High-end fashion gets a bad reputation due to the culture that surrounds it. However, for some people, that culture is what makes high-end fashion worth the cost.
Ultimately, it defines the type of person that would purchase a shirt for $300 or a dress for $800. It sounds like a super secretive club that can only be entered if you buy your way in. However, there’s more to high-end fashion than just money and ego.
Do You REALLY Know What Makes High-End Fashion Coveted?
A Misunderstood Design and Production Process
There are a lot of pretentious people in both design and fashion. In fact, the attitude extends to pretty much any creative art. Be it music, art, design or even architecture, people sell their works for ludicrous amounts because they have huge egos or because they think their creations are far superior to others.
Ultimately, something is only worth what someone will pay for it, There are times when designers do bring something new or original to the table. Their items are often worth the price because there are things that can’t be appreciated unless you value the type of art. Let’s take white paintings for example.
Although it may seem pretentious to sell a painting that is completely white, there are a couple of reasons why a seemingly simple creation can actually cost thousands.
For starters, white isn’t a pure colour when it comes to design—it’s always tinted in some way. Whether it’s a subtle shade of blue or a hint of red, white can become a completely different colour when compared to other similar shades.
In fact, pure whites are rarely ever used in designs and it’s more common to see it mixed with another colour to create a gentle shade. To the untrained eye, a white painting would look like a blank canvas. However, to people that appreciate the medium, they can see subtle shades in the whites that make it a little more special.
This is often seen in modern fashion design, where subtle colours are used to create something unique. But it’s overlooked by many because they don’t have a keen eye for the special blends of shades used to create a piece.
Secondly, the movement surrounding a design can have a grand effect on its value. Using white paintings as another example, there was a design concept known as abstract expressionism which focused on using your own personality and emotions as a means to create art.
This resulted in radically distorted paintings with colours thrown together in a seemingly random fashion. Minimalist concepts such as white paintings were created as a rejection of these expressive designs.
The idea was that a creation should in no way resemble the artist, and this helped evolve minimalist design into what it is today. By purchasing white paintings, people expressed their distaste for one type of design in favour of another.
Think of it as a mass protest or a modern version of Kickstarter. The same thing applies to the current fashion industry. If you’re supportive of a certain type of fashion or design, then it’s normal to invest in it so that you can expect more in the future.
This is why high-end fashion can sometimes be strange, experimental or look completely crazy – such as Vivienne Westwood (LOVE her) or Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo of Commes de Garcon – compared to most high street fashion you can find today.
Lastly, we can’t forget the quality of high-end fashion. Most expensive pieces are made by hand or use processes that reinforce the quality and comfort of the design. They fit better than mass-produced clothing, they look fantastic and they last longer. This is reflected in the price tag, and it’s normal for a well-constructed piece of clothing to cost more based on the production process.
In short, the production and design processes are often misunderstood. Fashion is ultimately a piece of artwork and there are many things that go into a design.
The more you understand the process, the more appreciative you’ll become of the concepts and ideas that fashion designers put out.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything they touch turns to gold. Many fashion designers create strange or weird designs that don’t sell and are ridiculed, but it’s all about the experimental process.
Raising Costs for Exclusivity
We all want to stand out. No one wants to wear the same uniform clothing that others do and we want to express ourselves through fashion. While it’s possible to do this on a budget with cheap clothing from regular high street stores, you’ll find that unique designs that express your style will come at a premium.
This is because many clothing labels such as Supreme, Mela Purdie and Levi’s have collections of clothing in addition to permanent items. These collections are exclusive because they’re only sold during a specific period of time, which is why you’ll see huge lines outside of major clothing brands.
Due to these exclusive designs, the retail prices can sometimes be incredibly high. It’s not unlikely to see a shirt for $600 or a jacket for $1,000. Not only do these cost a lot due to how exclusive they are, but people occasionally buy them to resell at a later date because they fetch incredible sums of money due to their rarity.
Once a clothing label has established themselves as the latest trend, they can honestly start charging however much they want for their products because it increases the exclusive nature of them. After all, how often are you going to see someone wearing a shirt that costs over $400?
Many people groan at the idea of paying so much, but others like to stand out and that’s how they warrant the cost of high-end fashion.
Unique designs, fantastic construction and an air of exclusivity are what cause these garments to become so expensive. Some are more than willing to pay exorbitant prices for something different, especially if it follows a fashion trend they personally enjoy. Others prefer to wear whatever clothing fits them, and that’s absolutely fine.
There’s nothing wrong with paying higher prices for something that can only be experienced once. Whether you’re buying new jewellry, treating yourself at a fancy restaurant or paying for a first class flight, it’s often the experience that makes something worth its price tag and not so much the item you are buying.
If you wear something that looks unique and completely different from all of the other fashion trends out there, you’ll definitely get some looks.
However, as long as you enjoy that style and it makes you feel comfortable, then it will feel much better than simply wearing something that everyone else finds “normal” or “acceptable”.
Value Is in Your Eye
Everyone perceives value differently. Some of us find that paying over $50 for a shirt is absolutely ridiculous and should never be done. Others are absolutely fine shelling out $300 for a shirt as long as it’s from an exclusive collection and a designer that makes great fashion.
It all depends on what your personal interests are and how you align with the trends that are being set. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself, and if you have a strong interest in something then there’s nothing wrong with paying extra for it.
So the next time someone questions you about your fashion choices and the money you pay, or even if you feel bad looking at a dress that costs $100, remember that value is in your own eye.
What you decide to pay for something shouldn’t be influenced by other people who don’t appreciate or enjoy the same type of design and fashion as you do.