If there's one guaranteed result to come out of this unpredictable recession, it woud be its equally unpredictable effect on costs and pricing, especially with regards to the fashion industry. While the costs of certain materials have skyrocketed, others have plummeted. In the midst of rampant sales and discounts, Chanel's iconic handbags underwent a 20-percent price hike this summer. And while the New York Post recently reported that consumers can expect to pay more for their apparel due to rising labor costs, H&M is selling dresses for as little as $4.95.
It's fast-fashion at fast-food prices, and according to the retailer, this is just the start. The glee-inducing dress couldn't be more on-trend, but still, there's something a little unsettling about merely handing over a $5 bill for it. Not one to fall hard for such gimmicks either, fashion journalist and critic Lynn Yaeger placed a call to Jennifer Uglialoro, H&M's PR director for Vogue.com. According to Uglialoro, this season the cost-conscious retailer is taking its focus even further, yielding more lower-priced garments than ever, including trench coats priced as low as $20.
Of course the question of sourcing and production labor remains an unignorable one. On the H&M website, however, the company states that while it doesn't own any of the factories or workshops from which its clothes are produced, it does "demand – and check – that everyone receives the pay and overtime remuneration to which they are legally entitled."
So while you can breathe a little more easily knowing that coprorate responsibility is being exercized, the quality of these garments may still account for such beguilingly low prices. For $4.95, you can find out for yourself.