Why Buy Expensive Designer Clothes?

Q: Why buy expensive/designer clothes?

I am saratorially-inclined, but when people ask why I buy $200+ jeans or $100+ sweaters I don’t quite know what to say. I’m looking for someone more eloquent myself to give me a good counter-argument.

A: Best Answer:

Merin Guthrie

Merin Guthrie, CEO of a women’s clothing start-up; expert in fit. www.kitmade.co

Honestly, it totally depends. There are two major things to consider: the material and the construction.

Here’s an example:

Prada makes nylon handbags that sell for $900+. They have fairly average construction (mainly in a developing country with some finishing done in Italy) and nylon costs, give or take, about $1 a meter. Let’s say Prada has some leather detailing on top of the nylon. Max, they probably spend $5 on the fabric. It takes a couple of hours to cut and sew a handbag, most of which is done by extremely low-wage workers. Then, there is often a “finisher” in Italy who sews a couple of pieces together, which allows them to use a “Made in Italy” appellation. Let’s give them a generous $35 to construct the handbag. As a point of reference, that’s about what my company could pay to make a comparable bag in America. Total Cost to Make: $40. Cost to Consumer: $995

A similar handbag from Hermes might be made of leather or an exotic animal skin, in France, and cost over twice as much. However, their construction is guaranteed to last forever and they will fix any flaws or breakage free of charge well into the future. All of this means that you are getting a better product that is built to last longer. Even so, you’re still looking at paying a markup of well over 10 times the cost to produce the bag.

Any time you are paying over $500 for a piece of clothing or a handbag that isn’t made of some extraordinary material (like some crazy hand painted silk), you’re probably paying a huge mark-up and its very likely not worth it.

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