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11-04-2011
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Can Fashion Customers be Educated?
I was always wondering why is that American customer is buying so much stuff with low cost even if they have money. I noticed that getting things fast at low cost is a win-win situation.

When you are young and still figuring out your style, I understand the purpose of buying cheap clothes. But why this express fashion is so desirable even with the older customer?

I grew up with the mentality where you save money to buy "that" coat that will lasts few years and that will actually keep you warm because it's a 100% wool (I come from Europe btw). Instead I see here tendency of buying coats with blends that are relatively affordable, with nice style, but they don't keep you as warm as 100% wool coat and they last 1 or 2 years. The bad economy is not excuse because I saw this even before September 2008. Can we educate customer?

I don't understand this mentality and would love to hear what people think. Do you think it's a problem or just different way of thinking that doesn't need to be changed? If you like express fashion, what satisfaction you get after you buy it or wear it? And if you had more money, would you consider buying better quality clothes (not fashion, but clothes)? And last but the most important thing: Can we educate people about quality, fit, and fabrication?

If we educate people, they'll know that that cotton D&G T-shirt cost them $15 to make, while retail priced for $250. It goes the other way around; if something is so cheap we must look at label content and see the fit to understand why something is low cost. Not all cheap clothes are bad and not all expensive clothes are good. But knowing what IS actually good or bad clothes is important. I think people need this; they have to understand what IS the good fit, good fabric, and good finishing.

What do you think?


Last edited by tamtamj; 11-04-2011 at 10:03 AM.
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11-04-2011
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Honestly, I think most people KNOW all this - they're just too busy/can't afford to take notice of it.
If I need a coat for the winter, I can't afford to buy an expensive one, and I can't go a year without a coat in order to afford an expensive one, so I buy one I can afford.
And myself, and most people I know, don't have lifestyles which we can guarantee not to spoil designer clothes. You might step in a puddle and get dirt all over something that's dry clean only, well that's a) very expensive to clean and b ) too time consuming to go to the cleaners!

Most people know that you pay for quality - per say - but although a more expensive coat may perform better/last longer, it's also a huge waste of money if your every day lifestyle breaks it!

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11-04-2011
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tamtamj, you are absolutely correct. For most people, it is all about what you can get for cheap because you need it right away. I try to tell my friends to buy a more quality pair of whatevers because it'll last you in the long run, but people need it NOW.

I don't think most people care about quality, fabrication, etc.

For example, I went to Target.

There were adorable spring shoes on sale. The designs were to my liking yet the material looked as if it would easily fall apart a few days after purchase. Thus, I did not buy them. I need a quality shoe that will last me more than a season despite the shoes costing $15 which is easy on my funds.

Bottom line: the shoes were cheap and cute, and people will probably buy them because of those two deciding factors

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11-04-2011
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(a) "they're just too busy/can't afford to take notice of it."
Obviously, if you can’t afford something – you simply can’t. But, if you have some money – you can manage things. For example, if you gave up 5 Forever 21 shirts, 2 Zara pants or skirts, and some cheap jewelry in 1 year I am almost positive you can save for a nice good quality piece of clothing (and by “good quality piece” I don’t necessarily mean designer, but also unknown labels that can be found in boutiques). It’s about money managing and prioritizing. If the coat is what you don’t want to compromise on, you compromise on other things (cosmetics, bags, drinks, coffee, or anything that is not so important to you). I am sure you have items you absolutely need to have – so why not have that 1 thing the best and not have other things? Ok – now, if you absolutely need to have smth now – you buy what you can at the moment. But, for later you can think things through and start prioritizing.

(b) "it's also a huge waste of money if your every day lifestyle breaks it!"
What do you mean by this? What kind of lifestyle is that that can make the garment a waste? Yes, I agree that expensive OR cheap clothes WILL eventually terminate – so why spend money on good quality clothes? Let me answer this question with another question: Isn’t the purpose of a coat to keep you warm, shoes to keep feet protected and healthy, and nice suit to get you the job?

----All I am proposing is less but better clothing, in contrast to more and cheap. I hardly believe people NEED all the things they buy.


Last edited by tamtamj; 11-04-2011 at 06:22 PM.
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11-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa_levante View Post
tamtamj, you are absolutely correct. For most people, it is all about what you can get for cheap because you need it right away. I try to tell my friends to buy a more quality pair of whatevers because it'll last you in the long run, but people need it NOW.

I don't think most people care about quality, fabrication, etc.

