Popular high street fashion stores like Mango, Zara and H&M can be found all over the world and are generally affordable. The pricing of the clothes is adapted to the country to match the competition and be in relation to what the chain store has to pay in wages and taxes. But does the management get this right?
A recent visit to the high-street within the Eurozone and the UK revealed that Mango takes advantages of the different currency in Britain. The Spanish clothing chain sells a dress for €29,99 in the Eurozone, which is £34,99 in the UK. It may have escaped the pricing managers attention: but the pound Sterling is stronger than the Euro, which means that the same garment is a hefty €43,70 in the UK (if converted back to Euros).
Is it more expensive to run the shops in the UK? No, not really: the minimum wage in the UK is £6.19 (€7.73) per hour compared to €7.89 in Germany. The taxes or electricity is about the same and there is no other reason for MANGO to make their clothes more expensive in the UK unless the clothing chain he victim of a not-know Channel mafia coup that charges €13 per item to be shipped across the Channel or maybe MANGO just wants to express their sympathy for poor Eurozone countries?
Screenshots taken from Online Stores
While MANGO is probably the most exaggerated, ZARA is less abusive towards fashion victims: a black dress with leather appliques is £39.99 and €49.95 in the UK and Austria respectively. This is pretty much accurate to the exchange rate. It seems to be one of ZARA’s policies to just take 10 off the price. A TRF Shirt is €39.95 in Austria and £29.99 (€37.49), which actually makes it cheaper in the UK than in Austria.
It seems as if Green Fashion as in ‘good for the environment’ has taken over the sustainable fashion market. Warehouse uses organic silk and cotton, H&M has just extended its range of recycled and organic cotton fashion with a Glamour Collection, Zara uses 5% biodiesel and PVC free footwear, Mango has obtained a “Made in Green” Certification and Topshop publishes an understandable and accessible Responsibility Report. It seems as if there is great progress in the right direction.
But while it seems a lot easier to buy affordable clothing without exploiting the environment, things don’t look as bright from the perspective of fair labour.
American Apparell, once the hero of fair wages, paying double the american minimum wage in its L.A. factory (and paying the american minimum wage in other countries) fell into disgrace after CEO Dov Charney was sued for sexual assault in 5 cases by (former) emloyees and harshly criticized for his ”over-reliance on oral sex during interviews over assessing retail experience” as an industry insider said here. So, fair wages but sexual exploitation. Maybe not so ethical after all.
I am not always safe with matching fashion styles with decades but this dress looks very 60ies to me. I recently bought it in a Christmas sale and so-not-60ies styled it with my “fetish” shoes. I hardly take them off my feet. They are just fabulous. I found a lipstick with roughly the same colour as the dress in my mum’s bathroom. I think it’s a nice Look like this. I am still in Salzburg at my parents’ house and already spent more than my after-Christmas-Sale budget in Salzburg (I meant to save some to buy me shoes at Topshop), but I happened to find too many irresistible bargains to just let them be taken by someone else :-). I am still working on my first youtube Video about my hometown Salzburg, so check back later today or tomorrow.
Coat: from my mum’s closet