But What Does It Really Cost?

by Ari Takata-Vasquez

 We've all come across the tempting discount on already cheap items at big box stores. 'What, that purple and green chiffon top with sequins is only $11? I'm sure I could find some occasion to wear it, right?' WRONG. You don't need it, it's a waste of your money and, more importantly, your time. Sure, it's just one item but before you know it you'll find yourself falling into the rabbit whole of cheap things that might come in handy one day. 

Okay, so now you're saying sure it's easy to ignore the ugly impractical thing that's on sale but what about normal staple items? How could you go wrong with something like a $32 slacks from a big box store? This "practical" item too is a money sink. Let's say you buy said pants and you wear it once a week and it lasts you 4 weeks before it starts to fade or tear (which we all know is optimistic). Each time you wear those pants it's cost you $7.40. Sure, that sounds cheap enough but now that your staple slacks are ruined you'll need to make another trip to the big box store to replace it. You do this little dance to "save money" every month and in a year, you've spent $384 on a pair of poor quality pants that probably didn't look that good to begin with. 

Now let's look at the alternative to this scenario: you go to a local shop where you're greeted by a smiling face and you get help finding a pair of pants that actually fit you. At first, you're hit with sticker shock, "$200 for black pants?!", how is that reasonable? Let's break this down to cost per wear to find out what they really cost. Let's say again that you wear these pants weekly and they last for a year because they're good quality fabric and finished well so they aren't falling apart. $200 divided by 52 wears break down to $3.85/wear. On top of being cheaper in the long term, you look better and feel more confident. No more fidgeting with a poorly cut inseam!

Now comparing the two, the cheap fast fashion pant is almost twice as expensive as the $200 pair of pants. This price is only one of the many reasons you should swear off fast fashion. In addition to being a huge waste of money and time, fast fashion comes with a litany of other problems both ethically and environmentally. 

Now that we've talked about the actual cost of fast-fashion, let's talk about how to make sure your purchases are worth your hard-earned dollars:

1. It's All in the Details: Take a look at the finishing of your garments. Focus on the texture of the fabrics. You spend most of your day in your clothes, so they should be comfortable. 
2. Swear-Off Fast-Fashion: No matter how cheap, it isn't worth it. 5% of our landfills are now made up of clothing and on average, the American-consumer throws away 70 lbs of clothing. 
3. Only Buy American-Made: Only buy domestically made items because there is much more oversight of factory conditions, items are better quality and best of all they're not made by children! No one really wants to wear the $4.90 t-shirt once they think of the 10 year-old working a 10 hours shift to make it. Oh, and did I mention everything at Viscera is American-made?


Will you swear off fast-fashion with us?