Beauty and Quality Come With a Price
Joanne and Maria Angelis
Something we’ve heard often over the years in our shop is, “Why is this so expensive?”
As women that have always loved beautiful fashion, it can at times be frustrating when some clients don’t see the beauty and quality that screams at us from the shelves. And then we remember that not everyone had a Mama Angelis at home, who from an early age, taught us it was better to have one nice item in your closet than five of lesser quality.
In fashion — whether in clothing, footwear or lingerie — there is a parallel between quality and price. However, what constitutes good quality? In essence, three things: fabric, craftsmanship and longevity.
Having just come out of winter, cashmere is fresh in my mind as a perfect example of this. There is much confusion as to why one can find a cashmere sweater for $80, while others can cross the $1,000 threshold.
This luxury industry started with Tibetan-goat derived wool years ago. But today, 67 per cent of the world’s supply comes from China, while 22 per cent is from Mongolia. The latter boasts a longer and more resilient fibre, which means it is less likely to pill in high friction areas. It also washes better, thereby extending the life of the garment. As you can imagine, there does not exist an infinite supply of these wonderful little goats, and so, the wool we derive from them is that much more special. In addition, the time it takes to refine and knit the wool to its long-lasting luxurious state also adds to the cost. Good-quality, natural fabrics cost, but that also means they last longer and are safer to have next to our skin. Cotton for instance, can be grown organically without the use of pesticides, as well as ethically.
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This brings us to our second criteria: craftsmanship. There is no question that when consumers see “Made in Canada” on a tag, it’s a really great selling point, however, this also translates to a higher price. “Made in Canada” means that items are not made in sweatshops, that those putting these pieces together are trained at this craft, and most importantly, are paid a fair wage.
Quality control is of the highest standard, as owners/designers are hands-on in their ateliers or factories, supervising the production of their collections.
Canadian belt doyenne Suzi Roher has for years offered ladies what can only be described as jewelry for the waist. They are handmade in Toronto with prices that start at $225 and can reach up to $700 depending on the materials used and time it takes to assemble. However, many of her followers have said these belts last for close to two decades.
Lifespan or longevity is key. We are all more apt to pay a higher ticket price if we know we’re going to get a few years — versus a few months — out of our purchase. Not only is this better for our pocketbook, but long term, it is also better for the planet.
I was shocked to discover the fast- fashion industry is ranked the second largest polluter in the world behind the oil industry. These items are made to fall apart within a year, and end up in landfills where they take much longer to biodegrade due to their non-natural composition.
Quality costs folks, but low-quality costs us even more than we think.
House of Angelis
63 + 65 Brock Street, Kingston