Why is it that we still don’t understand what clothing should cost?

Photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, June 2001 (blog post image)

Some of you may have seen Emily Farra’s article in Vogue this morning: Sustainability Is the Most Pressing Issue Facing Fashion—And It’s Only Getting Harder These are the hard questions we must ask – and that we are in a position to address. We’ve applied for a micro-grant to jump start our fibershed and build the foundation we need to contribute in a meaningful, actionable way to disrupting the way we produce and consume clothing (and all textiles!).

I’ve pasted a tease of Emily’s text below — you’ll want to give her entire article a look! And if you want to get actively involved, we need you. Please reach out and volunteer, here.

“To see legitimate progress and change, we need to point out the gaps in the dialogue and ask harder questions.

Here’s one to start: Why is it that we still don’t understand what clothing should cost? New Yorkers line up at Sweetgreen to pay $15 for a salad, then spend less than that on a new T-shirt. It’s not just that they’ve been conditioned to think clothes should be cheap, but because those prices are everywhere. I have friends in the fashion industry who will gladly spend $17 on a glass of wine, or $75 on a single dinner, but scoff at a $250 organic silk dress they’d keep for years, getting its cost-per-wear down to dollars and cents.

The food industry has successfully convinced us that healthier, better, organic food is worth the extra cost. Why hasn’t the same thing happened in fashion? We’re living in a moment when aesthetics and taste and personal style are tantamount to affluence, yet we expect to get there by spending a handful of bills. Not everyone can afford the $250 dress, but if you knew exactly why that T-shirt cost $5, I think you’d be happy to put it back on the hanger. Still, it’s possible that once a culture has normalized these kinds of impossibly low prices, there’s no going back. And maybe it’s not the best use of my time to focus so much on changing the consumer’s mind anyways.”