Coût réel d'un vêtement - The True Cost

How much does a garment really cost?


true cost of garment

Many people will think that paying less is more economical.

It will depend on how we perceive the value of what we buy. It is true that buying a new sweater for $3.50 means that I temporarily have more in my bank account than if I had bought a sweater for $40.

However, it will be necessary to take into account the durability of this sweater. Is my $3.50 sweater good quality and will it survive a reasonable length of use? At a time when many favor disposable fashion, we doubt it.

sweater $3.50

But besides our own wallet, what about the real cost of a $3.50 sweater ? We agree here that it would be a monk's job for us to calculate the real value of this sweater. Let's explain!

What is calculable

When calculating the actual cost of a cotton sweater, we will take into account:

  • of the cost of the seed
  • of the “rental” of arable land
  • water used
  • pesticides used
  • from transformation into fiber
  • from transformation into fabric
  • transformation into clothing
  • of energy used for transport and processing
  • the cost of dyes
  • storage cost
  • of the cost of the point of sale
  • multiple machines used for harvesting and processing
  • of the different modes of transport used
  • the cost of one or more human resources associated with each of the costs cited here (at least 15 people and that's a minimum!)

Your costs:

  • Purchase price
  • Your transport or delivery costs
  • Maintenance price (machine, soap, energy, etc.).

We can also include the time it takes to make the purchase, manage it and maintain it.

Until then, we are talking about costs that are relatively easy to calculate and already, we can easily doubt that a sweater can cost this price.

But what are the hidden costs of such a sweater?

We can put the costs attributable to the production of a sweater into two main categories, which are barely or not calculable. Here, we are talking about social costs and environmental costs which are difficult to quantify.

“The True Cost” (2015) is a report that gives a comprehensive perspective on the fashion industry. It addresses in particular how this industry abuses human rights and the environment. It clearly demonstrates that the costs to be paid are grandiose from a human and ecological point of view.

We put the trailer for the film here (you can rent or buy it by clicking here ). We would like to say: ''Sensitive hearts refrain'', but no, open your eyes and ears wide!

In summary, the documentary states the following:

Environmental costs

  • Just behind the oil industry, fashion is today the second most polluting industry in the world.
  • It is estimated that 3% of clothing sold in North America is made locally, whereas in 1960 it was 95%.
  • There is the emergence of “ fast fashion ”. We consume and throw away clothes faster: It is estimated that we buy 40% more clothes than 20 years ago and that the American citizen throws away 82 pounds of clothes per year.
  • Non-organic cotton and dyes seriously damage the environment and workers' health.

Social costs:

  • With one in 6 people working (40 million workers) in the clothing industry, it is the industry that mobilizes the most human labor in the world. Particularly under-qualified labor.
  • As seen in the Rana Plaza collapse , workers have horrible working conditions and pay dearly in terms of their family and social life, their health and sometimes even their lives.
Condition of work

Also, you will be surprised here to note that the clothing industry is the only one whose product prices have decreased over the last 20 years while all other products have increased. We'd just like to give you a little reminder...the one that sometimes we forget. We have a choice whether or not to join this industry as it is defined. The power of the consumer is so great that if we stopped buying these clothes, the clothing industry would have to reposition itself and they would disappear from the market.

Ecologically yours,

eco loco


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