June 23, 2007
A Matter of Quality
If your clothes are poorly made, and you don't know...does it matter?
This was the big question that I was thinking about the other day, while browsing Forever 21. That store really scares me, and is really a wonderful example of why I went to graduate school to theorize about fashion rather than choosing to become a fashion designer with my Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design!
The thing is that Forever21 is forever basing its designs on that of others, but doing it quickly and cheaply. So whenever I go there, I see cute things that are incredibly affordable. However, I can't help but notice the poor quality of the fabrics, especially the jerseys that are so vibrant in color. Some of the trims have a terrible hand (touch) and I can't stand raw edges or serged edging. It just looks cheap to me, however cute the design may be.
During my last visit, for example, I saw a really cute woven top for $25 that I would have happily purchased even though it was made of polyester and wouldn't survive a few rounds in my washing machine...but then I noticed the zipper. At a moderately price store such as J.Crew or Banana Republic there would be a neat little invisible zipper. Instead, that Forever21 top has a cheap plastic zipper in a color that doesn't quite match the fabric (in fashion school they teach us that zippers should be slightly darker rather than lighter than the garment fabric). Why? I kept thinking: Why doesn't Forever21 spend the extra 25 cents in the factory to get a nice zipper sewn in? Doesn't that increase the value of the garment?
And then it dawned on me, they don't make the little investments in value because it doesn't pay off - most if not all of their shoppers either can't tell the difference in construction methods or wouldn't care.
Which is too bad, because even at that price point, a few of us do care.