this post was submitted on 11 Jul 2024
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Textile waste is an urgent global problem, with only 12 per cent recycled worldwide, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Even less - only 1 per cent - of castoff clothes are recycled into new garments; the majority is used for low value items like insulation or mattress stuffing.

Nowhere is the problem more pressing than in China, the world’s largest textile producer and consumer, where more than 26 million tons of clothes are thrown away every year year, according to government statistics. Most of it ends up in landfills.

And factories like this one are barely making a dent in a country whose clothing industry is dominated by fast fashion  - cheap clothes made from unrecyclable synthetics, not cotton. Produced from petrochemicals that contribute to climate change, air and water pollution, synthetics account for 70 per cent of domestic clothing sales in China.

China's footprint is worldwide: E-commerce juggernaut brands Shein and Temu make the country one of the world’s largest producers of cheap fashion, selling in more than 150 countries.

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[–] 18 points 4 days ago (1 children)

I hate these companies so much. Last year, we fostered an 11-year-old girl who was essentially raised by YouTube. She was obsessed with fast fashion, wanted to have the hair of the Asian influencers she watched (she's black with t 13 [I think] textured hair), and wanted all sorts of shit from Temu, Shein and AliExpress. It was so bad, she got annoyed at my ad blockers, as she had a fear of missing out of the "latest sales."

These companies, and the advertising itself, have made her obsessed with instant endorphin fixes, and the moment she gets a credit card, she will completely ruin her financial future with it.

[–] 4 points 4 days ago (1 children)

Are children in foster care allowed to spend their own money freely? Do they get an allowance (for you, or the government)?

[–] 7 points 4 days ago

We gave her an allowance at our own discretion, though I forbade Shein and Temu due to their tracking software.

Most of her addiction to shopping started before she was put in the foster system. Since no one wanted to raise her, she was often just handed a tablet and told to keep quiet.

To get to the core of your question, in just about every day to day occurrence, we were her parents and had the final say. The way to look at it is: we were essentially in a three parent partnership with the foster care program being the third parent that could veto us at any time, though they would only do so in the case of safety.

[–] 13 points 4 days ago

"There is no alternative."

- Margaret Thatcher, renowned dumbass

[–] 18 points 4 days ago (1 children)

Best one can do, apart from not buying from these websites in the first place, is buying used. My SO buys her clothes online from second-hand dealers where many fast fashion items find their way to where they can get another chance at being worn proper. Doesn't make the materials used more sustainable, but at least they're not thrown away immediately

[–] 8 points 4 days ago (1 children)

As a corollary: Don't buy into specific vintage fads like "branded 80's sportswear" -- there's a very limited quantity of these and there are fakes going around, that have none of the sustainability cred either.

[–] 2 points 4 days ago* (last edited 4 days ago) (1 children)

Fake Vingate Wear

Translated article - very insightful:

Vintag Scam

The coveted piece is produced in piecework: Pattern pieces made from signal red fabric lie ready on one of the work tables; behind them, a man rattles a sewing machine. The staccato of the needle creates a golden logo on the material.
He is one of many. The men sit in long rows, bent over their sewing machines. You can watch them at work on Tiktok: The factory is located in Sialkot, in the east of Pakistan, where fabric is measured, cut and sewn into hoodies, sweaters and jackets like an assembly line - including the showpiece: a signal red jacket with sponsor logos, like those worn by US Nascar racing drivers in the early 2000s.
In January 2022, a man from Germany is traveling to Pakistan: Daniel Bayen is just 21, a successful young entrepreneur from Krefeld who is making millions from the current vintage and second-hand hype.
Worn fashion is a trend - and a rapidly growing market: young, fashion-conscious people in particular sometimes pay as much for trendy finds from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s as they would for new brand-name clothing. Bayern's company Strike benefited from this. In just two years, he has opened stores in 16 locations, with online media describing him and his co-founders as the "shooting stars" of the vintage scene.

Fake vintage from Pakistan made to order?

In the city of Karachi, Bayen meets an employee of the company Mughal Brothers Vintage Wholesale, which distributes videos from the factory in Sialkot on Tiktok. This is evident from posts on Bayen's Instagram profile. What they discuss is not known, but evidence points to a lively business relationship.

When CORRECTIV confronted Bayen with the accusation of counterfeit goods, Bayen first switched his high-reach Instagram profile to private, then back to public and published part of the request as a story.

