What is Ethos Quadrant? | Is Slow Fashion Expensive?


How do we determine if anything is cheap, reasonably priced or expensive? By comparing! What do you compare with? Do you really place the products one besides the other and compare?

Is Armani expensive? Is Gucci expensive? Is Louis Vuitton expensive? Is Chanel expensive? Is Dior expensive?

There are values, features and many more reasons for a product being expensive. A customer has their own reasons for buying something of their choice. But, do we all buy only the cheapest? Is our shirt the cheapest? Spectacles? Pen? Shoes? Bike? Car?.

Not Really! But is this question about ‘expensive’ always there? And if we do see something priced higher, shouldn’t we first reason out?

It’s like the often asked question – is organic rice expensive! Here we have something that is grown with out any toxic chemicals, that is eco-friendly and sustainable, that is directly linked to good health and nutrition – yours and the planet’s. May be the primary producer was paid a fair price and there was no exploitation. Why should we even compare it to some random chemically grown toxic (for you and the earth) product? Yes, we may end up buying the chemically produced item but there can be no doubt about the value of fair priced organic products.

Similarly for Khaddar - Hand Made Clothing

Yes Khadi was costlier than the imported garments from England in those days. When Gandhi asked our people to boycott foreign clothes and patronize khadi, people took a very conscious choice - of supporting Khadi, in spite of the higher cost.

It was and is expensive because of the many livelihoods it touches. Add to that fair and dignified compensation, no exploitation, decentralized operation and distributed economy!

So are branded clothes really cheaper? They are mill made using power looms, colored using chemical dyes and the workers are over worked, under paid, exploited labor, unsafe working conditions, hidden costs and environment abuse. Your pocket may not be lighter from buying such a product but your lungs may be even heavier. The true costs are masked.

Let’s take the simple example of Natural Dyes Vs Chemical Dyes. Natural dyeing costs Rs 650 - Rs.1000 per kg. Chemical dyeing costs Rs 50-80 per kg! However, you are paying Rs. 1000 per month for water cans in your household since the rivers that are supposed to provide us with clean drinking water are polluted from the chemical dyes. Now think again, is mill made cloth really cheap?

Price is not only what we get directly for what we pay. Fair price is what we pay without guilt, knowing fully well that we have not been a party to direct or indirect exploitation of the earth or the people involved in production and distribution.