The price of fashion
The price of shoes and of every fashion item is determined by many variables
The daughter of a dear friend of mine, who is my age, I mean, her daughter is my age, okay, it's a long story. In short, she ordered me to read this book “Over-dressed. The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion”.
I bought it, and I have not yet begun to read it, but I saw the first page opens with the description of a row of flip-flops at 7 euros each, composed by a layer of rubber plus a layer of paper, a thin layer of glue to hold together, and that’s it.
So, before going on reading the book, I wanted to say something.
Here in my store Valentina Calzature in Florence we have shoes ranging from 33 euros (a rubber slipper) to 300 euros (a tall leather boot). Our store is in the very centre of Florence, Italy, so we have people from all parts of the world and from all social extraction pass by us.
With the same shoe we have people tearing their hair for the high cost and others that instead widen their eyes in shock and ask why it is so cheap.
Furthermore, we are asked 200 times a day "is it leather"?
Our answer is almost always affirmative as we are specialized in leather footwear, excluding shoes such as Skechers which are mostly in fabric and similar materials.
I have said all this just to underline how the value of the shoes is all relative and often the questions we are asked are meaningless.
So, why the prices vary?
The price is determined by many factors: the quality of the material, the design, the stylistic investment, the capillarity of the distribution, the number of pieces produced, marketing strategies, the type of labor employed (both in terms of nationality and specialization technique), the detail of the crafting, the origin of the material, without considering our part: the management of Valentina shoe store, the staff, maintenance costs, etc.
In addition to the variables mentioned above, the leather too responds to many variables. There are many types of leather, type of animal, origin, treatment of the animal, the leather itself, type of chemicals involved, type of crafting. So the fact that the shoe is made with genuine "leather" is not in itself a guarantee or even a quality factor.
Please, keep all these variables in mind and then think to the fact that nobody gives you anything for free.
If something is "cheap", there must be a reason, there must be some economy (saving) made on some of the variables listed above. It may be the salary given to the craftsmen, or it may be the employment of cheap chemicals on the leather, or it may be the employment of not cruelty free leather, or many others.
So, be careful when you ask for something cheap, you can also get to pay less euros but you are giving away a part of the planet and you are worsening someone's living conditions.
Pay attention to what you ask, you could get it. But at what price!