Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thoughts on overpriced shit and second hand shopping

 [A menstrual looking postscript] 
Brace yourself, a photoless post with lots of text coming up!

Years ago, when second hand stores were barely popping up here and there in Bulgaria, thfirting was regarded as icky, unclean and overall humiliating. I suppose this is a normal reaction to something that has just recently started to appear, but now? When we're living in the 21st century, with so much second hand, thrift and vintage stores around the globe, many people still consider it as a sign of poverty and uncleanliness. Even here, in Bulgaria, where the average wage is 300USD, second hand shopping is looked down on with prejudice.

It's funny, because those exact same people that find it humiliating and degrading, get their merchandize from brands that are famous for their sweatshops with poor working conditions, inhumane treatment and unclean environment. I'm not saying that all the items from second hand shops haven't been made in sweatshops, most of them were, but when you're buying it from a charity shop, or whatever, at least you're not directly pouring your money in all those fancy shmancy brands, and many second hand shops give away part of their income for noble causes.

I'm writing this post, because of the recent Bangladesh outrage in Gazipur (http://rt.com/news/bangladesh-garment-protest-clashes-244/). It really angers me, because even though so many people are striking, even though so many people are signing petitions and writing letters to different factories, those brands are still making the same damn, fucking excuse over and over again, and doing nothing.
"If you stop bying from us, we'll bancrupt and we won't be able to pay these poor workers wages and they will starve". 
Really? Is that the best you could come up with? Not buying anything from you, doesn't mean people want you to go bankrupt. This is a nonverbal protest against your inhumane policy, and a "gentle" suggestion to change your working conditions. The intentions of all those people who stopped shopping from your store, isn't to make millions of people starve to death and leave them jobless, this is for you to decide. Whether you change your policy or you go bankrupt, is your decision only. And not one of them gives a flying fuck about this.

The worst part is, there is no way you could know for certain who owns sweatshops with inhumane treatment and who doesn't. (Does anyone know of a way? Some sort of organization, perhaps, that keeps track of all this?)

There is a reason I don't like all the pretentious "fashion icons", the snobby fashion shows, the whole industry even. Because, you can make a t-shirt and sell it for 400$, because it's better than a normal t-shirt for whatever the fuck reason, and you can make a t-shirt and sell it for 20$, like a normal human being. Either way all those money won't go to people who need them.


I had a colleague of mine, who loved Lacoste. I asked him why did he love it so much, because for me it's just as generic as most brandss, with the main difference that it's hugely overpriced. And he answered that he felt it was different, he felt good in all those clothes. When I asked him, how was it different he didn't have an answer. And my personal thought on this, (not saying that I'm right) is that he felt more right with this brand, because it was overpriced.  Just like so many vintage clothes out there which are just normal clothes really, but you put a label "vintage" and all of a sudden their value rises.We'd like to think that we're economically reasonable human beings, but we're not.

There are factories here in Bulgaria, which produce many famous brands of clothes, like Lacoste, Nike, River Island. And you can visit these stores and buy the exact same garment on a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH lower price, than what they are sold for. But there is a difference between seeing something expensive and seeing the same damn thing, but a lot cheaper. We think quality=price, but most of the times, that is not the case.

My point is, don't be ashamed or grossed out of buying second hand. Many people don't have the slightest idea what's going on around them, they will believe their snobbish existence is better, don't let those people dictate your actions, instead be able to decide for yourself and to think for yourself.


23 comments:

  1. I loooove SH myself. Here in Serbia things are pretty much the same. People still look down on it, but less, soon as there are more and more SH shops opening, and less and less money. I got some of my fav items ever from SH shop <3

    Check out my newest post about a new fashion game called Fashion Eye – I’d love to hear your opinion on it!
    XoXo
    Venoma

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  2. I love thrifting, I dont care what people thinks lol. To me is always an adventure and I have found some pretty cool items. :)

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  3. И аз съм против overpriced нещата по магазините. А относно това, че в България все още се гледа с лошо око на втората употреба - тук на много неща се гледа така. Какво да направиш...