He wrote in an email about the trip that he had met various textile traders in Pakistan; Mughal had shown him the industry. His findings, "especially the 'vintage plagiarism'" were "great and sometimes frightening". CORRECTIV asked Bayen specifically whether he had sold his customers vintage counterfeits on a larger scale than genuine second-hand clothing. Bayen's answer sounds as if he is referring to the market's shortcomings - not his own business. The fact that there are counterfeits is nothing new, he writes. The real problem lies elsewhere. "Namely the fact that people spend 600 euros on a pair of trousers while others starve."

[–] 1 points 4 days ago* (last edited 4 days ago) (1 children)

In a chat with a potential new customer, the retailer in Pakistan provides insights into his business practices. CORRECTIV analyzed videos, photos, chats, invoices and other documents. The evidence points to inconsistencies and raises serious questions.

It appears that Bayen not only offered original vintage pieces in its stores, but also had fake vintage clothing manufactured in Pakistan and imported in containers. The brand led customers to believe that only genuine second-hand fashion was being sold in the stores.
Bayen admits to plagiarism, but denies intent. He either ordered counterfeits unintentionally, or to "train his staff" or "to always have garments ready for photo shoots or social media content."
CORRECTIV has bank transfer receipts from Bayen to Mughal Brothers Vintage Wholesale from the end of 2021 to summer 2023. He sometimes sends sums in the six-figure range to Pakistan.

The "coveted unique piece" is freshly embroidered
Mughal Brothers deals in new and worn clothing: As the company portrays it on Instagram, it orders bales of genuine second-hand goods from the US, which are transshipped to a warehouse in the city of Karachi.
In Sialkot, on the other hand, new goods are produced - including apparently counterfeit vintage items. One example: the bright red Nascar jacket with a striking logo of the US beer brand Budweiser. Online stores offer the original for over 250 euros. The "coveted unique piece" is freshly embroidered in the factory in Pakistan.
When asked by CORRECTIV, the company Mughal Brothers denied producing counterfeit goods: "We only deal with worn clothing and vintage fashion." But the email reads contradictorily, and there are also differences with Bayern's version. The Pakistani retailer confirms that he also supplied new goods to Bayen and other buyers, according to him on the initiative of the Strike founder: "After Daniel asked us for new clothes, many customers from Germany came and asked for new clothes," he writes. However, his company does not produce these textiles itself, but procures them from other local suppliers.

"I need this as soon as possible."
On the other hand, there are Tiktok clips and chat logs in which the trader claims to prospective buyers that the factory in Sialkot belongs to his company. When asked, he replies: The company only pretends to be a manufacturer for marketing purposes: "The videos or messages you refer to - it's all about making a good impression to our customers."
Mughal Brothers Vintage Wholesale then changed its company name on its Instagram profile. The company in Pakistan now appears there as "The Bull Company". On Tiktok, the account with the videos from Sialkot is suddenly no longer available.
Daniel Bayen describes the events differently to the Pakistani dealer. According to him, he told him that "if I ever needed anything, he would get it or make it." But many people in Pakistan had offered him that: "There it's make money or starve. Laws don't play such a big role there."

[–] 1 points 4 days ago* (last edited 4 days ago) (1 children)

Bayen admits to having ordered fake vintage
Mughal Brothers seems to supply what sells, including fake vintage goods on demand - a chat with a potential new customer from Germany that the retailer wants to win over supports this impression. The prospective customer sends photos of vintage sweaters with the Nike logo and asks: "Could you make these?"
The answer: "We've already done that", the German adds: "I know, for Strike." The Pakistani doesn't disagree. He later sends evidence, including a screenshot of an exchange of messages, as he claims, with Daniel Bayen, whom he has saved as "Germany Customer"; the latter writes: "I'm looking for more designs. I need this ASAP" - "Yes please bro, send me all the designs and let me know which ones should be screen printed." He sends photos of T-shirts stating, "All three screen printed."
To convince the new customer, the wholesaler sends screenshots of chats with another customer, which he says is Bayen.
Daniel Bayen admits to having ordered counterfeit goods. However, he claims that this was only to show his employees how to identify and sort out counterfeit goods. Or by mistake, as he hadn't noticed: "In any case, I acted negligently in some cases," he writes.

