What are some of the ugly truths about the fashion industry? Did you know that some luxury retailers would rather burn leftover stock than sell it at a discount? Or that the clothes you donate often just end up in a landfill? Find out about all this and more in this video!
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Here are the ugliest truths with Fashion! Just what exactly do they do with clothes not sold?
8 – Donated Clothes
With fast fashion, Americans are throwing away more clothes than ever. In less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans toss each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons! That’s roughly 80 pounds per person! Traditionally, unwanted second-hand clothes are sent abroad. That was way back in the day. Now some countries have started to reject fast fashion “leftovers” because these donations are actually driving off small local businesses! While you may donate your old clothes to charity and think you’re doing a good deed, the truth is, a whopping 84% of your clothing end up in landfills and incinerators! Charities overall sell only 20 percent of the clothing donated to them at their retail outlets. Larger charities such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill do sell more than that though. This disparity is probably because, unlike small charity shops, these larger organizations have well-developed systems for processing clothing. When something doesn’t sell at these charities, they have to do something with it. So Goodwill will make these unwanted clothes into giant bales! They’re basically shrink-wrapped cubes of clothes taller than a person. They then just go ahead and sell these bales to textile recyclers. And if an item can’t be recycled, then it ends up in landfills. People like to feel like they are doing something good. The problem they run into is that in the US, we just don’t have people who need clothes at the rate we’re producing.
7 – Fragrances
Fragrances have always been considered a luxury product. What exactly is it that makes perfumes and colognes it so pricey? Three things influence the price of perfume: ingredients, marketing, and packaging. There’s absolutely no question that some of the ingredients used in high-end fragrances can be expensive. Particularly rare or sought-after ingredients, especially natural ones, can practically cost their weight in gold! Some of the most exorbitant examples are oud oil, which averages over $30,000 dollars per kilogram. This is extracted from a tree that ONLY produces this resin when it’s infected with a mold! Another example is orris absolute, a flower extract, which can cost up to $50,000 per kilogram! But, even with those hefty prices, it’s not the reason why fragrances are expensive. The cost of ingredients to produce fragrances make up an extremely small percentage of the full price. The rest is packaging, advertising, and profit! The actual cost of the perfume sold in a fifty-dollar bottle of perfume is pennies. The biggest cost is the marketing. From the elaborate ad campaigns themselves to the magazine, television and billboard placements where ads are seen, perfume brands spend MILLIONS of dollars per year on marketing. An estimate is that roughly $800 million dollars a year is spent on fragrance marketing. The most expensive advertisement ever made was for a perfume. The 2004 Chanel Number 5 ad, featuring Nicole Kidman, cost an insane $33 million dollars to produce! Of course, if a celebrity puts their name to the fragrance, then they get a cut. Celebs make between 5 and 10 percent of sales for licensing their name to a scent, on top of an upfront payment of $3 million or more! There are a few other less obvious costs that also add to the total. Perfumes are created by the so-called perfumers. They are often called ‘ghosts’ because even though they create the perfume, they’re not widely known to the public. Only three companies control nearly 50 percent of the market, supplying most of the well-known perfume brands. These perfumers reportedly put a 300 to 400 percent margin on their formula. So if they have a $10 per kilogram raw material cost, they might charge a brand $40 for it. The breakdown of a $100 eau de toilette looks something like this: The biggest cost is actually the overhead! That’s right – the very product itself is the least expensive part of the entire equation!