And How To Calculate What You Want To Pay.
I’m not talking about the ecological price of fashion, for as long as you only use natural fibers, like I do, the cost is negligible.
The Cost To Your Wallet
This is to many this is the important point. How much do I have to pay? Can I pay less somewhere else? Before you do much of that you need to understand…
The Cost Of Making It
There are two parts to the cost of making something. The Cost Of The Materials and The Cost Of Time.
Some styles, yes probably only take an hour, maybe two, to make nicely. Especially if they are mass produced, but even some slightly customized pieces won’t take any longer. Even a fully customized to a odd body shape, may depending on the style, only take an extra hour.
But, as soon as you add lots of details, even if you aren’t supposed to notice the details, (looking at smoothly set in sleeves, they are the literal worst) the time adds up. And the more seams, particularly fussy seams, the more time.
People should be paid well for their work. Here in the USA, the minimum wage is a little over seven dollars an hour. But that is for unskilled labor, so many people recommend that seamstresses ask for more. I have slightly mixed feelings about asking for more, because it is already expensive enough to pay for many full days of work.
That is in America though. The cost of living is higher. So we need more money to survive. So… You look for somewhere with a lower cost of living and pay them!
Yes, this is a great idea. Buy “everyday”, “basic”, clothes from a shop that cares about their workers, it strikes the best balance between the cheap things that come from Chinese Slave Labor and the expensive things that will support someone.
Look for people who mention living wages and other such terms. Look for shops that talk about knowing their workers. Ask about how much they pay. You may get a slightly odd quote, but there may be a reason behind that. If they tell you they “pay per piece” glance at their price extremes and you should realize why, some garments are hard and some are easy.
So now that you’ve read through the lecture on supporting others, let’s talk about materials. Look at the specs for the dress and at the details, then look online for how much that material would cost. Then subtract up to 20% on the assumption they got it at wholesale prices.
So how much should you spend? It depends. But spend wisely.