Elizabeth Cline Discusses the Fast World of Fast Fashion (NPR All Things Considered)

NPR All Things Considered interviewed Elizabeth Cline about her experience of falling into the fast world of fast fashion.

When she got out of college and moved to New York, Elizabeth liked to shop at vintage clothing stores. They were the kinds of places tucked away on side streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where a lot of hunting and a little luck might reward you with a great, inexpensive cocktail dress that no one else had. Then she discovered the world of “fast fashion” — chains like Forever 21, H&M and Zara — and it redefined her whole notion of bargain shopping.

Some highlights from the interview:

“A store like H&M produces hundreds of millions of garments per year,” Cline says. “They put a small markup on the clothes and earn their profit out of selling an ocean of clothing.”

“The design is pretty attractive. And if you walk into the store, I think, for a lot of consumers, it’s virtually impossible to walk out empty-handed.”

Sales at H&M’s parent company rose by 11 percent in 2012. Its chairman and largest shareholder, Stefan Persson, is the 17th richest person on the planet, with a net worth of $26.3 billion, according to Bloomberg. Amancio Ortega, founder of Zara, another highly successful chain, is the third richest, worth $58.3 billion.