So lately I have been following the fabulously interesting Elizabeth Cline after the release of her new book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. I love her philosophy (all backed by facts) of buying fewer, better made garments.
Let me share a few of the facts about American clothes consumption (all courtesy of Elizabeth)
- Clothing was once entirely handsewn and custom made, either in the home or by a dressmaker or tailor.
- When the garment industry moved offshore in the 1980s and 1990s true mass-manufactured clothing as we understand it today occurred, with single styles produced in the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of pieces
- In 1902, a ready-made knockoff of a French dress started at $25 ($621.50 in today’s dollars) at Marshall Field’s. This meant that the average American woman owned an average of nine outfits.
- Today ready made clothing can be purchased for less than $5, and the average American buys over 60 pieces of new clothing per year.
- We now only make 3% of our apparel in the United States, down from 90% in 1955
- Only a shocking 15 to 20 percent of clothing donations are resold in U.S. thrift shops, and Americans only keep 21 percent of the clothing we buy each year.
- Which all adds up to the horrifying fact that textiles account for over five percent of municipal solid waste.
What is a fashion concious person to do?
Elizabeth advises “if consumers would commit to buying less and investing in fewer pieces that we truly love, we’d have wardrobes that were far more flattering and fullfilling.” The fashion industry has us all conviced that we can’t afford more expensive well-made clothes but how many of those cheap trendy garments sit in a closet unworn?
One way to escape from your cheap stuffed closet is to have a garment custom made! Maybe you have a favorite pair of slacks that are falling apart or a dress that fits but the fabric is cheap, I can fashion new clothing using an existing garment, a pattern, or an idea! And because I care about every item I make, it will be beautiful, long-lasting, and the perfect fit.
Don’t spend more on your clothes, just spend better! Save that money from all those Target shopping sprees and buy something that will be worth wearing for years to come!