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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

what determines price ? ~ fashion garments on fire

At Thiruvallikkeni (anglicised Triplicane) – there are famous roads –   Barathi Salai, is remembered by its earlier name ‘Pycrofts Road’.  The road winds from Presidency College / Marina Ground, Triplicane Bus stand, Victoria Hostel, Gosha Hospital, many Book publishing shops (and platform shops selling old priceless books in evening), till the now famous Express Avenue Mall.. my younger days, my Grandfather would take us all to ‘Popular Swadeshi Stores’ ~ where dress material for Deepavali would be bought .. happy days !  .. life has changed, we now buy brands, in Malls, Online and more .. Colour plus, Allen Solly, Van Huseun, Louis Phillippe .. .. .. ..

In US,  wearing an Abercrombie shirt could be considered  the epitome of trendy fashion (their competitors may think otherwise) If only it was still that simple. Now, trends have turned flashier, fancier and — pricier. Namely, popular “haul” videos — where beauty  gurus on YouTube reveal what they’ve purchased on a given shopping trip, whether it’s clothes, groceries or home décor — are nothing new, but the content and price points of these hauls have increased dramatically since the videos first started popping up online.

Do you wear your  attitude !    often the way one dresses can influence one’s attitude and self-confidence…  whether you believe in the dictum or not, it makes sense to dress well….it need not be – Armani, Versace, Gucci, Prada,  Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Fiorucci, Etro, Missoni, .. .. .. yet brands do stand out !

A white shirt as a choice needs to be impeccable – collar should not be too stiff or too sharp to rub one’s neck.  One should button the shirt and length should be right covering the sleeves.  The cuffs should not fall beyond the wrist bone.  Ideally a part of the wrist watch should be visible when you stretch your arms.  The thread count matters in terms of richness – it simple is the number of individual fibers found in a square inch of fabric.   Rich shirts are smooth and comfortable when worn.  A 200 count Egyptian cotton shirt is considered a connoisseur’s marvel.  The classic white shirt comes in every brand of fashion apparel like Versace, Armani, Dunhill, Raymond, Reid & Taylor, Van Huesen, Louis Phillippe, Arrow and more.  In fact, Ramraj Cottons set up in 1983 specialises in white garments – dhoties, shirtings, vests, and inner wear also.  The white shirts comes in various hues and price tags.  Ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the brand ambassador promoting Ramraj trendy wear. 

~ but  -- when it comes to pricing, some are costlier.  It is altogether different that some feel that only when a costly garment is worn, it would put them in limelight.. .. the Q is what determines the price ?
·         May not be costing – i.e., rawmaterial cost + manufacturing expenses + handling + reasonable profit
·         Theory of demand & supply
·         Availability – and competitor pricing
·         Perception cost – fashion price !
·         .. .. or not the cost of what sells – but what remains unsold !

[~ many of us would instantly buy a brand, if it is put on sale at 30% and if it is 50 – 60% discount, it is a steal; buy whether you need them or not; buy them, even when you have a similar coloured one, not worn for the past few months.]

It may sound crazy, but the practice has become increasingly common for some of the world’s biggest clothing manufacturers. Large numbers of clothes are incinerated and destroyed ! -  Why? They argue it is the most cost-effective way of maintaining their brand’s exclusivity. The clothes that are burned are those that don’t sell at a high enough price. Rather than watch them go on sale at hefty discounts, the companies in question would rather set fire to them and recoup a small amount of energy via the incineration, writes BBC.

Burberry is one of the most well-known firms that, until recently, did this. In 2017, clothing worth £28.6 million was incinerated by the company – a figure that made global headlines. By September 2018, following intense media scrutiny, Burberry announced it had stopped incinerating clothes with immediate effect. No-one knows exactly how much unsold stock is sent up in flames every year by the world’s fashion houses, but many clearly feel it makes business sense. Brands are under huge pressure to maintain the perception that their products – which cost time and money to make – are worth paying a certain amount for.

               “Selling them at lower and lower prices perpetuates a problem,” explains Pammi Sinha at the University of Leeds’ School of Design. But incineration has some very negative consequences. Burning clothes of course releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which exacerbates global warming.  A UK parliamentary committee report on sustainability and the fashion industry published in February considered the various environmental impacts of incineration. It said, “While incineration of unsold stock ‘recovers’ some energy from the products, it multiplies the climate impact of the product by generating further emissions and air pollutants that can harm human health. “Incineration of clothes made from synthetic fibres may release plastic microfibres into the atmosphere.”  The report advised the government to ban the burning or dumping of unsold stock if it can be reused or recycled.

Sinha says that part of the problem is that fashion firms are built from the ground up to produce and sell products. The only option for much unsold stock is disposal. Entire assembly lines are constructed with this model in mind. Naturally, that can lead to a lot of waste. Elizabeth Napier at Georgia State University says of 100 billion garments made every year worldwide, 92 million tons become waste. This could change, though. What if those companies had an arm tasked with taking back clothes that haven’t been sold so that they can be disassembled, redesigned into new products, and shipped out to the market once again? “Within a big luxury label where their reputation rests on design, they could possibly put together a design and production team for this,” explains Sinha.

That would require some investment and, for the venture to be worthwhile, companies would have to make sure the remade products are desirable so that the waste problem isn’t simply kicked down the road. But in principle it would be a step up from simply burning or dumping products in huge quantities. Some firms are leading the way on upcycling – where unwanted products are remade into desirable new attire. That can include reusing anything from old industrial fabrics to unsold clothing from other companies.

For significant effects to be felt, though, the fashion giants would have to take sustainability practices, like those mentioned above, on board. It can’t be left to start-ups and bespoke brands. That brings us to the bigger picture – and the other major hurdle for sustainability in the fashion industry. In essence, we have an over-production problem. According to data from the World Bank, analysed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, while clothing sales have risen steadily since the year 2000, clothing utilisation has fallen at roughly the same rate. That means for every extra t-shirt that is sold, it will be worn roughly half as much as it would have been 20 years ago.

Interesting ~ new angle !!

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Mar 2019.

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