Why are people willing to spend $100 on a T-shirt vs. $10?
It’s a tale as old as time (well, as old as fast fashion). It seems that creativity is not nearly celebrated as much as brand names are, and where true quality is a very misunderstood topic today. But with the fashion industries practices kept quiet, how are consumers supposed to know which product is worthwhile and which you’re paying premium prices for a merely printed logo.
We can delve into this topic on a much deeper level, discussing why people choose to conform and wear products where the price paid is more obvious, as a status symbol. However, for this post we'll stick to information to assist you in better making your next clothing purchase.
Supreme printed dollar tee3.Paradis $100 dollar tee
The term quality over quantity never rang truer. Did you know 3 out of 4 garments end up in our landfills? Regardless, the first thing to look at when making any kind of purchase is the overall quality. In some cases this is hard to define. When it comes to clothing however - look at the stitching. Is it straight? Are there threads hanging out? Do the closures (buttons, zippers, snaps) work well and seamlessly. You also want to look at the ‘hand’. This is a term that speaks to the feel of the fabric. Does the fabric have a nice hand? Is it soft? What is the fabric made from? Generally high quality natural fabrics are expensive. They also allow the body to breath more naturally, and create less emissions during their production process. Not only will your skin thank you for choosing natural fibres, but the environment will as well. Next review any embellishments, prints, or appliqués. Do they seem to be attached properly? Will they stay adhered to the clothing over time? Are they plastic-like and cheap looking? This is a more difficult avenue to look at. However, after some practice & effort, you will be able to identify good-quality over poor in no time.
Cheap Clothing Isn’t Really Cheap
It may be tempting to buy that $40 dollar Zara dress, or that $20 trench coat from H&M, but the quality will speak for itself over the long haul. The item was created for the short term, and will last as such and therefore, will have you repurchasing in the end, adding to the never-ending cycle. When purchasing an item made by a Fast Fashion retailers, remember to ask yourself these questions:
Do I really need this?
Am I purchasing this impulsively?
Will this only end up in the garbage, further contributing to the contamination of our planet?
How was this product made so cheap?
If it’s Made in China and was shipped all the way to the destination where I’ve purchased it, how much were the people making it paid?
Is it made out of bad quality fabrics which have released carbon-monoxide, or other harmful chemicals into the atmosphere?
This is something rarely looked at but very important. It speaks to the production of the item, and can also hint to the conditions the person who made it in.
Warning: Just because a label is marked Made in France, doesn't mean the product itself was completely Made in France. There is a way around that brands and companies use where the product is produced in another country (perhaps third world, in poor conditions), and assembled in the country which it then uses on its 'Made in..' label. This is surprisingly true within the luxury sector.
That is why demanding more transparency from brands is paramount, and/or choosing a retailer you trust to do this homework for you. As an example, Secret Location spends many hours diligently trying to ensure that our brands are all produced in a responsible and ethical manner. By speaking to brand reps & owners, as well as reviewing third party factory audits.Try to do own your research and choose items which you feel the most confident.
Is it the Brand or the Product
Finally, are you choosing a product based on the name on the tag or printed on the front of the shirt? Does the quality justify the price? Or are you paying for their marketing and PR?
Instead, try thrifting or vintage shopping. There are some beautiful things hiding out there. Or go out and discover something new. Find and choose a product that you know you’ll love for at least more than a month. That it will keep its shape and maybe last a lifetime.