Last week I bought myself a new clothing rail for the studio. It’s not much of an announcement, I know. I bought it from ebay. I already have two rails but I needed a third as stock expanded. They are 6ft high and 6ft long, I need the height because of lot of the dresses I make are for very tall ladies.
I wanted the same design as I’d had before. Industrial strength, fully adjustable, good strong wheels and brakes. I’ve had my previous two rails about 10 years and they have moved everywhere with me, been used at fashion shows, photoshoots etc. And they are still as good as new. They also carry a lot of weight. I might fit 50 or so garments on a rail.
The price has gone up since I last bought this design, and I suppose that’s no surprise. They used to be about £42 each. Now they are £62 each. I could have bought cheaper rails at £30 or £40 but they wouldn’t have lasted as long and I would probably have ended up buying another one again in a couple of years. So it would have ended up costing me more than just buying the £62 one in the first place.
What I’m trying to say, is that when you buy something cheap as a shortcut to saving money, it is a false economy. If you want something to use again and again (and that is how you should be investing your money), buying the cheaper version to save you a few pounds or dollars, but in the long run it will end up costing you more than if you had just put your hand in your pocket and bought the better version in the first place. It isn’t worth it.
This is how people used to buy their clothes. You would buy things because you wanted them to last, so you bought them well. Like a good suit. You might pay £900 for a basic hand tailored suit, but it’ll probably be the suit you’re buried in because, looked after well, it could last you your entire life. Long gone are the days when you bought a nice expensive coat that you would pull out every winter. I do this by the way. Long gone are the days where you bought a good quality pair of shoes that you had reheeled and resoled so you could keep on wearing them. I do this by the way.
The problem with fast fashion and the way fashion seasons now work is that the shops want you to buy a lot and often. It’s not just about changes in style (although there are far too many in my opinion), it’s about money. It is all about profit for brands at the expense of the environment, of the economy, at the expense of your hard earned wages. They encourage you by making things to a poorer quality because they want you to come back wanting to replace it, and they combine that with stocking new styles every month, sometimes every week, so that you think you have to keep up with the latest changes. You don’t, by the way. They get you hooked, they get you addicted.
If you want to stop the fast fashion model, you have to stop wanting to change your clothes all the time, investing in better quality and repairing where possible. You have to start thinking about shopping for longevity by picking styles that you can mix and match and don’t go out of fashion. How often have you bought something, then got rid of it, then in six months the same style is back in the shops and you find yourself buying it again. Now where is the logic in that?