioned) and the pressure of our consumerist culture to buy and to own lots of things. As Vivienne Westwood famously said: "Buy less, choose well, make it last." <3

  73. I would pay up to $50 for a well-made plain cotton tee-shirt regardless of where it is made so long as it comes from a sustainable & economically fair location.

  74. WHAT? @ min 3:38.. So, Forever 21 doesn't have to pay their debt at all to the suppliers no matter how much they owe? That is just too easy and reckless. Somehow they have to find a way to pay back. That's messed up

  75. Amazing video Justine, as always.
    As for answers to your questions, assuming the quality is there I'd be willing to pay the following.

    1 – £50
    2 – £50
    3 – £50

    It's very interesting to think this through. I'm in the UK so I am trying to factor carbon footprint into my purchase too.

    Very interested to hear what you think about brands like Everlane.

  76. I stopped shopping fast fashion awhile ago after watching your channel. Now i shop for specific pieces and never feel like i need to rush out and buy a trend. I also dont shop as carelessly. My #1 problem now is to stop buying in brackets online — buying size M-L and planning to return the what doesnt fit. I found out a lot of retailers save more money throwing the returned product away than checking for damages and reshelving it.

  77. Can you do a video on the in-between options? And furthermore what about Online Retailers like ASOS, Zalando, AliExpress? Can you do a video on them for accountability and sustainability? I myself like to shop at Zalando at a lot and especially mid-price clothing or Zalando's own fashion brand. I am totally against buying clothes at Primark for such low prices, at the same time I, of course, cannot afford a t-shirt by Chanel, etc.
    One issue I noticed too, is that they're a lot of people/influencers seemingly on Instagram and co. that wear a lot of designer clothes that are very expensive. Did they really buy these clothes or is it just a hoax? (to promote these clothes, but they don't own them?) e.g. like the over-hyped "supreme" brand.

  78. Justine, I know you hate fast fashion but what about recycled fashion? I like getting denim and scarves from ThredUp, I think you guys have PoshMark which is lower volume. Do you think recycled fashion will be a new trend? Do they have something similar to ThredUp and Rent the Runway in European countries? In the US they are really popular for dresses that you might wear once and name brand clothing that is made really well like denim. Have you tried buying high end "used" clothing and purses??

  79. Yes, I am absolutely willing to pay more for ethical production of clothes & organic cotton or hemp material. I have come to realize that I would rather have fewer clothes of higher quality & costs than many different clothes of less quality & less costs. The most I'd pay for a t shirt made in China made out of recycled material would be $30. The most I would pay for a t shirt made in the U.S. made out of organic cotton would be $45.

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