Que penser des soldes ?

What to think of the sales?

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Sales: the holy grail after Christmas. A blessed moment when the bank account is replenished by grandmother's checks and other vouchers from those who do not prefer to venture into anticipating the tastes of their favorite nephews. Twice a year, they are THE perfect time to “remake your wardrobe” and buy twice as much at the same price. But sales, by definition the act of selling at a discount, represent a real effort for brands operating as close as possible to demand – offering the fairest possible price for quality products – as is the case at Hast.

This is why we wanted to tell you their story, talk to you about their advantages and their abuses, and explain to you, in complete transparency, what pushes us to rethink their meaning.

Sales: a principle that makes sense

The principle of sales is French. It was invented in the 1830s by a fabric salesman named Simon Mannoury, seemingly coming straight out of a novel by Emile Zola. He is thinking of a revolutionary solution to sell his unsold items from past seasons at a lower price. The “great unpackings” are born. The goal ? Empty stocks to make room for the following collections. Since the 1990s, the rise of fast fashion and mass production have made this type of discount all the more necessary, which allows unsold items to be sold and destocked rather than destroyed.

The fashion industry is particularly prone to these seasonal promotions, as it has long operated on a principle of production, sale and destruction of remaining stocks.

Having sales means successfully selling products that are sometimes sadly doomed to destruction!

On the consumer side, the sales period is more than awaited. Yes, because it allows you to afford products that are normally unaffordable from certain brands. The sales are for many customers, a privileged moment of purchase, a way to save money on necessary goods or to afford that little cashmere sweater that is inaccessible without those saving 40%.

But fast fashion makes it dangerous

Selling less expensively is therefore, at first glance, a simple and effective solution for both consumers and brands. But then why are we talking about the “drift” of sales? In the 1990s, the textile industry began, under the influence of the giants of “fast fashion” (this fashion in constant search for new things), to produce ever more, and ever less expensively. As a result, brands have massive inventories of unsold clothing, ultimately produced for destruction. This search for ever greater and more profitable production is coupled with a significant drop in product quality. The textiles are synthetic or produced from poor quality fibers, and the clothes are made in factories with more than questionable pay and working conditions.

We are entering a race for the lowest price, to the detriment of the final quality of the product. An easy way to sell surplus production, sales become the symbol of an excessive production system.

On a psychological level, they also seem to push the consumer to purchase. Creating a sort of feeling of mental guilt: “Can I really let such a thing go? I'll wear it one day.."

Thus the sales seem, to a certain extent, to be part of this vicious circle of a fashion of constant novelty, of compulsive rather than reasoned purchasing. And beyond that, a decline in the general quality of the products offered on the markets, always displayed at higher prices to be sold at a discount.

Grandpa's immortal wool sweater finds itself swapped for a sad acrylic that pills at the first wash...

2021: the continuation of change

At Hast, we want to operate in reverse of this principle. Produce clothes using the best possible raw material ( wool is wool and not a nasty chemical substitute) and make them in hand-picked factories. This requirement makes the very principle of discounting almost impossible, because it would mean selling at a loss. And as we produce as closely as possible to demand, this is not consistent with our practices.

More and more brands seem to understand these crucial issues for our planet and for this fashion industry that we love so much. Because it is obviously not a question of making it disappear, but of rethinking it in depth to make it virtuous, innovative and qualitative. In our opinion, this involves questioning the principle of sales, and a return to the primary values ​​of this principle, allowing a brand to rebalance its stocks and finance its development healthily.

The anti-waste law recently passed by the government is a great step forward. It prohibits, by 2022, the destruction of unsold textiles. This law will itself call into question the principle of overproduction in fashion as in other industries and push companies to find new solutions.

A particular context

So sales are harmful when they justify this principle of overproduction and the general drop in quality of finished products sold at prices that no longer make sense. But they are sometimes a way for brands to breathe. The deep uncertainty of this period prevents brands from producing precisely, the closure of stores has created an accumulation of stocks. With the Covid crisis, we have decided to offer discounts.

Offering our customers a small reduction is therefore a way of thanking them for their loyalty, of allowing them to buy less expensively in this complicated year, and for Hast, a way of looking forward to the future (go read the interview with co-founder of Hast Samy Ziani on this subject ). Made within the framework of a fair and equitable production principle, they do not seem problematic to us.

Change is coming. 2020 will have been a crucial year full of challenges. 2021 will be, we hope, that of a more reasoned, more responsible and respectful fashion. In which one, who knows? The very principle of sales could find a new meaning..