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  4. This is very good post :) ! I used to go to second hands but now I don't know any good here, where I live.

    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/

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  5. I'm 100% with you here. I prefer thrifting over new stuff, and I don't really like brand stuff (I like one or 2 brands for their lovely designs, but those brands are not overpriced and also they do not use sweatshop work). I couldn't care less about logos.
    People say that cheap brands are unethical, but so are several expensive ones as you pointed out. The biggest newspaper published and article pointing that several expensive brand bags are fabricated in Italy - but made by illegal immigrants, in inhuman working conditions, in factories owned by mafia. Worth the money? I dun think so!

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  6. Word up. It's all psychological. That's why that dude feels that way. Wearing high priced items most likely gives him a sense of worth and makes him feel good about himself. I guess that's alright, except when you factor in the point you made earlier about how the garment was made. Most people don't want to think about that. Though, the same labor issues are present with super cheap clothing, also. So, I guess there's two different points being made here: (a) being cognizant of where your clothing comes from and (b) an irrational need to buy overpriced clothing when cheaper options are readily available.

    Anyway, growing up, lots of my clothes came from thrift stores or they were handmade for me. So, I have completely liberal view about thrifting and bargain shopping in general. In the so called fashion world, it appears that thrifting and DIY has become quite the status symbol, but people shouldn't forget that for a majority of folks out there, these options are really their only options, and for them there is nothing to glorify. It's just straight up necessity.

    I guess, at the end of the day, what matters most is not the clothing that is worn (and where it came from or how much it cost or whether it is handmade or vintage), but the person wearing the clothing. Is her name, Hubris? I wonder... ;)

    Great post! <3

    - Anna

    www.melodicthriftychic.com

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  7. You are so smart lady. Everything you said here is true. This is what's wrong with the fashion industry!

    xx
    Izumi
    Hybrid Hunter

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  8. I also find all those so called fashion icons and fashion shows pointless and I know very little about stuff like that (only as much as I see from the blogs I follow). I also don't admire the style of any fashion icon. yeah, all that crap is just pointless. and I don't understand people who think buying from thrift stores is disgusting. you can wash all the stuff you buy, you know. and often you can find absolutely new pieces from there. by the way, at least in Estonia I have noticed that clothes in regular stores are rather dirty because people with too much makeup on their faces try those things on and spill their stupid makeup everywhere. that's so annoying :@ anyway, what I wanted to say is that clothes from second hand stores are as good as clothes from regular stores, when it comes to the "clean" aspect. at least here in my country. the difference is clothes in regular stores are crazy overpriced. that's why I prefer thrift stores and decent sales. original prices are something I don't tolerate :)

    Maiken,
    Maikeni blogi - part of me

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  9. I actually studies "management of luxury brands" and the high prices are put on purpose so that products are unatainable to most people and thus, desirable. Most luxury brands make a huge profit out of their products, because the price doesn't correspond to the real value, it corresponds to the value the customer is willing to pay for a product surrounded by a certain "aura" (they call it like that, and the aura is also created on purpose).

    So I agree with you, nobody should be ashamed of thrifshopping and buying overprized products doesnt make you cooler... At least that's what my brain says... But when in front of a Chanel store I always think "Dman it! Their techniques work so ell!" because I catch myself wishing I could buy something...

    XX

    www.themirroronthewall.com

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  10. I so love this blog so informative gosh so happy i found it

    My blog www.islandchic77.com

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  11. I enjoy thrift shopping more than shopping for brand new clothes at the mall. :D

    xoxo,
    rae
    http://raellarina.blogspot.com

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  12. I guess Bulgaria has the same mindset as Romania on thrifted clothes, which is totally ironic given the existing wages. I've found amazing stuff in thrift shops and with patiente you can even come across designer items (if you're in the "blinded by the label category"), there is something for everyone, people should just open their eyes and their minds!

