Most production of clothing manufacturing is off shore. China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Cambodia are all producing Fast Fashion cheaply. The wages paid to garment workers in foreign countries is very low. Actually China is raising their wage structure and many customers are moving to cheaper countries for their manufacturing.
So much of Fast Fashion is really almost disposable fashion. Made to last one seasonal trend or just a few wearings. The fabric is thin, the craftsmanship is shoddy, and the fit is hit or miss. Many factories off shore have to produce so many pieces so quickly that quality control is almost nonexistent. By the time you want to get rid of the garment it is not even worthy for the Charity shop.
Stores like Forever21, H&M, and Zara copy fashion designers looks and cheaply make copies. Designers are making styles for Kohl’s, and Target. So what’s the big deal? In the US, our consumerism to have the latest trend at a cheap price has just about bankrupt the US fashion industry, almost made a skill and trade obsolete and has even negatively impacted Thrift and Charity stores.
So what does this all mean to you? When you are shopping ask yourself a few questions:
What is the fabric? Can I see through it?
If I pull at the seams will they come apart?
Where is the garment made?
Is this a style that fits well?
Is this a one-season wonder?
Could more money be spent for a better-made item that will last longer?
Could a similar garment made in the USA be bought?
In my company, www.haraleee.com, I knew when we started we would have our production done in the USA. I heard too many horror stories about off shore manufacturers loosing inventory to sizing mistakes, or switching to inferior fabric. Even big designers like Karen Kane have moved much of their production back to the States because of quality control issues.
Then of course there is the issue of sweatshops and low-low wages. I could not run a company where my product was produced under those conditions. The manufacturing company I use pays their employees a living wage with benefits. They call me if there is a question on a design style or if they notice a flaw in the fabric. My production costs are easily 10 times more than they would be off shore but we are a company with values. I want my customers to feel good about their purchase and to use their buying power to promote clothing made in the USA!
Are you having a difficult time finding quality made clothes, or clothes made in the USA?