The Strike company stood for fashion with a credible history, sustainable consumption and cool street style. But now CORRECTIV's research has revealed that this was partly due to at least unintentional customer deception. Instead of unique finds and vintage rarities, the range also included new mass-produced goods from Asia. Bayen estimates the proportion of fakes on the second-hand market at 20 to 30 percent.
"Gold rush mood" on the vintage market
The Strike company has since gone bankrupt. But the story goes far beyond the individual case: the second-hand clothing business is booming. According to forecasts by auditing firm PwC, the market is set to grow from 3.5 billion euros in 2022 to five to six billion euros by 2025. In 2022, the industry magazine Textilwirtschaft spoke of a "gold-rush atmosphere" with regard to vintage online retail.
Vintage is practically the opposite of fast fashion and monotonous off-the-peg mainstream fashion: unique pieces from the day before yesterday, second-hand and therefore climate-friendly, in short: consumption without a guilty conscience.

[–] 1 points 4 days ago* (last edited 4 days ago) (1 children)

Bayen basked in this image in front of his thousands of followers on social networks: He repeatedly attacked the fast-fashion industry and the masses' desire for ever-new discount goods. "Every item of clothing we offer does not have to be produced from scratch," he wrote on one of his company websites. "In this way, we save valuable resources in production and break the vicious cycle of the fast fashion industry."
Sweaters and hoodies from Adidas and Nike are in demand
The growth of the market is being driven primarily by Generation Z's love of vintage. The only problem for the industry is that the growing demand is being met by a limited number of available pieces. Currently, most second-hand goods are from the 90s or early 2000s, says vintage expert Philip Rohde, and brands such as Adidas and Nike are particularly popular for sweaters and hoodies; sought-after items are sometimes hard to come by and come at a price: "You can expect prices ranging from 50 euros to 120 euros."
Rohde has been observing the industry for a long time.

But since around mid-2021, he has noticed that something is changing: He kept noticing that many new stores were advertising vintage knock-offs, he says: "They actively advertised with pieces that were fake because they could attract more customers that way."

Shortly before his company went out of business, Bayen even openly admitted in a clip on Instagram at the end of January that Strike was probably also selling counterfeit goods: He was therefore even, he said then himself, facing a court case for violating trademark law. The fact that counterfeits are found among his goods is unavoidable: When he buys second-hand in large quantities, he knows "that there will probably be counterfeits, and that is inevitable with second-hand clothing and has become even more so recently". He was therefore liable to prosecution simply by importing the goods.
The Krefeld district court confirms the proceedings and Bayen informs us that he has been convicted. It is clear from his email that he feels he has been treated unfairly: the problem is the market, not his company. "In the meantime, I have realized that I can be prosecuted for every container of used clothing," he writes: "Every time I import a used item of clothing that is counterfeit, I am committing a criminal offence."

For a number of years, business at Strike was excellent, and at times Bayen was considered one of the most successful retailers on the market - even during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the 19-year-old entrepreneur opened his first store in Krefeld. While retailers up and down the country are struggling with closures and social distancing regulations, customers are queuing in long lines at Strike's store openings, such as in Halle or Düsseldorf. According to his own figures, he currently has 92 employees and a turnover of 2.9 million euros.

[–] 1 points 4 days ago* (last edited 4 days ago)

Mystery boxes: "Looks like a lousy rip-off"
Bayen has also had great success with so-called mystery boxes. The buyer pays a certain price and receives randomly selected content. Well-known influencers, some with hundreds of thousands of followers, advertise the boxes.
However, some customers have noticed that the clothes look better on Instagram and Tiktok than in reality: "They advertise brand-name clothes and they are almost all no-name clothes and of absolutely poor quality," writes one user on Trustpilot: "Looks like a really bad rip-off to me."
The story of Strike is therefore also a social media story: Bayen's company mainly offered highly sought-after hoodies, tracksuits from the 80s and 90s, shirts from the NFL football league and sweaters with lettering from American universities. The entrepreneur used social media to bring his goods to the people; he used influencers, advertising posts and marketing campaigns to promote "well-chosen pieces", as he himself called it in an interview.

Second hand, brand new and made in Pakistan
Mughal Brothers was also happy to show what it has to offer online: The retailer wants to market its range with videos from the factory in Sialkot. This provides a deep insight into their business - and that of Strike: until a few days ago, you could see loads of textiles that looked like vintage on Mughal Brothers' Instagram page. At the same time, Tiktok clips showed the workers in the factory making clothes with a vintage look - "second hand" made in Pakistan.
When asked by CORRECTIV, the retailer said that Mughal Brothers does not produce new goods and does not counterfeit branded clothing. When confronted with the photos of the counterfeits from his company's social media profiles, he writes: If such items were ordered, he would get them. He blames the buyers: "Daniel Bayen was the first person to ask us for new clothes," he says: "It was entirely his idea." He then had the idea to sell these products to others: "Everyone wants to do more business."

