The High Cost of Cheap Fashion

Fashion has been transformed by the recent emergence of retail chains that hire good designers to make throwaway clothing and accessories that are right on trend. But what has been liberating for Western women is a system built literally on the backs of women in the developing world.

OXFORD – I confess: I do it, too. Like most Western women, I do it regularly, and it is a guilty pleasure every time. It is hard to listen to one’s conscience when one is faced with so much incredible temptation.

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.

I need to face my addiction – and so do all women like me.

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