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Are Designer Clothes Worth the Money?

January 27, 2022

Designer clothes from luxury brands can have a high monetary cost. When the price for an individual shirt exceeds the $100 mark, it begs the question of what backs that value. This is a question that needs to be asked. Just because a high price tag is placed on an article of clothing doesn’t mean it necessarily merits that price.

Daniel Patrick holds no one to as high a standard as we hold ourselves. We’re going to do an honest, deep dive into the factors which drive the price of designer products. We are also going to explain what investing in designer clothes allows someone to get. 

Whether you adore designer clothes or are on the fence, we will definitively address the value of these luxury items.

What Makes Designer Clothes Expensive 

Designer clothes cost what people are willing to pay to obtain them. There are concrete design choices that increase their price for the elevation they have over their competitors.

Other choices merely increase the perceived value of a piece, in terms of the status or exclusivity of designer labels. Both of these heighten the “value” of pieces, but in highly different ways. 

Ethics 

One factor that influences the price of some, but not all, designer brands is the ethics involved in production. Ethical production means sustainability, with all workers along the supply chain being paid equitably for their work.

Many fast fashion brands outsource their manufacturing to countries that allow underpaid workers in an effort to cut costs. Some designer brands take advantage of lax labor laws to the detriment of communities around them. Asian and South American countries most often bear the brunt of this, with workers paid minuscule wages. 

It is fairly easy to tell when a company operates on an ethical level. Ethical designers will be open about the nature of their processes and will work in countries with strong labor laws. While this alone does not guarantee good quality clothing, it does hint that the designer holds themselves to a higher standard.

Daniel Patrick is open about our designs, which often take visual inspiration from the natural environments of Los Angeles. Nearly all our production is sourced in LA, with select items produced in Europe for its wealth of natural materials. Our line also includes some recycled fabric in a bid to reduce waste the fashion industry produces. 

For a garment to be produced sustainably, it must be equitable, profitable, and built to last. Equity means that everyone involved in the process is treated and paid fairly. Profitability means that the designer is able to sustain their efforts from the proceeds of a garment. Being built to last means that an article of clothing will outlast its competitors and remain usable for years to come.

Ethicality leads to higher costs for the designer and consumer. As the garments are meant to last longer fundamentally, one will not need to buy new clothes as often (which will keep unwanted clothes out of landfills).

Quality 

A lot of detail goes into the quality of a garment. Fabric, construction process, and overall design all affect the ultimate quality of a piece. 

High-grade materials drive the price of a garment up but also lead to improved visual and textural appeal. The best natural fabrics can only be produced in limited quantities but are well worth the extra money. 

Quality cotton can have a luxuriously soft, heavyweight feel that offers unparalleled comfort. Wool and synthetic materials like polar fleece and acrylic have thermoregulating properties, which make them winter essentials. Unique fabric blends take the best of all worlds, offering unique appearances and a textural feel. 

A good designer garment is built to last. This shows itself in the stitching, which resists tearing and can be easily tailored or mended. It also shows itself when you examine a material that isn’t sheer. The zipper shouldn't snag, and the buttons should stay firmly attached. The best of these items will be thick enough that you can gently tug them and see no gaps in the garment. 

Overall quality is the most important factor which makes designer clothes worth it. Investment in designer clothing is an investment in a set of values and the pursuit of excellence in fashion and personal style.

Brand 

One of the major appeals of designer clothing is brand recognition. The top brands in any field are recognizable by name and in many cases by visual aesthetics alone. Branded clothes inspire loyalty, offer social status, and have a standard for quality which gives them their reputation. 

Premium brands offer consistency. In order to distinguish themselves, creators look at themselves and espouse unique values in their work. These values inform everything from business operations to the clothing itself.

A storied brand also offers consistency in the form of quality. The survivability and permeation of a brand show its ability to continually bring great results year after year.

Daniel Patrick originally came from a dual love of athletics and fashion. This competitive edge has allowed us to keep improving in all regards to meet our own standard of growth. It’s also led to our line being heavily influenced by sportswear and the essential need for all-purpose gear. 

High-end designer clothing also offers social status through exclusivity. A designer brand will produce a fraction of the items in a line that a regular brand will. Part of this comes from a cost basis: Not everyone can afford the garments in question, so there’s little point in overproducing. A smaller number of individual units increases the cost per unit and thus the price retailers and manufacturers set.

Exclusivity is a major appeal of designer brands. Simply put, not everyone has the resources or the willingness to invest in designer clothes. When you see someone going out wearing unique, individualized designs that haven’t been mass-produced, they stand out. There’s a reason best-dressed lists often highlight the individual as well as the designer whose clothing they wear. 

A brand name implies improved quality, but when you reach the highest echelon of fashion, you may end up paying more for a name. 

Marketing 

By definition, designer clothes are a luxury. Everyone needs clothes, but nobody needs to buy one particular brand. To increase recognition and incite customers to invest in their apparel, companies spend a lot of money on marketing. 

The fashion industry is worth three trillion dollars, so it should come as no surprise that companies invest heavily in marketing. Marketing is a massive cost for designers. Marketing includes digital, print, and television advertising but also includes other expenses. Everything that a brand does in order to build its reputation can be considered marketing.

When brands host exclusive fashion shows, the expenses incurred are all part of that brand's marketing strategy. The venue, models, photographers, and technical staff all contribute to the billions of dollars spent in marketing each year. Also included are celebrity sponsorships, where individuals are paid exorbitant sums to regularly wear a designer's apparel. When awards season comes around, designers compete to dress A-list actors and build brand recognition. 

Brick-and-mortar stores are also an essential part of marketing. Even a small storefront in a major fashion hub can be expensive to maintain. 

Marketing is another factor that does not directly impact garment quality but is essential to the livelihood of a designer. Without marketing, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to build a consumer base and continue business operations. 

Designer Clothes: Are They Worth It?

The truth is that whether designer clothes are worth it is in some way up to you. There are many factors that impact cost, some of which directly improve quality and some of which only indirectly improve it. 

Better materials, environmentally-conscious construction efforts, and unique designs are all great reasons to invest in designer clothes. This presents garments of a good quality that are built ethically and built to last at that.

Brand name and marketing don’t impact quality. A suit won’t be better just because the company that made it has been around for generations. In a similar vein, any company with sufficient capital can hire celebrities to wear their apparel and host runway shows. This capability does point to a broader form of success that improves the appeal of these clothes. 

We believe buying designer clothes is a great choice that people should make. For yourself, you get classic pieces that are recognizable both by name and quality. Designers are able to then continue operating at their best. Be cognizant that products are sometimes marked up merely because people are willing to pay for them.

Buy designer, but buy responsibly. 

 

Sources:

Luxury Brands: Higher Standards or Just a Higher Mark-Up? I The Guardian

What Is A Brand Really Worth? I Forbes

Fashion Brands are Increasing Digital Spending I Marketing Dive

Textiles: Material-Specific Data | US EPA


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