$75 for a Tank Top? Transparency Pricing — YEA or NAY?June 19, 2017 / byPeter Lappin / Categories : Feeds
Readers, if you're like me, you're very aware that the cost of ready-to-wear clothes isn't always reflective of the quality.
That said, unless you're buying in the second-hand market (i.e, thrift stores and flea markets), a very low-cost item is generally going to be low quality. And if you sew -- which I assume most of you do -- you also recognize that creating clothing can cost a lot: high quality fabrics are more expensive than inferior ones, more complex designs require more labor, etc.
One type of garment I rarely sew is athletic wear because I can't easily access the tech fabrics I like, and the construction of a lot of athletic wear is complicated. I'd rather buy things like running shorts and swimsuits ready-made and apply my sewing creativity to other things.
I've read quite a few articles lately about why clothing costs as much (or as little) as it does. This recent story from the New York Times discusses the increasing popularity of "transparency pricing," whereby manufacturers make known to customers exactly what every part of a garment cost, from fabric to notions to labor. It's a way of getting people to recognize that good-quality clothing, manufactured in an ethical way, is worth the higher price.
The relatively new clothing brand Everlane makes transparency pricing a big part of their socially-conscious identity.
I don't know how popular transparency pricing will ever become. I'm also not sure how much time I want to spend studying the cost of every jeans button on my Levi's. Still, when I'm confronted by a Nike tank top (up top) that costs $75, as I was yesterday while shopping online, I think transparency pricing might be valuable.
There may be excellent reasons why a poly-nylon tank top costs $75. I know some sporting goods companies like Patagonia are very up-front about their commitment to sustainable and ethical production, which results in higher costs. Not so Nike.
What should a tank top cost? Obviously, it depends.
In closing, readers, how interested are you in knowing exactly why the clothing you purchase (or even the fabric you sew with) costs what it does?
If a company says it's paying $12 for a zipper, how do we know they've costed these out effectively? (If their rent is $3,000/month, maybe they're overpaying.)
Also, who gets to decide what a fair mark-up is? Who's to say how much profit they should be making?
I'd love to hear what you think about contemporary pricing in general.
Should any tank top cost $75?
Transparency pricing: YEA or NAY?
(Another thought-provoking article about transparency pricing here.)
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