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We're buying more and more clothes, at cheaper and cheaper prices, and it's unsustainable. On Monday night Vuletich and I appeared on Lateline to discuss a report on the problem of low-quality clothing donations made to op shops. "It's kind of absurd," said Zachary Moore-Boyle , who works in the Vinnies store in Newtown, "the rate at which people are consuming clothes, many of which can only have been worn once before they start disintegrating." Fast fashion giants like Forever 21, Topshop, H&M, Zara are central to conversations about the over-production and consumption of clothing, but it's not just them. Less obviously trend driven stores like Rivers, Lowes, Target and K-mart are also spewing out cheap garments no one expects to last for years. Sometimes it's more expensive to dryclean a dress than to buy a replacement. Right now Rivers is on sale, for example, and womenswear prices start at $5. Many of our clothing cast-offs are of such poor quality that they cannot be on-sold, either through opshops to thrifty fashionistas or to companies that dispatch garments by the kilo to Africa. Such items "don't last in laundering," Megan Wood, manager of Vinnies Newtown, told Lateline. "They don't last in wearing. They don't keep their shape." It's the same story at Salvos . "We are always inundated with donations," says Salvo's "eco-stylist" Faye Delanty, who brings her stylist's eye to the shopfloor to make second-hand chic more accessible. "We do get a good mix, and I obviously look out for the good quality, more desirable pieces - I just found a brand new Calvin Klein jacket, for instance - but I am also seeing a lot more disposable fashion." A post shared by Fashion Hound (@fayedelanty) on Salvos stylist De Lanty shows customers how to tweak second-hand garments to bring them up to date According to Salvos Stores CEO Neville Barrett, "Generally speaking donations are slightly up on previous years, by perhaps one or two per cent. The quality of donations, however, has reduced a lot." He explains that damaged cotton garments can be sold for industrial rags, "suitable garments can be on-sold internationally" by third parties (although the revenue generated is minimal) but "if it's not good enough for either of those outcomes, unfortunately we must send it to the tip.
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These days, it feels like there's a new fashion-inclined fitness line every other week — and as committed as we are to athleisure, sometimes the price tags attached to them can feel excessive for clothes that, technically, are meant to be sweat in. The latest retailer to open up shop might be familiar to our friends across the pond, but it's worth getting reacquainted with its affordable basics in honor of its big stateside debut. U.K.-based Gymshark , which just hosted its first U.S. pop-up shop in New York, has built quite the following in the five years its been in business — just ask the 1.3 million folks following the brand on Instagram . The company has come a long way since then-19-year-old Ben Francis started it as a print-screening business in his garage, back in 2012. Today, it's perhaps best known for its "Flex Leggings," which consistently sell out within minutes every time they're restocked. Part of its success is likely due to the balance it maintains between basic and trend-driven designs, but we're guessing one of its biggest draws is also the crazy-affordable price tag attached to them: No item, save for one water-proof puffer jacket, is priced above $50. While you can still spot Francis' origin story in a few of Gymshark's logo-heavy hoodies, the label has since evolved into a unisex gym wear destination, backed by athletes, artists, and visionaries alike — all united by an appreciation of quality clothing on a budget. The aesthetic is less streetwear-inclined than some of its competitors, offering a step back towards tried-and-true gym basics. Take one look at the collection ahead, and you'll see why we can't get enough.
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