Why Cheap Fashion Is Costing Us so Much

The supposed luxury of cheap fashion becomes less glamorous when you realize you've been dressed in rags by a corporate business model that emphasizes quantity over quality.

What's the Latest Development?


If you've ever bought outfits from retailers like H&M or Zara, you know that when the cheap stitching begins to fall apart, so too does the supposed luxury of inexpensive fashion. Our obsession with looking good for less constitutes one branch of the American consumerist tree, says Elizabeth Kline, whose book "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" describes the consequences of our growing "fast-fashion habit, starting with the sheer waste resulting from cast-off clothing." Kline's primary criticism is that the sheer volume of (low-quality) clothing being produced is simply unsustainable. 

What's the Big Idea?

Just by looking at clothing made in the 1980s, the era's fashions aside, you'll notice a wide difference in the quality of the clothing, says Kline. As a solution to the corporate fashion model, which is actually dressing us in rags, she recommends clothing enthusiasts buy a sewing machine. Even if you use it poorly, it will teach you to think about clothing in a more sustainable way. Her final piece of advice is to: "Take care of the things that you own. Buy less. And support local independent designers and retailers when you can. I think that the clothing industry in America was at its best when it was smaller and independently owned."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Plants have awareness and intelligence, argue scientists

Research in plant neurobiology shows that plants have senses, intelligence and emotions.

Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • The field of plant neurobiology studies the complex behavior of plants.
  • Plants were found to have 15-20 senses, including many like humans.
  • Some argue that plants may have awareness and intelligence, while detractors persist.
Keep reading Show less

Human extinction! Don't panic; think about it like a philosopher.

Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.

Shutterstock
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
  • The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Keep reading Show less

Space is dead: A challenge to the standard model of quantum mechanics

Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.

Videos
  • Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
  • In nature, properties of Particle B may depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
  • In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.
Keep reading Show less