Sound confusing? What if you actually spent a little more money on, say, a piece of clothing, causing you to buy less and ultimately save more? At the ripe old age of 52, I have seen firsthand the denigration of quality among our goods over the last few decades. This might seem practical and intuitive once I lay it all out. If you’re looking to have or consume less while truly getting more, read on…
My mother had impeccable style and I definitely inherited her love of clothing. I clearly remember her beautiful outfits and her red lipstick, shopping with her was always a treat. I think it was passed down implicitly to buy the best you could which obviously led to buying fewer items. The clothing in my early teen years, Esprit de Corp separates (that I always ironed) or my later Benetton sweaters (which I neatly folded with a magazine for uniformity), laster for YEARS. Sure, there was a Judy’s or Contempo Casual piece here and there, but they were trendy and didn’t hold up well.
The term “consumer engineering” was coined at the end of the Great Depression to push the economy through consumer goods and in 1932, the term and concept of “planned obsolescence” was introduced. Basically, buy new, replace, buy, replace. Designers looked at 3 functions when designing: appearance, functionality, and manufacturability. They shared an equal piece of a pie chart…at first. The term “fast fashion” came about as a fashion reaction to Zara in the 1990’s. This was due to consumerism and customers wanting new goods often and so the downhill slide began.
In the last 10 years, costs of labor and materials increased dramatically, leading to a decline in quality. For manufacturers to make a profit, something had to give. For example, if you bought a pair of jeans For $50 ten years ago, and wanted to replace them today for the same amount of money, you’re basically buying a $10 pair of jeans for $50. It stands to reason that if you spend $75, you’ll get the old $50 quality and pay more but spend less on replacement costs a year or two down the road. I’m just throwing numbers out here, but you get the idea. This actually is true of all manufactured goods but I’m using clothes as an example.
My point in all of this is to bring an awareness to how we shop and what we buy. We’re all more thoughtful of our environmental footprint (hopefully) and if you follow me as an organizer, I try to put thought into resourcefulness and what we bring into our homes. I hope this serves as a little food for thought the next time you go shopping. As always, I’m wishing you the best!