The High Cost Of Cheap Fashion

With Jacki Lyden in for Tom Ashbrook.

We’ll look at the real price of the ten dollar shirt.

A clerk rearranges a display where sweaters were offered at $15 as part of many day-after-Christmas-only specials offered at H&M retailer on 34th Street in New York. (AP)

A clerk rearranges a display where sweaters were offered at $15 as part of many day-after-Christmas-only specials offered at H&M retailer on 34th Street in New York. (AP)

Cheap fashion: Don’t you love it? Shirts for ten bucks. Shoes for 12. Closets full of disposable  stuff  we acquire by the armful.  The cost, though, of the fast fashion trends have radically altered not just the way we look. But the way we live, globally.

The devil may not be so much wearing Prada, but a cookie-cutter knockoff made in Bangladesh.  It’s devastated American industry, depressed wages, and created voracious competition.

This hour, On Point:  overdressed:  the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion.

-Jacki Lyden


Elizabeth Cline, author of the new book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.

Andy Ward, acting executive director at Garment Industry Development Corporation.

From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal “Many books about fashion begin with an argument for why we should take fashion seriously. I’m going to take a different approach and say that fashion largely deserves its bad reputation. It’s now a powerful, trillion-dollar global industry that has too much influence over our pocketbooks, self-image, and storage spaces.”

Project Syndicate “I am talking, of course, about cheap trendy fashion. I’ll visit a Zara – or Hampamp;M, or, now that I am in the United Kingdom for the summer, the amazing Primark – and snap up items that are “cute,” effectively disposable, and so shockingly inexpensive that one does a double take.”

The New York Times “Floppy felt hats with broad rims gather like old friends on an antique green rack, greeting visitors at the door. Simple striped yellow, white and gray curtains adorn the front windows.”

Excerpt: Overdressed

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