Fashion as food?

The new chairman for trade at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), Rainer Trefelik, said today in an interview that he considers clothes as perishable goods (like food) due to consumers not being willing to buy things like shoes from the previous season.

The reason for this discussion is that thanks to the COVID-19 crisis many clothing stores had to stay closed and stock that they already had or that was currently in the delivery pipeline could not be sold either due to the storefronts being closed or customers simply not going outside that much and therefore not requiring the latest and greatest in fashion.

According to that article, companies can get some funding (“Fixkostenzuschuss”) for goods that they could not sell due to the crisis if they’ve lost 50% of their value. I guess this was originally intended primarily for food but due to the fashion industry and its eco-system being as it is right now, this kind of makes sense (🤪) for fashion items as well.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a report on this issue on national TV where a shoe producer showed the difference between last year’s model having one kind of yellow and this year’s model with a slightly different yellow. I’m pretty sure that I’m somehow sitting inside an ivory tower myself (called the tech-bubble) but this just sounds completely messed up to me; especially considering that both products should be functionally identical.

Can we please think about slowing that whole fashion cycle a bit down instead of redeclaring fashion as food? Last year’s model should definitely not be considered worthless (or < 50% in value) compared to this year’s.

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