It is a question that makes me think almost more than any other. I expect it, even though I am trying to be a more ethical shopper. Everybody I know expects it or at least say they can’t afford to buy anything more expensive than the regular high street items. I did research into this topic and I’ve read books on it and it still baffles me, but I’ve found few points that seem to pop up with most people. I know that this is a generalisation and you might not expect fashion to be cheap or you expect it for a different reason, but I hope it might make you think about it anyway.
Used To It
We are used to buying cheap fashion. We are not used to fashion lasting us long neither in quality or style preference, and we are not prepared to pay more money for something that isn’t lasting.
We Want To Get Money’s Worth
We want to get as much for our money every month and do not see fashion as an investment piece. Unfortunately, I see this problem with many other things in life as well. Fashion used to be an investment, or rather not disposable. Garments used to cost a lot of money and people took care of their garments so they would last. Now we want new clothes for different social occasions, we want to eat and party out, we want to go to the movies and possibly buy a present for somebody. Instead of saving to buy a garment that will last years, we buy the one that was suitable enough with a great price for this month.
It is the standard we expect
It is the standardised price. I am not saying it is the standard, but rather we all have in our minds a price that we are not willing to go over in each item. With technology we expect a higher price than with fashion, nevertheless, it costing just a fragment of the selling price for the company to produce. But technology is not quite as disposable as fashion is. We do not realise that we are not paying for the item to last, but rather support the unsustainable practice of sweatshop labour and profit for the high street brands.
When we pay “extra” price for any item we expect it to offer more for us; either a perfect fit or a superior quality. For people to use more money on fashion (or anything else) we require more value.
In today’s world, we are not used to people making clothes themselves. We are at awe if somebody can make a garment themselves, although there was a time when women were expected to know how to make garments, or we do not believe they can make the garments well. Today we don’t see those who make the garments, we can just expect them to be in the stores. Today consumers expect that shops will answer their every need and want in an instant and those shops that do will succeed. Media from fashion magazines to blockbuster movies makes us want the image and the lifestyle of those incredible women with their incredible bodies and beautiful fashion items. Department stores and high-street fashion houses offer us the fashion items for cheap to achieve the feeling of that lifestyle and our peers offer us the agreeable response when we buy new stuff all the time.
What Value Does Fashion Bring?
The value fashion brings to one’s life is fleeting. It is the experience and thrill of finding a new item that fits into the person’s lifestyle at a bargain price. Once home, if the fashion item is still favourable, it is the experience of flaunting the fashion item in front of friends and family and getting those few compliments. It is the feeling of being trendy and wearing the image of yourself that you are dreaming of. And in most cases that is it. The garment will be forgotten when new ones arrive. It is rare when I hear people talking excitedly about a fashion item that they’ve had for months (or years) unless it is an expensive designer bag/shoes. It is rare for people to have staple pieces of fashion in their wardrobes that they feel good for more than a couple wears.
I’ve heard many people say that they can’t afford to spend £/$100 on a pair of jeans and quite frankly neither can I, but then again I can spend £40 on a pair of jeans once a year or spend more on a pair that is good quality with proper durable fiber and it might last me a lifetime. I am no longer happy to pay for high street retailers profits without getting much in return. I do see that the standard price of fashion is not at a correct point because I know what goes into really making fashion and it can’t be achieved with as low a price as the high street. For me, quality and ethics are a value when I buy fashion and when I buy it I do expect it to last me long if it doesn’t I know to question the brand that sold it to me.
Pictures are from this Pinterest board.
Why do you expect fashion to be cheap and what are you paying for then?