Dear Readers:

I’d like to start off today by apologizing for the gap in posting.  I’ve mentioned before that my aunt and I lost nearly everything in a house fire this July.  The clean up effort and fundraising has taken more of my time and attention than I had originally expected.  I’m not abandoning this project, but I may not post as frequently as I would like.  I am also still in the stage where I had planned on doing mostly purchasing of patterns and occasional fabric purchases, so don’t be suprised if I don’t churn out many finished garments just yet.  Thank your for sticking with me.  Now, on to today’s topic… 

As I began sharing my research for cost comparisons on the items I’m making to comparable items available at high end shops, a friend pointed out that you’re paying for the prestige of the label. Sure, none of my friends are wearing Channel or carrying Louis Vuitton bags (except for my hairdresser, but he’s excused :). And yes, there’s a certain something about shopping at Saks. But once you get home and put that jacket or skirt or tunic on, the only one who knows what the tag says is you (unless you go around announcing who you’re wearing, red-carpet style). What they can, and will notice, is the quality of the clothing you’re wearing. It’s easy to spot a poorly fitted pair of pants or a cheap dress because they just don’t look right. The fabrics themselves will tell a story over time. Poor quality fabrics will fade and fray and wear out much quicker than quality natural fibers.

I think another important thing to talk about is designer knock-offs verses hand made garments. In my mind, a knock-off is something that is made to deceive. On the other hand, what I’m doing is using designer styles then creating them by hand with my own choice of fabrics and embellishments to create a truly unique garment. I don’t want anyone to look at my dress and say “That looks like a Kay Unger dress.” I’d rather they look at it and say “That’s a fantastic outfit, where did you find it?!” I’m using commercially available patterns, not copying something I saw in a store without the permission of the designer.

How do you put a price tag on a celebrity design? And how does that compare with the value of a unique, handcrafted garment by someone who doesn’t happen to be famous? I suppose you could almost compare it to valuing art. An unknown artist who does something sublime has a good value placed on their work, but if they later become famous that value skyrockets. Yet the quality of the workmanship hasn’t changed. So in the end, I personally feel that the earlier work is just as valuable without the celebrity attached. Then again, no one pays me for my opinion.

Perhaps I should consider having labels made for my clothing, so if I ever become famous, they’ll be worth more money. :p

One final note about the value of a label: I really dislike the bags and garments that have the designer’s names written all over the outside. To me it’s just tacky to walk around like a human billboard for a clothing label. And really, that’s not high fashion, it’s the lower end of a line that’s more accessible to those with less money, almost like advertising that you can’t afford the better things that the company makes.

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