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The price from every angle

No one will deny it : price is a key factor in the decision to buy a garment.

And the lower it is, the greater the temptation…

But what’s the right price for our clothes? And what’s behind 2 t-shirts, one priced at €10 or less, the other at over €40?

Wages crushed

While the quality of the raw material is important, we all know that : it’s the cost of labor that explains a large part of the price differences that appear on labels.

As Tristan Gaudiaut(Statista) reports, in many developing countries, garmentindustry workers have to endure difficult working conditions for very low wages, which often don’t even allow them to meet their basic needs.

The lowest wages are to be found in Asia and Africa, notably in Ethiopia, which is currently experiencing the fastest economic growth on the African continent and where, to attract foreign investors, the government has introduced the lowest minimum wage of all garment-producing countries: just $26 per month, or around €23. In Madagascar, monthly wages are a little higher but remain extremely low (€48), compared with €83 in Bangladesh and €85 in Pakistan. China, the world’s largest clothing exporter, has set a minimum monthly wage of €200 for this sector for 2019. In Turkey the same year, garment workers received a minimum monthly wage of just over 300 euros.

If we take into account the standard of living in the various countries concerned, these basic salaries can be two to seven times lower than the national average.

Price components

In the end, these wages represent only a tiny fraction of what consumers pay in store. On the price of a T-shirt produced in Bangladesh and purchased from a ready-to-wear distributor in Europe, the costs generated by the retail trade (store profit, staff, rent and VAT) account for almost 60 % of the total. After that, the largest shares go to brand profit and material costs (12 % each). This is followed by the cost of transport (8 %), and the cost of the garment factory’s profit and expenses (5 %). In the end, local workers’ wages represent just 0.6 % of the cost of the finished product, or barely 20 euro cents for a garment sold for €29 in Europe.

According to Homère (the men’s ethical & sustainable fashion blog), if a €10 t-shirt can exist, it’s thanks to :

  •  mass production by global brands with thousands of points of sale, capable of producing millions of t-shirts and driving prices down through competition ;
  • low-cost workforce paid at the lowest rates and subject to regulated working and safety conditions ;
  •  materials cheap   : synthetic or natural but not organic.

The sale price is attractive, but the human cost,  health and  environmental cost is far too high…

Opt for value

If you compare the cost breakdown between a t-shirt made in Asia and one produced in a regulated European country using eco-responsible materials, you’ll understand why you’ll have to pay much more for a t-shirt :

  • Raw materials: 25% in Europe versus 12% in Asia
  • Salaries: 30% in Europe, 0.5% in Asia
  • Workshop margin: 6% for European garments vs. 3.5% for Asian garments
  • Transport: 3% versus 8%.
  • Ancillary costs: 6% of sales
  • Brand margin: 30% versus 70%.

A garment made in Europe pays a decent wage to the worker and the partner factory… And the raw materials cost more too.

But that’s the choice Moov360 has made, opting for a recycled and recyclable synthetic material and entrusting the manufacture of its pieces to an Italian workshop.

The price difference between the two types of product may be great, but so is the value !

If you opt for a timeless style that will never go out of fashion, that you prefer to consume according to your values and ethics, you’ll pay a lot more for your outfit, but it will certainly be of better quality, the material won’t warp, the seams won’t pop… And you’ll be able to wear it often and for a long time. 

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