Why are the prices of clothes more and more expensive?

Fashion is not immune to the rise in ambient prices. Industry players tell us why clothes are getting more and more expensive.

Energy, gasoline, food… The consumer prices riseof 4.5% over one year in March 2022 according to the latest figures from INSEE. In this context of general increase, due to the global coronavirus pandemic then at the war in ukraine, impossible for fashion to avoid it. industry Finished productsit relies on several sectors: farmingfor the harvesting of raw materials, the factoryto make threads and fabrics, the productionto sew clothes, transportationto transport goods from factories to warehouses and then to consumers… So many areas impacted on their own by inflation.

Cotton, more and more expensive

In one year, the price of cotton has increased by 50% and that of organic cotton by 90%“, note Elliott Magedirector of operations at Fairly Made. This startup incubated at La Caserne in Paris, which produces eco-responsible clothing (mainly in cotton, therefore) for brands like Maje Where Little Topsnotes that with the increased interest in this subject, in particular certified organicand the slowdown in the production chain due to the coronavirus, prices are exploding.

The specialized information site Fashion Network note, in an article published in October 2021, that cotton is actually found at the crossroads of several tensions : “In China, cotton production in the Xinjiang region (in the west), one of the planet’s breeding grounds, is marked by the scandal of accusations of forced labor by the Uyghur minority. And the harvest difficulties in the context of the health crisis associated with bad weather have reduced the supply in several other producing countries.“. Which forces fashion brands to consider their way of sourcing differently: “This year, brands and producers have stocked up for a year by buying at a fixed price the cotton needed for their 12 months of production.“. Chrysoline from Gastinesco-founder of Balzac Paris has for its part decided to favor the recycled cotton for organic : “It has the advantage of being produced very close to home (ours comes mostly from Spain), but it remains rare and expensive and requires longer material testing phases to ensure the durability of our products.“. But cotton is not the only fabric to be affected: Elliott Mage of Fairly Made also counts polyester and viscose while Chrysoline de Gastines observes that the cost of all the materials and supplies necessary for the production of signed pieces Balzac Paris are on the rise. “Our leathers have taken between 10 and 15% increase“, she specifies.

The cost of transport, less and less accessible

Among the innumerable consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the international transport from one point to another of the planet, more and more expensive. “This is a real subject, accompanied by real difficulty in booking seats in boats or planes with extremely volatile prices.“, explains Elliott Mage. In question, in particular, the containers on which transit the goods blocked in turn in Asia or the United States. Result, from one week to another, the tariffs can vary from 50% !

The Septem spring-summer 2022 collection © September

How do brands work with these new constraints?

It’s about being more agile than ever and changing your habits. “If I sum up, since November 2021, price increases have followed one another: the cost of fabric, accessories, manufacturing, transport… And since 2020, supply and manufacturing times have continued to lengthen: they were from 2 or 3 weeks before, now it’s 2 or 3 months. Which requires me to predict, plan more and work on several collections at the same time“, Explain Jessica Troisfontaine, founder of the ready-to-wear brand Septem. A new way of creating which is also current at Balzac Paris: “These major changes obviously have an impact on the way we design our collections, since we must always anticipate more to deal with the various issues. But this leads us to do just as desirable with less and energizes the eco-design of our products.“.

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Balzac Paris Spring-Summer 2022 collection © Balzac Paris

What solutions for brands?

To raise prices or not, that is the question. Fairly Made, in contact with a large number of brands, notes that the most established tend, for the moment, to absorb these cost increases and to trim their margins. What not all brands can afford. “At first, I chose to do not pass on these increases to the price sales of my collections, while watching the evolution of the situation. Except that the costs continue to climb and it is impossible to say when it will stabilize“, summarizes Jessica Troisfontaine, “The small structures are already working with very small margins, since we don’t have the same economies of scale as the big brands. So for us, today is impossible not to increase our sale pricesand“. An increase of between 10 and 15% for Septem, but also for Balzac Paris: “What must be remembered is that we put all our creativity into rethink the design of our products and our collections in order to continue to offer local, innovative, desirable and sustainable fashion“, makes a point of asserting Chrysoline de Gastine. In any case, at Septem as at Balzac Paris, the customers show themselves understanding about the rising prices of certain clothes. What they want is transparencyunderstand what they buy and what they pay to continue to support the brands they love.

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Why are the prices of clothes more and more expensive?