A couple weeks ago, I was waiting for Dennis in my car listening to NPR. (When I was younger I went through an NPR-listening phase, but about a month ago, I started listening again. SO glad that I did.) It was 7:00 p.m. and one of my favorite WBUR (Boston NPR) shows came on - On Point with Tom Ashbrook. The entire hour was dedicated to an interview and open debate/conversation including the author of "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" Elizabeth Cline.
Basically, I was sitting on the edge of my seat listening and drinking in every single word that Elizabeth Cline had to say. In my opinion, she's a genius. The basic gist of her book is about the decline of the quality of clothing and textiles in America. Our generation (starting from 1980) doesn't understand quality of garments. We don't understand trends, because everyone in America is wearing the same trend in a different rendition; which I completely agree with. In the 1990's, the Gap was one of the first retailers to start the mass-manufacturing one t-shirt into millions. Everyone wanted the same t-shirt and the same pair of jeans. Unfortunately, with outsourcing being the big thing these days, it only gets easier for big retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, Forever 21, and H&M, to make clothing extremely cheap garments with poorly-made materials and textiles. Not only are they using cheap materials, but they are also paying their employees at a depressingly low wage. Forever21, Target, and H&M are trying to create cheap fashion-forward clothing, so that everyone can feel like they are indeed fashion-forward but without spending the price. Post WWII women were still spending sometimes over $100 (present day inflated price) on one piece. They would have sometimes only four or five outfits and would constantly be rotating them, because they were spending a good amount for high quality clothing. We all brag about how we got this top for five dollars and those jeans for ten, and I totally do this all the time! But what's the point? I mean, yes, I'm a young kid with not a lot of money... That's what thrifting is for, right?! But I am just starting to realize how important buying vintage has become to me. Clothing made before 1980 is so much better quality! I have three blouses that were made in the 70's. I wash them regularly, and they haven't aged a day! In fact, I think they probably look the same they did on the day they were made...
The other night I brought this up with my friends, saying that I was thinking of boycotting Target, H&M, and Forever21, and yes, I'm probably going to stick with it. Their clothes are cheap and last me like a day, so why spend the money on them? And while I'm at it, why support the poor treatment of their workers in their factories?
Some ladies might not agree with me. Someone asked me why it was wrong when they don't advertise being high-quality? Well, to me it's wrong because I want my clothes to last. It's not worth spending $30 on a shirt that will only last a couple washes.
What do you think?