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An Unsustainable Cycle of Cheap, Disposable Clothing

Ever wonder how online retailers like Temu and Shein can offer rock-bottom prices on clothes? A big part of it is a loophole called the “De Minimis” rule.

This policy lets shipments from other countries valued under $800 or less enter the US without duties or full customs checks (raised from $200 in 2015). The rule was originally passed by Congress in 1938 with a $5 limit and was meant for souvenirs. For comparison, today China’s version of the de minimis rule is 50 yuan, which is less than $8. (source)

The rule is now exploited by fast-fashion giants. They slip under the radar and avoid paying taxes. To help them reach rock-bottom prices, there are also legitimate concerns about forced labor.

This unfair advantage hurts American manufacturers; in fact, we are aware of at least four companies in our community that have gone out of business this year. Moreover, we fully understand that the overall impact of these ultra-fast fashion companies on the apparel industry is much greater.

Sobering Statistics of the Apparel Industry

  • The era of Fast Fashion, once defined by seasonal or quarterly styles, has now evolved into the era of Ultra-Fast Fashion, with new styles emerging every week—equivalent to 52 fashion seasons per year!
  • Shockingly, studies suggest that the average piece of clothing is worn merely seven times before meeting its premature demise in a landfill.
  • 98% of clothing worn in the USA is produced overseas.
  • Current statistics reveal a staggering reality: an incredible 30% of clothing manufactured never even reaches a consumer, destined instead for disposal through burning or dumped in colossal landfills.
  • And that number was calculated before the recent rise of ultra-fast fashion. The ominous question looms: What will this number escalate to, as the repercussions of these companies become fully apparent?

The Slow Fashion Solution

Slow fashion, on the other hand, prioritizes quality over quantity, encouraging ethically made, long-lasting clothes.

By understanding the de minimis loophole and supporting sustainable practices, we can make informed choices about the clothes we buy.

Let’s ditch the disposable mindset and embrace fashion that’s good for us and the planet.

Shop Slow Fashion: Supporting TS Designs and Solid State Clothing

Despite the competition from low-cost ultra-fast fashion, TS Designs will stay the course and continue on the path of sustainability, including creating for and contributing to the Slow Fashion model.

Please continue your support by ordering long-lasting, high-quality apparel in these times when the cheapest is not the best way to go.

    • Need shirts printed for your organization or an event? TS Designs has sustainable and circular options. Visit, pick one of our brands, and request pricing.
    • Don’t need printing? Add a meticulously crafted, locally grown and made t-shirt to your wardrobe with our retail brand Solid State Clothing.

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