I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the quality of the clothes I buy, and what that means for my purse and my mind. Other than checking the washing instructions, how much attention do you pay to the labels in your clothes? Since the decline of British manufacturing in the 1980s, many of us have become more and more resentful towards the ‘made in Korea/China/India/Indonesia’ labels which have flooded the UK market. This is not to say I don’t support a global market selling quality goods, but there are so many issues associated with these labels, one of which is the issue of poor quality.
Not discounting the 10-year-old boy who’s probably spent 15 hours a day hand sewing the sequins onto my jumper, the diminishing quality of high street clothes has become a bug bear. In my experience, many of the cheaper clothes I buy last just a few washes before becoming faded or misshapen, perpetuating a throwaway society in which nothing lasts, and everything is disposable. I mean, why darn your socks when you can pick up five pairs for £2 at the local market?
I also lament Great Britain’s once booming manufacturing industry, at its peak 100 years ago, which has since been shipped out to cheaper locations. What about all those wonderful skills that have been lost? I’m not a particularly patriotic person, but there’s something about holding a beautiful top made of British lace, or a sumptuous jumper made of Welsh wool, that makes me feel happy to be British.
Yet in the past I’ve been guilty of opting for quantity instead of quality, heading into cheap shops and spending £20 on 5 items which last 5 minutes, blindly assuming I’m getting more bang for my buck. But actually (and I probably sound like my mother when I say “they don’t make them like they used to”), I’ve worn my English-made vintage mohair coat every winter day for the past three years and it’s still going strong, even though it’s around 50 years old. Now THAT is value for money.
So for 2013, one of my resolutions is to buy less, and buy quality. This doesn’t have to mean clothing made in Great Britain, and heritage brand Pringle is a great example of quality which is created both in the UK and overseas.
Pringle of Scotland’s iconic argyle pattern has been a staple for over 150 years, but the brand is so much more than luxury argyle socks and tank tops. Yes you’re paying significantly more for one of their angora cardigans than a cheap, polyester imitation from eBay, but like my vintage coat, a cardigan like this will last you a lifetime, and will probably get passed down to your children too.
It will take a while before I can save up for an ‘investment piece’ from Pringle of Scotland’s gorgeous range, but I live in hope. Check out some of my favourites:
Left: Bottle Green Jacquard Dress | Right: Opal Blue Angora Cardigan
Left: Wine Bi-Colour Wool Skirt | Right: Navy Cashmere Jacquard Sleeve Jumper
Left: Dove Grey Contrast Cuff Shirt | Right: Bottle Green Contrast Layer Dress
What are your thoughts on quality vs quantity in fashion?
[This is a sponsored post by Avenue 32]