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Jon Oliver knows what’s up.
First off, I’m officially coining the term “slow-fashion”, it’s the opposite of fast-fashion. Here’s how it works.
Designs are created, samples are made. The samples are then presented to the consumer, and an order is taken. The product is then made (in a timely fashion – or not, depends on the product) and delivered to the consumer at a later date. We’re actually on kickstarter to make this happen, check it out here.
Maybe you don’t get the latest trends, but you get quality stuff that probably is trendy. Let me explain why this is better for the human race and the organization making the stuff. Oh, and this is important
You don’t buy a bunch of junk you don’t need, you buy a few items you do need – and they last a long time.
- no inventory – only what is required is manufactured
- no wasted labour or material due to overstock – items will all sell because they’re made to order, thus, there is no stock lying around that needs to be discounted and cleared out at some point
Product cost savings
- less continual marketing – ongoing marketing is required, but not as much. You already have a customer because they ordered, and you don’t have to keep bombarding them with your marketing – because they already bought.
- no wholesale – the product is already sold to consumer directly, thus, no need for a wholesaler to take it and mark up – then sell it to the consumer (*major cost saving*)
- less barriers to entry – just make a sample, not 10,000 pcs, and show it off, then take orders.
Human rights savings
- realistic production schedules – assuming you’ve managed the consumer’s expectations, and your manufacturing output/capacity, then you can take the real time needed to make quality product. No one has to stay late, or work 20 hours a day to hit unrealistic deadlines or stock shelves for holidays.
- fair production sourcing – because the product is made to order, you can source factories based on ethical-ity – prior to sample making. This means you build relationships with fair producers, that don’t employ child labour, slave labour, or other unethical means of production – and take this cost into your business plan.
- true cost pricing – the cost of up to date facilities for workers, benefits programs, and fair labour practice is in the price. This means things cost more per unit, but, at least people are treated fairly and we don’t support labour violations.
This usually only works online, but it can work in a physical location as well. The key here is to keep the consumer informed throughout the production process. Everyone will understand if you’re real with them, because, you’re in this together. The business needs the consumer, and the consumer needs the business. It’s a win – win here, no one has to get stuck with overstock, or inadvertently fund slavery.
It’s 2016 – and we’re still freeing slaves. I’ve seen it in some factories I’ve visited in China, and decided not to work with those, but it does exist! Fast-fashion is just a term to mask the unethical production of garments and apparel. They tell us the only way to get the latest stuff with a price soooo low, is to make them in huge quantities and quickly. Then they crack the whip at the factory, use low grade materials, deliver below standard product – ironically, we buy it.
I used to buy stuff from these retailers, until I went to China and saw the production process they use.
I’ve seen a factory in China take a million piece order from a big conglomerate organization in fast-fashion, and then the workers at the factory and managers go through extreme stress to produce the order. The factory doesn’t benefit from this order, only the retailer does. Workers have to break their backs and work ridiculous hours to meet deadline. The managers go crazy managing front line employees and even working the line . Then it ships, and the retailers throw it on the shelves with a price tag that makes us all think “hmmm, well it’s so cheap so whatever I’ll take it”. This is a very broad view of a typical order, but think about how long it would take to produce one million pairs of shoes. These retailers demand it in 2 months. That’s 16, 666 pairs per day on a 60 day period. Then these goods retail for $29.99, yielding 29 million in revenue.
This is a vicious cycle, and it needs to change. Here are a couple brands that are leading the way in transparent manufacturing and ethical practice. We salute you – and we’re with you.