Good quality clothes last longer, making you less likely to impulse buy or purchase the same thing later. You’ll be more inclined to mix and match, which will also make you better at putting looks together. The environment benefits and so do the brands you buy from, and furthermore, the factories they employ and the people working within them.
Quality clothes are more comfortable because they serve their intended purposes like protection against cold or heat. Moreover, you can repair high quality items which are often made of natural fibers at home, or at a local tailor, but synthetic materials, often used in cheaper garments require more sophisticated fixes.
Cost of a Garment
In making a garment, costs such as raw materials, labour, transport, storage, banking charges and commissions must be considered.
Fabric accounts for most of the cost of a garment. Other materials used to make up a garment include threads, buttons, zippers, labels, elastics, etc, collectively known as trims.
The labour involved also relates to a garment’s direct cost. Here, design is an important factor. Simple designs are easier to pattern-cut and produce, while more technical or complicated designs require not only technical ability but good craftsmanship. Special processes like embroidery, printing, washing, and appliqué may also be required. The costs associated with these are usually contracted operations.
Factor in the labour cost of tailors, cutters, and other in house professionals in the cost of making. Following that is quality control, packaging, transportation and storage. Finally, the brand adds their profit as a markup on the garment price. This may include commissions to agents and distributors.
Great design and high quality come at a price. Sustainability too, whether it is using organic or novel fabrics or working with local communities in rural areas. But, if we make ethical clothing the norm, the market in turn will reward us by making the raw materials cheaper and easier to procure, which eventually makes it affordable to all.
Buying cheap clothing, you may save a little now, but you buy more, and the environment suffers. Moreover, someone somewhere in the chain has to pay the price for this choice. At the other end of the spectrum, the people who work in the factories bear the cost.
Cost Per Wear
Cost per wear is an interesting concept to consider while shopping. It places value based on how much you can or will wear a garment. To calculate Cost per Wear (CPW), divide an item’s price by the number of times you wear it.
CPW = Total cost of the item / Number of times you’ll wear it
If you wear a £150 shirt 60 times over a couple of years, the cost per wear would be £2.50. A £30 shirt on the other hand, will fade sooner, after say five wears the CPW is £6. Before you know it, you find yourself buying another £30 shirt you’ll only wear five times.
Cost per wear isn’t so much mathematical as it is a mindset of buying less but more significant things. You’ll love and enjoy the things you own more than the prospect of getting something dispensable. And if you ever decide to part ways with a quality piece, you can get some of your initial investment back.
Transparency in Fashion
Transparency in fashion requires companies to know and share who makes their clothes and under what conditions. It is a movement to hold brands accountable for the human rights and environmental impacts of their practices.
Consumers can encourage transparency by selecting brands that disclose where, how and by whom their products are made. This in itself helps to prevent labour abuses and makes it possible to hold those accountable whenever it occurs.
To find out whether a brand is ethical, look out for its ethics code and information of its supply chain on its website. Or email them to find out. Ethical fashion brands practice corporate social responsibility, choosing to use their power to make positive change around them.
At U Mi-1 we are committed to producing great designs from high-quality fabrics with impeccable detailing. We want people to buy less, but better quality. Our creative director inspects the factories that produce our items to assure that the final products are of high quality. We believe customers have a vital role in the prevailing fashion industry practices by the brands they patronize.
By choosing U.Mi-1, you not only invest in high-quality products but you also support indigenous Nigerian artisans who make some of our fabrics, like our Aso-Oke and Adire from our Mood Indigo collection. We are proud to work with local communities as it contributes to the sustainability of century-old traditions.
In conclusion, an ethical fashion industry positively impacts the lives of everyone involved in it. The wearer will have a long-lasting, dynamic and comfortable piece of clothing. In addition, the makers will be proud of a quality product and fairness in dealing with people and the environment.
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