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  13. PREACH sister! I'm the biggest fan of thrift stores. I wish I could come shop in your town! If it's looked down on perhaps it's not so picked over? I hear you on the over priced vintage thing too. Sometimes I surf around Etsy and dresses from the 90's are 200 dollars! The 90's weren't that long ago!!!!
    xo
    ashley
    www.thephotogramps.blogspot.com

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  14. I love you, and I love this post. Second-hand is amazing if you know where to look. i hope that by the time the next generation the disdain for second-hand clothing will have dissipated. Hopefully people will learn to look beyond labels. :D

    love,
    a

    www.missdecaf.blogspot.com

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  15. So agree with you here, i've seen major fashion brands sending their executives to India and ask the factories to lower their costs of production, keep in mind that this is painstakingly hand embroidered fabric and then selling the same garment for thousands of dollars, charging for the same hand embroidery...ARGH

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  16. Nice post ;))

    http://closertotheedgeblog.blogspot.com/

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  17. There aren't really any good thrift stores here in South Africa, but I hear you!

    I had a boyfriend one who would only wear brand clothing - and then there I was in (really nice clothes, in my opinion) non-brand jeans and such and still didn't look poorer than him or anything. I think people do really just feel more special in name-brand clothing. It's stupid how just by writing the name "Adidas" or whatever on a simple t-shirt can make it worth like, hundreds more.

    My new blog: http://smartestthingsheeversaid.blogspot.com/

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  18. I agree with Anna that it's all psychological. I blame the love for expensive stuff on media hype. I shop from everywhere, brand name, non-brand names, boutiques, thrift stores show me somewhere with a lot of clothes and I'll walk in and shop. Everyone in my family turn their nose up at it. My sisters and mom would not dare, funny though that they'll want a good piece I discover. I don't understand though why people who are talking about going green and being eco-friendly would shun thrifting. If these clothes are not recycled or re-used they'd end up polluting the environment one way or the other.

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  19. I think you're correct with the thinking that because it's more expensive, it's better. I would rather have a designer bag than a knock off and if I'm honest, it would be because of the "prestige" and expense where with a knock off which would probably be as good although just as questionable on work ethics, I wouldn't like as much. (Um, that was a terrible sentence.) However, I don't like paying money for retail stuff and most of my stuff I find on ebay or that good old second hand store. (I shopped a the second hand store in school and it was so NOT cool then, it meant you were poor which I was but still. My town is actually really strange in that everyone, even the really well off people, shop at Value Village and we have transfer stations at our dumps where people drop off old, usable items for people to take and it's well accepted to get your couch from the dump.)
    Man, this is an awful comment, it's all over the place. I suppose I mean it's better just not to be such a consumer all the way around, first or second hand and it's something I've been trying really hard to do. I don't need a ton of crap and I'm trying to be more careful and thoughtful about what I do get. (But thrifting is awesome.)

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  20. i personally believe the boycotting for stores wouldn't be productive, there are a few new stores who have been boasting about there made-in-america clothes, which doesn't sit very well with me. i get it they are proudly saying that there was no cheap labour used. but i live in india, i know the situation, these companies would simply move their bases and the the workers would just end up losing their jobs, not that all 3rd world countries' poor people depend on such foreign brands for their livelihood. it is a more complicated issue, with deeper roots, that has to be combated by directly helping the poor worker somehow. the corporations need to be made liable to set up some kind of funds and such, policies and whatnot for the well being of the workers, set up pathshalas even near the factory premises to ensure the children of those parents can go to school daily. maybe my ideas are to idealistic, but it is alarming how many poor kids just don't get an education. and that is the root for so much worse for happening in this society.
    okay i think i spoke on a tangent somewhat. gonna sigh off now. bye.

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  21. excellent topic and post! so many people buy certain brads only because wearing something expensive gives them a certain feeling of accomplisment....Lacoste and similar brands prosper on that need of people to feel above others.

    I have a friend who makes gowns she sells herself...she works up to 16 hours a day, every day except Sunday. When I buy something from her, it is normal that it costs more, because she uses better materials and she does everything by had- not to mention she takes the time to carefully measurey you up...but I'm not paying more than a few euro for a tshirt...this is a topic I could write endlessly about but I must dash now.

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