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Why So Expensive?


Why is Australian made and handmade so expensive?

Firstly, most people’s frame of reference is Kmart, H&M, Target, Ally or any other fast fashion brand.

Their prices are so cheap because pretty much no one in the production or supply chain is getting paid properly. It costs a lot more to grow the cotton, process it and send it overseas to be turned into textiles - not to mention printing and dying, then sent to be cut out then sewn and sent back here – than the $30 you paid for your t-shirt. Think about all the corners that have to be cut to make that possible. You’re not really paying for the product, someone else, their environment and community is paying the true cost. There’s helpful YouTube clips like the “Story of Stuff” or documentaries like the “The True Cost of Fashion” that explains this better than I can please check them out.

Secondly, onshore production cost more. Why? We have laws about award wages. This applies to every industry and job in Australia. This is enforced by Fair Work, Australia. This includes the fashion, textile and footwear industry.

When you look at the price of Australian made labels, those are based on the fact that the people in the production and supply chain are being paid properly.

How often have you thought something looks simple and it can’t possibly take that long to sew? You might be right. But I know you haven’t considered that fabric doesn’t just magically appear next to my machine already in the required shapes all on it’s own. A lot has to happen before I even sit down at my machine.

For any Fashion label to produce just one piece of clothing, multiple people and their skills need to be employed. Designer. Patternmaker. Lay and Cut. Production Machinist. Quality Control. Pressing. Just to name a few.

There’s also pre-production to be considered. A design needs to be perfected before it can be put into production, this means samples need to be made so that sizing, fit and construction issues can be fixed or addressed. Again multiple people are involved in this process all of them need to be paid for their work. That cost is ultimately factored into the final price of a garment.

Then there’s also the cost of raw materials, not just fabric and thread. Buttons, zippers, eyelets, fusing, facing, lining, labels, care and content label (a legal requirement, by the way) are a part of the price of a garment. Even overheads are included (usually worked out at 10% of production/material cost) tools, machines, electricity ect, everything that it costs to run a business is factored into the product’s price.

THIS IS STANDARD BUSINESS PRACTICE, EVERY BUSINESS THAT MAKES A PRODUCT FACTORS ALL OF THIS INTO THE FINAL RETAIL PRICE OF THE PRODUCT. Why should I be any different? Just because I do all of the pre-production and production personally?

When I’m part of this process for other labels I get paid for it. Yes, I’m actually legit, other labels, right here in Brisbane, pay me to make patterns for their designs, lay and cut fabric and I sew their samples and the final garments that go into stores.

My prices are based on normal business practices here in Australia.

I’m still a business. Just a small one.