For example, I went to Target.

There were adorable spring shoes on sale. The designs were to my liking yet the material looked as if it would easily fall apart a few days after purchase. Thus, I did not buy them. I need a quality shoe that will last me more than a season despite the shoes costing $15 which is easy on my funds.

Bottom line: the shoes were cheap and cute, and people will probably buy them because of those two deciding factors
The price we are willing to pay is decided by our demands/needs/lifestyle. I don’t see anything wrong with cheap clothing – if it does the job. But, is the cheaper always better I wonder…

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11-04-2011
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Quote:
I don’t see anything wrong with cheap clothing – if it does the job.
"You pay for what you get." I remember a specific pair of undergarments that went into the wash and as soon as they came out of the dryer, the elastic had come loose and gotten tangled up with a bunch of socks creating a huge mess.

I don't know if I have ever gotten anything for cheap (that was brand new - not secondhand) that was of quality. I can say that Gap clothing can be pricy, but I've found that their quality is less than satisfactory. Almost every time.

But, I've found that buying something for cheap made me feel cheap which could, in turn, make others possibly feel thrifty?

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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa_levante View Post
tamtamj, you are absolutely correct. For most people, it is all about what you can get for cheap because you need it right away. I try to tell my friends to buy a more quality pair of whatevers because it'll last you in the long run, but people need it NOW.

I don't think most people care about quality, fabrication, etc.
Your right about that. Most people really do not care about the quality and how long it will last, because you can buy another cheap coat next year. People these days aren't easily satisfied. When they buy something...two months later they want another NEW model. So buying things cheap makes it easier for people to say: " Oh well I can just buy a new one because it was only $...."

Also lots of cheaper brands, such as Zara and H&M are copying the catwalk trends. Making it affordable for people that want to be fashionable and always up to date on whats hot but who can't afford a coat for $500. So the questions isn't how can we educate people, but more how can we stop the cheap brands for copying catwalk trends. But that's just impossible to do...

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12-04-2011
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I think whether a person is fashionable or has style is a factor. If their fashionable they might be re-newing their wardrobe on a more frequent basis and the need to have pieces of good quality is not so important. But those how have style don't change it quite so much so the need for a keeper is of greater importance. Generally the later are the ones that get investment pieces.

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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplethistle View Post
I think whether a person is fashionable or has style is a factor. If their fashionable they might be re-newing their wardrobe on a more frequent basis and the need to have pieces of good quality is not so important. But those how have style don't change it quite so much so the need for a keeper is of greater importance. Generally the later are the ones that get investment pieces.
I agree. But, what I am trying to say is that everyone (fashionable or not) should have "basic" items of good quality; like 1 classic but warm coat, a nice pair of shoes, or little black dress that suits you perfectly. After you have basic clothes or your necessity (on what you don't save) you play around with fashion.

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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prisje123 View Post
Your right about that. Most people really do not care about the quality and how long it will last, because you can buy another cheap coat next year. People these days aren't easily satisfied. When they buy something...two months later they want another NEW model. So buying things cheap makes it easier for people to say: " Oh well I can just buy a new one because it was only $...."

Also lots of cheaper brands, such as Zara and H&M are copying the catwalk trends. Making it affordable for people that want to be fashionable and always up to date on whats hot but who can't afford a coat for $500. So the questions isn't how can we educate people, but more how can we stop the cheap brands for copying catwalk trends. But that's just impossible to do...
Ha ha, that's a nice suggestion but I don't think we can stop cheap brands from copying designers. To be honest, I like Zara (or maybe some other affordable brands), but if everything in my closet becomes H&M/Zara than you end up with bunch of 'stuff' that you can through away. Do people really want to have bunch of stuff hanging from their closets? People don't think, they just buy from above mentioned reasons but never take a look back and evaluate things. It's an impulse shopping, that if you analyze, just make you end up regretting money you spend on these clothes.

Few months ago, I bought one shirt from H&M that was super cheap. My boyfriend convinced me (he said "it's so cheap. If you don't wear it you didn't loose that much"), but I regretted so much. It was $12 I can easily spend on a nice breakfast or a drink because I never never wore that shirt. You add those $12 with other $15 and with other $30 and you end up with some $50 that you can invest in something better. And on top, I just have space taken for these invaluable things.


