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Dana Blackburn
Debra Dagher
UWRT 1102 002
14 June 2015
Rip Off
All I heard was the repetitive screeching of metal versus metal on the clothing
rack as I was going through shirts, trying to find some for the hot months ahead. I was in
search of a simple, short-sleeved top that was cool enough for summer, but was also
modest. It was hard to find something that was not see-through or poorly made. I was
willing to try on anything that came close to these seemingly loose standards, but as I
made my way to the dressing room, I realized I only had three shirts (and one was the
same shirt, but in two different sizes). I tried them on only because they were brands I
knew and were still not made of quality fabric. I ended up buying two of them, hurting
because two shirts just cost me about sixty dollars, and spent the rest of the day in the
mall without getting my wallet out, even though sale signs haunted every store window.
Every shirt I came in contact with had the exact same issue; I should not be able to see
my hand through the fabric of a shirt. If I can see my own hand through the fabric of a
shirt, imagine what other people could see. I made my way home and became frustrated
that the society we live in encourages young women to wear clothing that barely covers
their bodies. I was curious as to why these cheaply made products flooded the stores. Last
summer, I gave into buying cheap clothes. Before the summer was over, they were falling
apart. I learned my lesson: these days, quality comes at a price, if quality is even
available. Why do people pay for these items? The clothes end up falling apart. Its like

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people are throwing money down the drain. More importantly, where is the quality in
quality clothing?
This cannot only affect me. I wonder what other girls my age are thinking about
their clothing. I wonder what parents are thinking about what their teenage girls are
wearing. I wonder what women think of this. I have noticed the same issue in all of these
demographics and chances are, that it is happening to mens clothing, as well. But, for
now, I am going to focus on young women who are interested in fashion. After all, young
women are the ones who set the trends these days. These young women do not know it,
but they are basically throwing money away and are setting a trend for the rest of their
lives, which will eventually affect the attire standards of future generations. The fabric
used for these shirts will likely develop holes or rip within a couple months, resulting in
garbage. If the shirt had been made of better fabric, the shirt would last longer. This
problem is significant because companies who participate in fast fashion are ripping off
their customers. They save fabric for their clothing, but keep the prices the same as if the
clothes were of decent quality.
Beginning years ago, proper attire was expected for even the lowest of classes.
However, it was easier to possess it than it is today. Common women reused their
husbands well-made shirts to make dresses, clothes for their children, and quilts with the
remaining fabric. Choice of Clothing explains that even if an item is priced more but is
a quality item, then it is a better buy in the long run, due to the ways the piece can be
reused. This lesson was taught to school aged children over one hundred years ago.
Todays children are taught nothing about how to maintain clothing when necessary,
which leads them to just throwing away pieces, especially when the material easily falls

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apart. But, why is the material falling apart? Cotton Inc. claimed that the price of cotton
increased dramatically and in order to provide people clothing, they would have to lessen
the amount of cotton in clothing because people refuse to pay more for the regular
amount of cotton. This act was out of the ordinary because customers had usually
preferred quality over price. Now that consumers have been paying the same price for
lower quality items, Cotton Inc. has received numerous complaints about the lessened
durability. However, when cheap clothes first hit the shelves, consumers bought as much
as they could. According to Jayne ODonnells article, consumers are likely to spend a lot
of money on a lot of cheap clothes, only for them to fall apart after a few wears. She
claimed that splurging on a high quality, tailored suit will bring the consumer more
satisfaction due to the pride in affording something like that and he is more likely to wear
it (and it not fall apart), which contributes to, what the author calls, the value equation.
The value equation helps shoppers in finding quality pieces along specific guidelines
on how a piece is made; for example, the material should match up if it is a pattern and
the weave should be the same way. The value equation inhibits our current tendency to
confuse value and price. Something of value can be a quality item that did not cost as
much. Another factor in the quality of material is if it is one hundred percent cotton or if
it is a cotton blend. Parija Kavilanz discusses how companies utilize cotton to remain
profitable, but still cut back their usage and use other materials, like polyester. On top of
that, instead of changing the price, companies keep the price the same, but repackage
products in smaller amounts. In the end, consumers are ending up with less and less
cotton every time we purchase clothing. It is sad to think that in order to own something
of true quality, the item must come from a luxury brand. From a study, Juliane Carduck

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showed that vertical brand extensions are more successful when an average brand
increases their products, as compared to a luxury brand degrading their products. These
results only make sense. Chances are that the upgraded items will not cost as much as
the degraded luxury items, either (all because the name on the tag). Through this
research, I have found that my main question has been partially answered. Quality has
gone down the drain because, for one, the economic situation is bad. No one wants to pay
more for clothes when they can have cheap clothes now. They do not care about what
happens when they fall apart because they throw the clothes away. They do not think
about how they are actually throwing money away because, individually, the pieces are
cheap. But, what effect does this have on the environment? What effect will this have on
the economy ten years from now? What effect will these cheap trends leave on young
generations?
Parija Kavilanzs claim that manufacturers like to use less cotton for the same
priced clothing is the best insight to my question. It encouraged me to do a little research
on the cotton industry to check out the price of cotton. So, I did. I found that the price of
cotton skyrocketed in 2011. According to Cotton Inc., the price of cotton is down, now,
but clothing continues to get thinner. In other words, companies are making money by
selling cheaper clothes at the same price quality clothes used to be sold at. My personal
opinion is that companies have lost the integrity they used to have. Some customers are
willing to pay for quality items, but we are not even offered them. Companies just want
to get products sold as fast as possible and have the shortest turnaround time, also known
as fast fashion. There is no integrity in this cycle. Using material so thin you can see

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through it is not integrity. Making clothes so they fall apart is not integrity. Marking
down prices just to get products sold is not integrity.
I originally believed something was wrong on the business side of the matter.
After research, I proved myself true. The research helped me learn to be weary when
shopping and to look for specific standards on clothes. I will continue to support
manufactures that make quality items, priced low or high. I hope you do the same.
Business has always gone by supply and demand. As long as companies supply cheap
clothes, many people will purchase them, resulting in more demand and the cycle
continues. Now that the economy is back in a decent place, why is cheap still the style?
I want to know the reason why young women fuel this. Is it a loss of standards? Is it to
get attention? Is there a miscommunication between businesses and consumers? Do
consumers still want to pay the price for their clothes to fall apart? Or, was that a short
trend when the economy was weak? Why dont fabric manufacturers use the standard
amount of cotton since it is so cheap and bring back quality?

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Works Cited
"Choice of Clothing." Domestic Economy: Adapted to the Code of 1880. London: W. &
R. Chambers, 1880. 11+. Book.
Kavilanz, Parija. "Chintzy T-shirts and Fake Pockets Hot in 2011." CNNMoney. Cable
News Network, 18 Feb. 2011. Web. 6 June 2015. Print.
Nadine, Hennigs, Wiedmann Klaus-Peter, Behrens Stefan, Klarmann Christiane, and
Carduck Juliane. "Brand Extensions : a Successful Strategy in Luxury Fashion
Branding? Assessing Consumers Implicit Associations." Journal of Fashion
Marketing and Management. 17.4 (2013): 390-402. Peer Reviewed Article.
O'Donnell, Jayne, and Erin Kutz. "Cheap Clothes Are a Bad Investment." Usa Today.
(2008). Peer Reviewed Article.
"The Quality Conundrum." The Quality Conundrum - Cotton Incorporated. Cotton Inc.,
Mar. 2012. Web. 07 June 2015. Print.