Is Today’s Fashion Really Worth its Price?
The world of fashion brands play a key role in the type of image we wish to portray to the outside world, but it may have its costs, today now more than ever.
Lets put it this way, “In 13 years, the price of a Hermès Kelly bag has gone up to over 63% in ten years, Carrie Bradshaw’s famous Manolos have risen from $485 to $755”, in less than two years Acne’s sheep skin jacket ( that I’ve been closely having my eye on), increased to over 30 % where the average cost of luxury goods has risen over 60 % in a decade (According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics).
But why is this luxury fashion inflation happening?
Some state that the rising costs are due to the use of rare animal skins, increasing costs of rising labor and raw materials, while other say that rising prices have a positive impact on the appeal of the goods giving it a higher exclusivity to the happy few making it more desirable.
Nevertheless, premium and luxury goods are now much more expensive than before and this may be due to the repercussion of the demand verses supply effect; middle class and HNWI’s are increasing more than ever before where they are willing to spend more on scarcer rarer luxury goods. In addition, with social media and e-commerce, luxury goods have never been this easily accessible.Living in a fast paced 4G world, ready to wear is also starting to step up its game and now even arguably competing with haute couture pieces in response to the strong demand for both emerging and established designers to have their most complex- sought after pieces sold, creating high end ready to wear (aka demi couture) going from hefty price tags of 4-5 digit numbers. For these designers it’s an efficient way to circumvent the strict rules / guidelines set by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture; for example, the code dictates the minimum number of employees in an atelier (20) and the minimum number of looks in a show (25), and requires that garments must be hand-sewn and made to clients’ measurements and it’s only the beginning.
However, on the other hand, Fashion designers and luxury brands once handmade each of their pieces but with the growth of the affluent population, technology and the rising economy, this method has become inefficient in order to please the consumer demands, stakeholders and investors for a strong margin. Luxury brands have now also turned to mass communication channels through mass media. Fashion brands can now be known through extensive marketing, not only by their quality, but extensive brand image. Moreover the “Made in” dilemma is also quite confusing, the distinction between the real ‘Made in’ has become blurred thus requisitioning the value for fashions high prices as a consequence. For example, if you have the handle of the handbag coming from South America, and the leather panels coming from India, and another part imported from another country, and assemble all those pieces together in Italy, then this becomes a legally allowable “Made in Italy” handbag, which for me can be deceptive for the consumer.
In addition, the democratization of fashion through online retailers have also allowed high fashion five-figure dresses to women everywhere around the world where consumers are seeking for more unique special and semi customized products.
So what is the real value of today’s fashion, is it buying over 5000 $ worth of “Made in Italy” stated cocktail dresses or the iconic red soul shoes you were dying to have that is almost worth ones one month salary?
A woman of style is not defined by the many expensive items that she has in her closet. It’s as simple as having an eye for what is flattering, without necessarily paying a fortune for it. However, there’s really nothing wrong with indulging on several fashion items and “key” investment pieces if you can proportionally afford them while paying the bills, however the real value of inflated fashion prices becomes more and more questionable everyday.
What do you think?
This artcile as been created for Modern Lady (优家画报) print China