Shoppers justify the prices of designer clothing

Thomas Cheang

Many shoppers wonder why designer clothing and accessories are so costly. A Hermes Birkin bag can cost you anywhere from $12,000 to more than $100,000. That one-of-a-kind T-shirt from Givenchy could cost a customer $800 to $950. Some may say it is justifiable, some may not agree. 

Sara Marckett, associate professor for apparel, events and hospitality management, is also the coauthor of the sixth edition of “Survey of Historic Costume,” along with Phyllis Tortora.

Marcketti said that the high price tag is often caused by the “use of higher-end materials and processes” for the designer item. However, some of these companies may charge more “so that they can support their couture lines.”

Marcketti said that the high price tag is only justifiable if a student has the budget for it, and students should not want to go into debt because they are purchasing designer items.

Amanda Lensch, lecturer for apparel, merchandising and design, said that designer items definitely stand out in terms of quality and construction and will stand the test of time if a student has the budget for an item and feels it is a necessity. 

However, she said if she would purchase a piece for herself, she would go for a classic piece from a label rather than something considered trendy. She said the price tag of a trendy item is too high to be justifiable and doesn’t seem practical enough to spend money on. 

Xinyue Shen, senior in advertising, said that the price tag is justifiable.

“You are buying something special, and [the items] definitely stand out from the crowd,” Shen said. “The quality and design is different from what you would see out there.”

According to Shen, it really depends on the person. Some could justify spending a large amount of money on items like a game console, and some could justify spending that money on designer goods. It depends on the person’s funds and interests. 

Reasons as to why items can be more expensive than others could be materials used, time spent to create the product and where in the world it may have been created. Doing research is suggested before purchasing an item from a designer label, especially when buying an item online.

Ann Thye, academic adviser in apparel, events and hospitality management, said that if students are not planning to purchase designer goods, educating oneself on how to spot a designer item can be important skill to have. Spotting goods at places like consignment shops can come in handy when looking for a designer item at a lower cost. 

Take a trip to a local consignment shop in Ames to look for designer goods. One may be surprised at what they might find.