At Simple Studios we are well aware of the privilege that is being in a position to buy sustainably and ethically. Attempting to shop consciously and realising an item is out of our price range can be disheartening - and it certainly happens to all of us. However, sustainable buying doesn't have to be about being loaded, but about thinking forward and making informed choices for what your wardrobe needs to ensure you get the most out of it. I often have to remind myself that if there is potential for 3 quick purchases from a fast paced chain store, there is room for one sustainable purchase instead.
How do we justify buying from places that do not practise sustainable and traceable production in the making process? It’s efficient, it’s cheap, and if we buy enough of the same thing, one of them is bound to stick! However, often these items are only worn once or twice before they’re lost in another friend's closet or sold off to a thrift shop. I have definitely been guilty of this and can admit that I still slip up! The sudden thought that there’s nothing in my wardrobe to wear to my weekend event can send me off to go and purchase another little black top to add to my existing pile. More recently, I’ve taken to considering which staple items I reach for in my wardrobe, and investing in high quality, well made, and ethically produced versions of them - ones that will last a lifetime.
I have a challenge for you: next time you’re online shopping and you add a few things to your cart, stop and ask yourself these questions about each item:
- Will this be worn (and can it be washed) more than 10 times?
- Does this go with more than 3 other items that exist in my wardrobe?
- Will I wear it across different occasions and in a year's time?
- Can this item extend outside of the micro-trend category?
If you answer 'yes' on all of these questions, then go ahead - buy the item! It seems like it will last and you’ll make great use of it. If some 'no’s' start to creep in, then maybe reconsider if it’s worth spending your money on and instead shift your gaze to a more long term solution. You can even opt to put that money aside and save it for that more sustainable purchase.
We won't lie to you, the reality of slow consumption paired with consumers' desire for a quick and dirty sale makes it uber challenging to not only gain support but also to turn that support into product sales. Audiences can be unforgiving - “Is that really $200? I could make that at home!” However it’s quite unlikely that they would, nor would be able to. The amount of work that goes into each garment and product is immense. This work is indeed reflected by the cost - and so to be completely transparent we’ve provided a basic monetary breakdown of the new blossom top so you can see exactly what you’re paying for.
A conversation with Cait from Clove Label
The complexities of costing are forever playing on my mind. Even though I know very well what goes into making each garment, mindsets created from years of fast fashion programming are hard to shift.
I find it very refreshing seeing such a change in the industry and the willingness for transparency is yet another positive step in helping people understand what actually goes into the process of making clothes.
Here is an overview for the direct costs associated with the Blossom Top…
Cutting approximately 25min = $10.42
Sewing approximately 3 hours = $75
Fabric = $36.05
Thread = $3
Labels = $2.60
Elastic = $0.60
Resellers fee = $67.50
GST = $29.18
Total = $223.75
Sale Price = $225
Pricing is important to me, I am aware that I am asking people to part with their hard earned money for an item I have made, so I always make sure my heart and soul goes into each garment while placing them at a price point I feel comfortable with. For the stage I am at, making the garments myself, the cutting and sewing expenses aren’t going out, so I am able to filter this back through for other expenses and ones that are often hard to factor in, such as the design process, sampling, photoshoots, courier costs, washing fabric etc. These all take time to carry out and have different costs involved. There is also utilities and other expenses to take into consideration. This is what works for me currently, but I always look at different ways to evolve and refine my thinking.
So, although slowing down and being intentional with our purchases sounds great, the reality of this mindset is that it’s conditional. If it’s cheap enough, if it ships quickly, if it’s made sustainably, if it’s ethically produced… the list goes on. This criteria is demanding and nearing impossible to come by. It’s something I'm sure we all catch ourselves out on, and it's at this point that it's easier to “abandon cart” and go the other route. Don’t worry, you’re not alone - we’ve all been there. But rerouting this is Simple Studios mission. To encourage long term wear, and to invest in each hand that touches the garment before it gets to you.
Be a conditional consumer, but in the way that it benefits the bigger picture.
Follow our journey over on Instagram