Mar 1, 2019 - 16 min
Can you tell how ethical your clothing is by its price? Researchers have been trying to unpick the labour costs involved. But, to find out the true production cost of a garment is a tortuous process. Hannah Marriott reveals what you need to know to buy clothes with a clear conscience. "In 1970, for example, the average British household spent 7% of its annual income on clothing. This had fallen to 5.9% by 2020. Even though we are spending less proportionally, we tend to own more clothes. According to the UN, the average consumer buys 60% more pieces of clothing – with half the lifespan – than they did 15 years ago. Meanwhile, fashion is getting cheaper: super-fast brands such as Shein (which sells tie-dye crop tops for £1.49) and Alibaba (vest tops for $2.20), have boomed online, making high-street brands look slow-moving and expensive by comparison. But the correlation between price and ethics is knotty, to say the least."