Who Made Your Clothes?

Friday, May 20, 2016
Slay Magazine

As a clothing designer, I take the topic at hand very seriously. I always quote the saying “they love your work until they have to pay for it.” Most people who aren’t involved in the fashion industry find it hard to differentiate the cost and quality specifications of a custom made garment as opposed to one purchased off the rack. Today, I’m going to discuss the differences in these processes.

One of the main things that customers mistake is the idea that custom garments take less time to produce. In all actuality, clothing construction takes a series of lengthy procedures. After the initial sketch of the design, the designer must then make proper fabric selections, create a pattern tailored to the wearer, cut the pattern, cut the fabric from the pattern, stitch the pieces to apply the proper interfacing that is needed to give the garment structure, and they must also apply finishing presses.  The difference between the custom and mass production is the amount of people working on that one garment.  Custom designs are usually worked on by one person while mass production pieces can be touched by ten to one hundred hands depending on the complexity of the design.  The maker of the custom garment is usually more skilled than a person working in the factory. This one person knows the entire process from start to finish as opposed to a person who is trained to construct that one section of the garment.

A factory's method of construction and order of procedures have been calculated to save the company time which therefore saves money. It doesn't make those garments any sturdier or destined for longer life. The order of construction for custom designed work allows for alterations if needed at a later date. Mass-produced clothing looks crisper and more polished in appearance because the factory has many forms of equipment that the regular custom clothing designer does not own. This is where price comes into play. Mass production allows for bulk fabric and supply purchases. When purchased in bulk, the cost to make the garment is much cheaper as opposed to buying three yards of fabric to make a custom-made dress. The average custom designer goes to a fabric facility and pays nine dollars per yard, but a bulk purchase may be two dollars per yard. This is one of the main reasons that a custom-made garment costs more money. The value of the labor that is utilized to make the garment fit precisely is another reason that a custom-made garment costs more money. If you ever decide to have an outfit made for you, even if it’s a knock-off version know that the cost will be much more.

By: Foxx Mouton


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