You may be too young to remember the “designer jeans” craze of the 80s. Up until then, only cowboys wore jeans. Then, Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, and other big name clothing designers discovered denim, and the Designer Jean became a hallmark of haute couture. From that time on, jeans became an acceptable every-day clothing item for people of any profession. In fact, designer jeans were the pivotal point in introducing “casual Friday”. You could finally wear jeans to work, but it had to be a certain brand to keep you classy. Is that still true? Do you still get quality and respect when you buy certain brand names?
It used to be that brand names were constructed better than store brands. You would find generous seam allowances, which would provide more tailoring options. This would make the designer brand more versatile, since it could be tailored to fit different body requirements. The wider seams also resisted tears better.
That was then. Designer’s studios were carefully supervised, and quality construction was present at every step of the way. Yes, the designer brands were more expensive, but the clothing you bought could be tailored to your needs, and would last practically forever. These days, some of the closely supervised designer shops have given way to mass production in China. And, as with any mass-produced product, corners are cut and quality suffers. The generous seam allowances have gone away, making many brand names no better than their off-the-rack store brand competition. No longer can the brand name be tailored to make it look like it was made for you, specifically.
Another loss the fashion world has encountered is access to quality fabrics. In the designer studios of 30 years ago, only the best cuts of fabrics were used in clothing. I know, this sounds like I’m talking about cuts of beef, but it’s nearly the same! Print and woven fabric must be cut just so, or the prints won’t line up when the piece is sewn together. A high quality brand name used to sell only the best prints, with the patterns lined up and the cut of fabric consistent all the way around. Not all shops stock this kind of material. Some shops strive to provide quality when they buy in their brands. Today’s cost cutting, mass-produced brand names use every square inch of fabric, even if it means that your jeans or skirt shrink unevenly due to non-biased cuts. In addition, that extra touch of class you used to get with well-matched patterns is absent, now. The brand names are now off-the-rack, and the quality has dropped.
Yes, polyester is still around, and it’s alive and well in brand name clothing. That’s because polyester is inexpensive and easy to substitute into patterns. Besides the construction and material, brand names get that brand recognition because of high quality design. Unfortunately, now that the brands are established, cheap polyester fabrics are being substituted for the high quality ones that created the brand. So, you get the cut, but not the quality.