If you watched the recent ABC series War On Waste you were probably as surprised and appalled as I was to find out that in this country (Australia), we throw away 6000 KG of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes. In the episode covering the issue, the waste was put down to our love of cheap, fast, fashion. Buy something, wear it a few times and then throw it away. Because the garments are of such a poor quality, after a few wears they are not in good enough condition to be passed on to another for further wear.
In my recent post Create a Capsule Wardrobe for Your Kiddos I mentioned that I was disappointed in how quickly some of my purchases had begun to wear out. I began to wonder if the garments I was was making were any better, and if so, by how much.
How much longer does a hand made garment last than a fast fashion ‘bargain’? I have decided to put it to the test.
Welcome to the Fast Fashion Death Match
In the pink corner – $3 Fast Fashion
This little number cost me $3 from our local K-Mart store and took me 30 mins of my time to drive down and purchase (10 mins each way drive time and 10 mins to run into the store and buy). It was made in China from 100% Cotton and is a lightweight jersey fabric(regular t-shirt material).
As well as the waste concerns, there are often concerns about ethical production of fast fashion. K-Mart has a lot of information on their policies on ethical production on their website, you can check out a bit of a summery of the info here: http://www.kmart.com.au/wcsstore/Kmart/pdfs/Ethical_Sourcing_Code_Poster.pdf
At one time in the past I seem to remember K-Mart promoting their kids clothes as being tough enough to outlast your kids – I looked on the website to see if they still made claims like these about their products. I found no claims about quality, only about providing clothes at the cheapest price.
In the even pink-er corner – Made by Me
I drafted a pattern for this t-shirt from the one I purchased, drafting the pattern took 20 mins and then cutting the fabric and sewing it up took about an hour (not including the 20 minutes I spent arguing with my new coverstitch machine trying to learn how to use it 🙂 ).
I purchased the fabric from The Remnant Warehouse for $11.21 per meter with free shipping. I used approx 2/5 of a meter ($4.50). This is a cotton elastane fabric. I almost always use a cotton elastane or cotton spandex fabric when I make t-shirts as I believe they hold their shape and wear better (I guess we will know if this is true by the end of the experiment).
For the next month, these two contenders will each be worn twice per week by our expert tester (My 4 year old). They will be put through extreme situational testing (they will be worn to daycare).
Each week I will launder and press each t-shirt and then photograph them.
The t-shirts will be tested based on the following measures of wear-ability:
- Holes / worn areas / faded-ness
At the end of the month I will do a follow up post and add the link here.
In the mean time I would love to hear your thoughts on fast fashion v’s hand made. Have you experienced some big differences in wear and tear? Please comment below and let me know.
Thanks for reading
4 thoughts on “Fast Fashion Death Match – Get ready to throw down!”
Great idea for a post. Fast fashion is a huge concern, not just for waste but I hate to think of all those involved in producing cheap garments – from the cotton farmers right to the sewers. No one needs a three dollar tshirt! I’d rather pay more and see clothes looked after more and people paid better in developing countries. As for handmade vs store bought – I think it depends on where you source your fabric from and the quality of the fabric. I’ve noticed a massive difference – but I tend to stick with Fabrics that aren’t manufactured in China and that are GOTS or organic. They last a long time for me
Thanks for weighing in Marnie 🙂
I agree, how can a $3 t-shirt even exist??
I haven’t compared types of fabrics (GOTS or Organic) just fiber types. I think I will give them a try though.
Oh what a fun experiment! I usually find that handmades last longer and wear better. I usually use better quality fabric that what I see in department stores though.
I think that is what it comes down to, better quality fabrics and pre-washing your fabrics so you don’t get so much shrinking and twisting in your garment 🙂
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