Last edited by tamtamj; 12-04-2011 at 07:18 AM.
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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prisje123 View Post
Your right about that. Most people really do not care about the quality and how long it will last, because you can buy another cheap coat next year. People these days aren't easily satisfied. When they buy something...two months later they want another NEW model. So buying things cheap makes it easier for people to say: " Oh well I can just buy a new one because it was only $...."

Also lots of cheaper brands, such as Zara and H&M are copying the catwalk trends. Making it affordable for people that want to be fashionable and always up to date on whats hot but who can't afford a coat for $500. So the questions isn't how can we educate people, but more how can we stop the cheap brands for copying catwalk trends. But that's just impossible to do...
You said "People these days aren't easily satisfied." Well said. Maybe this is more of a social problem than fashion-related issue?

Or maybe because that clothes don't satisfy people's needs in a long run? It works in a short run only.


Last edited by tamtamj; 12-04-2011 at 08:53 AM.
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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa_levante View Post
tamtamj, you are absolutely correct. For most people, it is all about what you can get for cheap because you need it right away. I try to tell my friends to buy a more quality pair of whatevers because it'll last you in the long run, but people need it NOW.
Yeap, that is sooo true! Give people what they want - and they'll still not be satisfied.

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12-04-2011
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i wish people would at least look at the care tag on their garments before purchasing to check care instructions, fabric composition and where the garment is made.

but i think that might be asking too much. sigh.

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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamtamj View Post
I agree. But, what I am trying to say is that everyone (fashionable or not) should have "basic" items of good quality; like 1 classic but warm coat, a nice pair of shoes, or little black dress that suits you perfectly. After you have basic clothes or your necessity (on what you don't save) you play around with fashion.
Personal observation of some people is that they hardly ever wear the same thing more than a handful of times in public. So the people don't really have to think about the quality of what they are wearing. When you buy that much clothing I think consideration of quality is further down the list, otherwise you wouldn't be able to buy much (generally). So when everyone around you is doing the same there is then the pressure to keep the habit going. The mentality is definitely something you grow up with and large percentage of the time influenced by your family, area/culture.

So to re-educate the consumer you pretty much need them to be surrounded by a particular mentality much harder done than said. A few things that would need to be done:
1. Disciplining the shopper to be more discerning in what they buy. eg. adopting the 4-5 piece french wardrobe or something similar.
2. Convincing them that wearing a piece of clothing longer than a season or two is not a sin. (with the exception of white shirts, they go yellowish or gray in colour within a year no matter what)
3. Explaining that clothes are more than just what it looks like but also what it makes you feel (emotionally and sensory nerves). If you have the means to let say wear a jumper with finer wool you experience wearing it is going to be more comfortable than itching all day and possible looking irritable/stupid all day.
4. Tell in plain terms that other people can see what they wear and not just them when they happen to look in the mirror, so wear something flattering not just for their body type, what they're wearing but also the condition of what they're wearing. If it's 'new' but looks like is falling apart already (when that wasn't the intention of the design) in my books that definitely not flattering.
5. Being able to be in the position of looking back and remembering what you had to do to get X item (imo far more satisfactory than getting cheaper and not so good quality stuff all the time)
6. Beg them to treat their own things with a bit more respect!
I'm sure there a plenty of other reasons but I think just these few reasons is already a bit telling of the real challenge in re-educating the consumer.


Last edited by purplethistle; 12-04-2011 at 10:39 AM.
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12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamtamj View Post
I agree. But, what I am trying to say is that everyone (fashionable or not) should have "basic" items of good quality; like 1 classic but warm coat, a nice pair of shoes, or little black dress that suits you perfectly. After you have basic clothes or your necessity (on what you don't save) you play around with fashion.
I think that by the time someone is in their late twenties / early thirties, they know this and they know to invest in basics, I think that moving from being fashionable / trendy to being stylish is part of the maturation process. A twenty-two year old may not have figured out his / her style yet, and also what cuts and silhouettes look best on her, and is therefore not spending big money for clothes because she knows that she will only wear the garment for a season or two.

I think that ironically fashion as a spectator sport may be a culprit too in this churning. I have seen both designers and celebrities derided for wearing the same thing (not necessarily literally, but wearing something that is similar in style to something previously worn) or producing a collection that is too similar to previous ones, so many so-called fashionistas, myself included, may be perpetuating trendiness over stylishness.

Also, clothes are cheaper these days - fifty years ago, the average person may have had to spent the equivalent of a few hundred bucks for a coat because that was the going price of a coat. These days, you can get a coat for under $50.


Last edited by agee; 12-04-2011 at 11:06 AM.
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