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Why Designer Clothes Are so Expensive

by Morgan E. Westling 4 years ago in designers
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If you've ever wondered why designer clothes are so expensive, take a closer look into all of the things that make luxury brands different from every day clothing. Behind the scenes, you might be surprised at the extra costs that go into the creation of those high priced pieces.

Can a luxury brand really raise prices on a striped cotton shirt just because of the label on it? This type of question about why designer clothes are so expensive has been left unanswered in the fashion industry for decades. There are some pieces of designer clothing which have an understandably higher price tag, because the design is unique or the material is super rare. Alternatively though, we see simple designer t-shirts costing hundreds of dollars, and we begin to wonder why? Designer clothes are so expensive for a variety of reasons, and understanding the fashion industry is the first step to getting to the bottom of it all.

One of the reasons designer clothes are so expensive is because when you buy designer clothes, you’re not only paying for the item, but you’re paying for the time and energy that goes into creating that item. Luxury designers such as Alber Elbaz spend months slaving over the design of one dress, trying to perfect the design. The difference in designer clothes is that these clothes are more than just clothes, they are art. When you look at the price tag on a luxury brand item, you have to consider what went into this piece from the start. If it’s just a designer t-shirt, you may be paying for the time and energy spent on the brand as a whole.

Unlike typical store brands, luxury brands raise prices due to using much better materials for their clothing. These top quality materials cost a lot more money, so of course the clothing is going to have a higher price tag. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, because when you buy designer clothing that looks like you spend big bucks, your clothing is going to last a lot longer.

In the high fashion industry, most clothes are manufactured closer to home, as opposed to being shipped off to large warehouses in China for reproduction. This keeps the product exclusive and the quantities low. However, when quantities are low, the manufacturing costs go up. Taxes in France, for instance, where many luxury brands are designed and produced, are very high. It takes a lot of money to produce these exclusive clothing pieces and ship them throughout Europe or the United States.

Designer clothing brands throughout the fashion industry spend a lot of money on their marketing, whether it is on social media or in the streets of New York and Paris. Higher marketing costs with more expensive marketing materials just adds to the retail price. These brands know what their customers expect in their advertising, and because the customers expect expensive advertising, they can also expect expensive price tags. That’s the business of fashion for you.

Now, of course, one of the most obvious reasons designer clothes are so expensive is because you’re paying for the brand name. The fashion industry is all about exclusivity and social status. People wear luxury brands for the quality, but also, because they want others to know they are wearing name brand clothing. If it wasn’t about the brand names and labels, prices wouldn’t matter, and neither would fashion.

As mentioned before, using better materials contributes to why designer clothes are so expensive, but this also means the clothing quality is better and it is going to last a long time. Many people love buying designer items because each piece will last them years and be a token item in their closet. Even if it costs them a few hundred dollars, they know it is worth the money. This is a better decision than buying something cheap and having to repurchase it every year when it falls apart.

We don’t take into account the many other costs add to the reasons that make designer clothes so expensive. Similar to high marketing costs, customers require the best out of high end brands. All luxury brands have the best brick and mortar stores in the best locations. Their packaging/fulfillment is flawless, along with their sales staff! When you require the best from the brand and its image, it’s going to add up. All of this trickles down into the cost of every item.

Speaking again to the exclusivity of the most expensive fashion labels, if it weren’t for these high price tags, these luxury brands would be bought by everyone, and they would not be able to keep their high status any longer. These high retail prices keep the items from being obtainable by everyone, and that is the sole purpose of high fashion.

Designer clothes are so expensive because if they weren’t, they would no longer be “designer” anymore. They would lose their “luxury” name. While we do see some brands these days breaking the mold and trying to go for the affordable designer brand look, selling subsections of their brands in stores (such as Kohl’s, H&M, Forever 21 and more) still doesn’t stop them from keeping their high price tags for the elite.

Lastly, the main reason designer clothes are so expensive is because designer brands know people will continue to buy clothes for these outrageous prices. If you could sell something for this much and you knew you would make money doing it, then you would do it too. For the same reasons why swimsuits are so expensive, that’s just the way the business of fashion works. If people are buying, they will keep selling. Fashion is an art form to many, so if that’s how they choose to spend their money, then let it be!


About the author

Morgan E. Westling

Avid Reader, Freelance Writer/Editor, and Lifestyle Blogger

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