Why has clothing quality gone down?

Many people have noticed and commented that clothing quality is increasingly getting worse. It’s something I’ve noticed myself. I have shirts from college that have held up just fine, and even some socks from middle school (American Eagle!) that are perfectly good.

And then I have a pair of chinos from Gap that I just washed for the first time. There are now vertical white lines all down both pant legs, where the dye got washed out unevenly (see photos below). They’ve also stretched out a full size since I bought them.

DON’T BUY THESE. Image from Gap

 

 

After one wash… 🙁

The general consensus is that clothing quality has gone down sharply in recent years. To figure out why, let’s discuss the fashion industry in recent years, and the pressure faced by manufacturers to implement cost cutting measures that affect the quality of our clothing.

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Why are my t-shirts so sheer?

overly sheer t-shirt
A tissue tee, available for $62. Photo from Shopbop

I just had to throw out yet another t-shirt that I bought last summer. It had small holes in the sleeves and had lost its shape, especially in the collar. I didn’t think much about it when I bought it–it was $5 at a sample sale. I don’t think I even bothered trying it on.

It was a tissue tee.

Tissue tees, which have other names like slub-knit, are really common in the women’s apparel market today. You’ve probably seen them at retailers ranging from Old Navy to Neiman Marcus. They’re thin, flowy shirts with a loose shape that hang off your body a little.

Even though these tees come in every color, all of them tend to be pretty sheer–even in black. One of the other tees I got rid of, also purchased last year, is a dark grey. Somehow, even that shirt is sheer. I was frustrated and talked about this with my dad, who has worked as a vendor in the garment industry for 35 years.

Read moreWhy are my t-shirts so sheer?