Marketing tries to convince us very early on that expensive products are better than cheaper options, especially when it comes to clothing. To justify this claim, manufacturers (and advertisers) swear that more expensive items are made with more expensive materials or parts and therefore are better and last longer.
There is some truth to this concept. After all, a garment produced by a recognized manufacturer with the best materials will have higher quality than a similar but much cheaper item whose origin is unknown, right?
Well, a recent study conducted by the University of Leeds suggests that low-cost clothing can sometimes outlast famous brand products. The researchers analyzed samples of T-shirts and jeans from several brands and different prices and concluded that some cheaper pieces had longer fabric durability.
So, why do people still prefer expensive things after all? Let’s take a look at some features of this phenomenon to understand why products that cost more are not always worth the price you pay.
In addition to the most obvious reason to buy expensive clothes (the durability of the materials), there is always the hype behind the price. Marketing tricks try to sell the idea that buying/owning expensive stuff makes people feel better.
Here are some popular ideas associated with the high value of branded products:
On top of all that, many consumers associate the high price of a product with something rare and harder for most people to obtain. Owning an expensive/branded item gives some people a certain feeling of exclusivity as if they were part of an elite or select group. And the branded item continues to have an associated value, practically becoming an investment – it will be possible to resell it at a satisfactory price in the future.
Sustainable fashion is expensive, but it is also a case where it’s worth paying a little more to have products with a lower environmental impact. A 2021 research showed that 85 percent of consumers decided to be more sustainable in the past five years, even if it means paying a little more. But, why do sustainable products cost more?
First of all, using natural resources in a balanced way leads to a higher price. One of the reasons is that production is less “assembly line” and more humanized. Removing wool from a sheep manually and without hurting the animal takes more time and effort, so this value will be added to the price tag. And the certificates that confirm that these products are organic, which help make manufacturing companies more reliable, are also expensive.
Finally, unlike many big brands involved in scandals with slave labor in poor countries, sustainable fashion is associated with companies dedicated to fair treatment, working conditions, and wages for their workers, which also ends up increasing the price of the final product.
Even if none of this matters to the consumer, the awareness of being eco-friendly and consuming only natural or ecological products speaks louder, leading many people to pay more for something that impacts less on the environment.
Expensive is not always better, as we have seen, even in terms of waste. Although cheap clothes are generally associated with less durability and end up in the (non-recyclable) trash more quickly, there are also large brands known for wasteful practices.
When weighing the pros and cons of buying cheaper or more expensive clothes, always balance the eco/sustainable factor. And if you really decide to resort to mass-produced, low-cost garments, remember that at least you will have the following advantages over branded products:
We live in a materialistic world where better ended up being associated with a higher price, although this cannot always be confirmed. While durability may justify the higher cost, researchers have shown that a high price does not always guarantee that a product or garment will actually last longer than its cheaper counterpart.
This means you do not have to and shouldn’t always opt for the most expensive product in the store. Do some price research before you buy, read reviews of more expensive or cheaper brands, and assess whether it’s worth spending more or less money on.