Bayen presents it more as if it was the Pakistani who was offering fake goods. In the chat with his potential new customer, the retailer appears to be very proactive in promoting the goods: he sends videos via direct message showing vintage clothing, brand new and made in Sialkot. "As for making new goods, I've already sent you proof that we do this for our customers," he writes.
The German interested party asks further: "Can we see the new stuff? Like the stuff from Strike?" - "Okay I have some in stock for Strike," but not much more, just "around 500 pieces" He gives examples: "Nike skinny jacket, Adidas jacket, t-shirts, also some sweatshirts." But these have to be "vintage". - "These are all vintage designs. Strike doesn't make anything that isn't vintage. I sent you the pictures above."

The company Mughal Brothers Vintage openly admits to producing "vintage fashion" itself in factories, apparently also for Strike.
Dozens of pieces in this look can be found on Strike's Instagram channels. The signal red Nascar jacket is also increasingly appearing on social media channels. CORRECTIV sent expert Philip Rohde pictures of the jacket from Mughal Brothers' Tiktok account and the Strike channels: "It is immediately noticeable that the sponsor logos on the jacket are not so meticulously embroidered. The spacing and proportions aren't as good either," he says. In addition, he has never seen the arrangement of logos shown in the original like this before.

"Fuck fast fashion"
A number of items also appear on the Strike channels that look very similar to the apparently fake branded sweaters from the videos by wholesaler Mughal - some of them in colors that were probably never actually on sale.
Even logo sweaters with Strike lettering can be identified in the clips from the factory in Pakistan. At the time, Strike claimed that its own employees embroidered second-hand sweaters themselves. On other items, Strike added a slogan to his company name: "Fuck Fast Fashion".
Bayen writes: "He actually had sweaters embroidered in Pakistan. For other collections, Strike embroidered used sweaters himself.
What the retailer is offering the prospective buyer here is called "undervaluation" in technical jargon, constitutes customs fraud and is punishable by law.
As the chat transcript shows, Mughal Brothers doesn't seem to be shy about offering fake vintage. And that's not all. If what he writes is true, customs fraud could also be part of his company's service: In a message to the prospective buyer, he candidly reveals, "We have a different route that we use for other customers. Customers buy new and old goods. We mix them well and declare them as used clothing." With this method, the shipping fees are not as high.

Customs fraud causes billions in damage
What the retailer describes so succinctly is called "undervaluation" in technical jargon - and it is a criminal offense. Fraudsters use false documents to trick customs authorities into believing that the value of goods in containers is lower so that they have to pay less customs duty.
This works so well because customs cannot keep up with inspections - and the member states apparently look the other way, as CORRECTIV researched last year. In July 2023, the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) estimated the damage in the cases it was currently investigating to be at least one billion euros.
When asked by CORRECTIV, the trader in Pakistan again referred to his customers: His company follows the instructions of the buyers when shipping; it is their responsibility "to know the laws of their country."
Bayen, however, writes of a common practice: "Every wholesaler of second-hand goods that I have had the pleasure of getting to know better avoids import VAT and most likely imports counterfeit goods." He bought one large and two small containers from Mughal Brothers.

Former Strike stores are now closed

On January 18, 2024, insolvency proceedings were opened for Strike at the Krefeld district court. Bayen now posts photos on Instagram showing him in Thailand. On another account, under the username, he posts videos of himself ice swimming and gives nutrition and workout tips. He says in one clip that his company failed because of the taxes and bureaucracy in Germany. The Strike stores, including one in Berlin's Ringcenter, are now closed. You can see through the shop windows that the racks inside are still full of shirts, jackets and sweaters.

The company Mughal Brothers Vintage Wholesale, now under its new name, continues to post photos and videos from its warehouses on Instagram, shots of ever new, huge mountains of clothing, globally marketed goods sorted, packed and piled onto trucks by men with tired eyes. The boom in vintage fashion continues.

Translated with (free version)

[–] 3 points 4 days ago (1 children)

Remember the 3 Rs: Reduse, Reuse, and Recycle. Mend your clothes when you can

[–] 5 points 4 days ago (1 children)

I really wish tailoring clothing was easier/more accessible. A lot of my clothes get thrown out when they stop fitting well in certain spots (especially the groin) or when they get small holes.

But why would I spend as much to repair that pair of kind of worn down pants as it would cost to buy a new one?

[–] 3 points 4 days ago

This is why sewing should be taught at schools