10 months ago
Do you know how to recognize good quality in a garment?
Most of the time, after wearing an item a few times, you can see the fabric getting weaker or the garment starting to twist around your body at the seams. Also, in case of long sleeves or pants, it can also happen, that the fabric gives in at your elbows or knees and the garment looses its shape. In a very short amount of time, your favourite garment goes from go-to essential to home wear/pyjama and eventually to the bin.
We are so accustomed to rely on brand names and materials we are used to be offered by the industry. But what exactly defines good quality? Is it the design? The fit? The quality of the material? The longevity of a garment or is it the price/performance ratio? Like everything in life, the answer is not so easy. It’s a mix of all the above.
Ideally, a garment of good or high quality should be an item that hugs your body perfectly and looks like it was designed just for you. It should flatter your body while sitting comfortably, allowing you to move and get on with your day without restrictions. While quite a few items match these requirements, it gets trickier with the rest. Often people don’t know what kind of material they are wearing. Either because they don’t care and never once glanced at the label inside or because the price of the garment was acceptable since it matched the first two requirements.
The origin and the quality of a fabric and its materials say a lot about a brand, their environmental and social responsibility and their social ambition.
Do they use polyester, viscose or a blend of different types of synthetic materials? Do they use cotton, and if yes, is it organic or was produced in a sustainable way? How many and which chemicals were used in the fabric making process? To be on the safe side, you can check a brand’s or a garments certifications. You should always look out for at least Oeko-Tex, GOTS, Organic Cotton Standard, Responsible Wool Standard, Bluedesign, Fairtrade and Cradle to Cradle. Being the granddaughter of a great seamstress, I’ve come to learn at a very young age the importance of great and precise craftmanship. It starts with the way a fabric is cut. If the fabric is not cut precisely along the fibre, the garment will sooner or later start to loose its shape, turn at the seems and in the worst case, fall asymmetrically, making your entire outfit look scruffy.
When it comes to the seams, you should be able to pull at them and not find a gap in them. Ideally you have double or triple stitching and in the best case, the seams are hidden. This will avoid your garment to come undone by a single thread and guarantee a longer life span to your favourite item. Also, make sure that all parts of your garment are sown and not glued or have a hem that has been simply cut to safe time. In both cases this item will end up looking sloppy when the threads will come to fringe out.
With fabric cutting and stitching in mind, if your garment has a pattern, it should perfectly match at the seams. This shows you that that manufacturer has put more thought and effort into production, since matching patterns takes more time and precise craftmanship.
Last but not least, the importance of the information of the manufacturer. The more a manufacturer or a label is transparent about the fabric and the manufacturing process and provides you with detailed care instructions, you know that they expect the garment to last and want you to be able to keep your favourite piece as long as possible.
But, in the end, it’s up to you.
Are you looking for a one off outfit or do you want an item to stay with you through several washing cycles, an item you will be able to create lovely memories in and that will never fail you?