When it comes to fashion, consumers generally fall into one of two groups. They either spend exorbitant amounts of money on clothes or as little as possible. Most of us fall into the latter category, shopping between the countless fast-fashion chains that offer stylish garments at lower and lower price points.
Consumers have become conditioned to think that clothing should come as cheaply as possible, and the fast-fashion world is plagued with quality and ethics issues that remain an industry-wide problem. Now ethics are important, but let’s focus on quality for a minute. More specifically, why it seems to be increasingly absent from our clothing.
The answer is simple – you get what you pay for. Consider a pair of fast-fashion jeans. First, the material needs to be grown and processed. Then, it gets shipped elsewhere to be dyed. The dyed fabric is then sent to a factory worker who puts it together before the jeans are shipped to a warehouse or retailer.
That’s not even including the money the company spends on marketing or the cut taken by employees and their superiors. All that, for your pair of jeans to be sold for £20? Of course, corners are being cut, whether it’s by using low-grade materials, forcing impossible quotas on the workers or simply not paying them enough.
In any case, it leads to a poorly-made product that just won’t last. If that alone doesn’t dissuade you from supporting the fast-fashion industry, here are a few more reasons why quality clothing is worth investing in.
Sure, quality comes at a price. But if you pay the higher up-front cost for something that’s guaranteed to last, that item will inevitably save you money. Consider the cost per wear formula, which equates to the price of the item divided by how many times you’ll wear it.
Let’s say you bought a jacket for £30. Over the next year, you wore it 150 times before the stitching came loose and made the piece unwearable. That means the jacket cost you 20 cents per wear. Now, let’s say you invested £100 in a high-quality jacket and wore it 750 times over the next five years. That rounds up to just 14 cents per wear.
At the same time, the £100 jacket will probably look and fit much better than its fast-fashion alternative. You also won’t have to go through the effort of shopping for a new one as often, if ever at all.
The cheaper the garment, the less hesitant you’ll be to pull the trigger. This is especially true for heavily-discounted pieces that make you think you’re saving money instead of spending it. Shopping for cheap clothing leads to impulse buying, which can quickly fill your wardrobe with pieces you’ll probably never wear again.
On the other hand, if you approach your clothing as investments, you’ll naturally take more time to consider each purchase. It’s a great way to practise mindfulness and become a more conscious consumer, as well as being another way to save money.
Some brands offer a lifetime warranty on their clothing, such as the North Face and Patagonia. While specifics may vary, this usually means you can return the garment if a row of stitching tears or a zipper fails to zip. This further offsets the cost of buying the piece, as you’ll be able to get it back into working order in the rare event that something goes wrong.
Fast fashion and ethics are hardly synonymous, especially when it comes to who makes the clothing. By investing in high-quality fashion, you’re supporting traditional workmanship and ethical production. Take the European brand, EDWIN. Their men’s skinny jeans and a range of other denim products that they offer are made in Japan.
This not only means you’re getting top-notch denim, but you’re also putting your money towards a company that cares for its workers. You can view the collection here to learn more about what they offer. In fact, the brand is a great example of what a worthwhile investment in high-quality garments looks like.
Whether it’s due to evolving trends, changes in sizes or interest in new styles, some items in your wardrobe may reach a stage where they no longer work for you. Thanks to websites like eBay, Depop, StockX and Poshmark, you can quickly and easily sell your unwanted garments.
It should come as no surprise that the high-quality pieces in your wardrobe will sell for a much higher price than any fast-fashion merchandise, especially if they’re from a reputable brand. They’ll also sell faster, thus saving you from the hassle of reposting the listing and negotiating prices.
There’s no denying that buying quality clothing takes time, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget. But it can be done, and the benefits that come with taking this approach to fashion makes it a most worthwhile endeavour.