Most of the clothing available to us is mass produced in a run down factory in a third world country. Just look at the tag inside a garment and you will see that is was probably made in China or Cambodia or India or somewhere similar. It is rare to find clothing made in Canada or the United States. Pinup Girl Clothing, Heart of Haute, Steady Clothing, and Cherry Velvet have brought production back to North America, to provide quality clothing. Quality clothing has a price and unfortunately a lot of people will just look at the price tag and scoff at how much a dress costs. These people have become accustom to fast fashion and its prices- H & M, Forever XXI, Zara, and the like pump out new styles every week at a fraction of the cost of a Pinup Couture dress; these stores drastically cut prices when a item is no longer in “fashion” to make sure they aren’t left with any of yesterdays fashions. Pinup Girl, Steady, Heart of Haute, and Cherry Velvet cautiously mark down their items or will have flash sales, as they create timeless pieces that do no go out of style. When a customer is surprised at the price tag of a Heart of Haute or Pinup Girl dress, I tell them these dresses are made in the States and are very high quality; I have owned a few Pinup Girl dresses for 5-7 years and they still look brand new. I have also never had a zipper break on a Pinup Girl dress, or a Heart of Haute, or Steady Clothing…hmmm, imagine that.
Then there is the other half – the other pinup brands we love but which are mass produced in a dingy factory in China. The great thing about these brands, is that they are usually cheaper, and thus make pinup and rockabilly clothing more affordable to those people who really just can not afford to buy a new Pinup Girl Clothing dress for every occasion. Brands like HellBunny, Sourpuss, and Hearts and Roses offer cute pinup dress in the $50-$100 range. These dresses, however, fall in the fast fashion category. Because they are cheaper people feel more inclined to toss them, donate them, or not bother getting them fixed when a zipper breaks…which it will.
I am lucky enough to work at the mecca of pinup and rockabilly clothing, so I get to see everything brand new, try it all on, feel it, see its construction, and also see its destruction. Zippers break, buttons fall off, seams split- it is a fact of the fast fashion life and everyone had just better accept it if they are going to continuing buying fast fashion. Do you know how often I will see a zipper break or have a customer come in/call/email to say the zipper broke on the Hearts and Roses or Sourpuss dress? And I think to myself “….and your point is?”. Do not get me wrong, I love Sourpuss…I own a ton of dresses by this brand because I love the designs and the affordability. However, I do not hold it up to the same expectations as a Pinup Girl dress and neither should you!
I am tired of hearing complaints that your button fell off your dress or jacket… guess what? It was bound to happen! That garment was most likely mass produced in a very short period of time, having to meet minimal quality expectations, so it could get here in time for you to wear it this winter. Here’s a little tip your grandma should have taught you- reinforce your buttons or when they fall off, simply sew them back on. Stop phoning/emailing the stores you bought it from to complain about the quality – guess what? I didn’t make it! And I didn’t make you buy it. And you should not be surprised when the zipper on your $50 dress breaks…instead, you should just drop it off at the tailor to pick up next week with a brand new zipper and get on with life.
I have made it a habit to always look at tags to see where an item was made and then base that on my decision to buy it – I gauge the quality, the price, how much I will wear it, and if I think its going to last. This is why I own a handful of Sourpuss dresses and HellBunny Jackets…the cost and quality meet in the middle, which allows me to decide I will take the risk of buying a fast fashion item, which I know will get a lot of wear. Consumers need to take responsibility for their own purchases, as “I didn’t know” is simply not a valid excuse. We should all know what we are buying – we should all look to see where an item was made and what material it is made out of- that is 100% a consumers responsibility.
A store like Rowena offers up the best of the best of pinup and rockabilly fashion. It provides the consumer with options in style, design, brand, and cost because we feel every one should be able to be a pinup if they want to…and who doesn’t want to be a pinup?! In providing this service however, we bring in a select selection of brands that we feel meets the demands of our customers – this includes both made in North America slow fashion brands and out-sourced fast fashion brands. If the demand for both was not there, we wouldn’t carry both. Until the consumers stops buying fast fashion, until they demand more of the brands they love, they will remain the same, and zippers will break and buttons will fall off, because that’s life.
I have said it many times- you get what you pay for. If you spend $110-$250 on dress you can expect that dress to last, to see you through rough times, and to be there in happy times. If you spend $40-$60 on dress, you should love it for what its worth and remember what you paid for it when the zipper breaks or a button falls off.
I highly recommend every one l read “Over-Dressed: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion” by Elizabeth Cline to learn a bit more about the fast fashion industry. She also talks about the environmental impact of the industry and how something needs to change…now.
We all know why Pinup Girl Clothing can be expensive and why Hearts & Roses isn’t, so lets all stop fooling ourselves into thinking every dress we buy should stand the test of time. Some dresses are meant for better things, while others are meant to be worn once or twice before being sent off to the tailor to fix a zipper or fallen hemline.