Clothing prices have been dropping for the past decade, but it looks like the days of $9 Forever 21 tank tops and $6 bags of tube socks are coming to an end. According to the Associated Press, the cost of labor and raw materials is on the rise, and retailers and manufacturers are out of cost-cutting ideas.
In the next few months clothing prices are expected to rise about 10%, and things will only get worse by the end of the year. Other anticipated changes include fewer color choices, more synthetic blends, and jeans with fewer beads and embellishments (okay, that one actually doesn't sound so bad).
Part of the problem is that cotton has more than doubled in price in the last year, surpassing the $1.89 per pound record set during the Civil War. Bad weather in major cotton-producing countries like China, the U.S., Pakistan, and Australia hurt harvests, and the subsequent demand for cotton alternatives and blends has caused the price of other fabrics to skyrocket as well.
There is a silver lining for some workers. Many Chinese factories are being forced to pay employees higher wages due to labor shortages, but most Americans probably won't be thinking about the plight of our friends overseas when the cost of Levis shoots up $10.
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