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Here is where to buy affordable, high-quality clothing that lasts

Posted on in Fashion by Mariusz Falkiewicz

Here is where to buy affordable, high-quality clothing that lasts

This question comes up so frequently: Where can I buy high-quality clothes, that are affordable and made to last?

We all secretly want to know the answer.

So today, I'll let you on to something that not many realize:

Fashion shoppers who don’t obsess over brands, but instead value quality, longevity, and originality should turn to independent fashion brands for their buying needs.

There is a lot to like, especially when it comes to design and quality-to-price ratio.

Before we go over all the benefit in detail, let's first consider what’s really available to consumers in terms of mainstream fashion today.

On one end of the landscape, you have the over-abundance of fast fashion retailers with likes of Zara, H&M, Forever 21, Primark, (the list just keeps growing), flooding the market with cheap apparel and inferior-quality footwear.

Whoever bought anything fast fashion knows how fast it turns unusable. You’ll be lucky if a garment lasts more than a season; add few washes in between and you can forget about the original size and color. Shoes? These usually go in a matter of months when the soles split.

On the opposite end of the fashion scene, you can find more premium and reputable brands like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, or Northface. These usually sell higher-quality apparel, but not always. They always manage, however, to charge a steep markup on products. That's because they recognize how little competition there really is when it comes to quality fashion unless of course, you’re willing to go high-end, which most of us cannot afford.

Thus, fashion buyers looking to buy quality, lasting clothes are left with little choice other than to buy from premium brands. So, we swallow our pride, cough up the cash, and hope the fashion article we just bought will hold its value and won’t go out of style soon.

But what if you’re not really into buying cheap, disposable clothing, and you’re also not dressing up for your next outdoor adventure in the Himalayas? What if you’re after quality, everyday apparel to look stylish, or wish to achieve that casual-chic look without breaking the bank?

Independent Clothing Brands Come to Rescue

As new entrants into the very competitive marketplace, emerging fashion brands, and independent designers need to pay extra attention and care when it comes to selecting materials used for the production and also to ensure that a certain level of manufacturing quality is met with every product.

It's easy to be chic and original with original designers of slow fashion movement

After all, first impressions count, and when you’re an unknown brand you can only attract new customers, establish a good reputation, and earn the trust of clients by releasing the very best product you’re capable of making. Having original style and innovative design probably won't hurt either and will further separate the brand from its competitors.

When it Comes to Production, the Quality is There

Independent designers usually manufacture their collections in limited-editions. These are often handcrafted by the lead designer him/herself with a help of few assistants, or, in case of larger production, it gets outsourced to local, specialized artisans who fabricate the pieces with high-quality, fabrics and locally-sourced leather.

Does the process sound somewhat familiar?

If it does, then it’s because it is considerably similar to how the super high-end fashion is made, a.k.a haute couture. Except, with independent designers, you’re acquiring similar quality at a fraction of the cost associated with buying from the luxury, made-to-order brands.

Made to Last, Yet Affordable to Buy

Considering so far mentioned pros, you might be inclined to think that the price would be somewhat prohibitive - but thankfully, you'd be wrong. Depending on your needs and where you look, you can generally shop independent fashion brands at fair prices.

With apparel that starting at €50, and leather footwear and handbags starting at €60-€80, you're getting an exceptional value considering that the product is original, handmade by a designer, and has the quality that not only looks great but will serve you for years to come.

High-quality and affordable leather bags from independent designers start at just €69

While affordability, quality, and durability are the top three reasons behind our recommendation to buy from independent fashion brands, there is also another important but less tangible rationale why we love and support them.

Sustainability and Ethics Play an Important Role

Majority of contemporary European fashion brands employ sustainable design philosophy and ethically-sound production standards.

This is due to two main reasons:

First, the owners are often eco and ethically-conscious themselves and thus focus their efforts to appeal to equally aware consumers (at least in the case of designers we carry).

Second, these brands are simply far too small to face the demand pressure (or shareholder pressure) and lack the manufacturing necessity to consider moving their production overseas. Thus, as domestic operators, they obey strict European laws and regulations dictating the types of materials and manufacturing standards permitted for production. These explicitly prohibit, for example, the use of harsh, caustic chemicals or highly-toxic pollutants for tending, tanning, or any other activity involving the processing and production of leather and natural fabrics. 

Then, there are also aspects of fair-trade and employment standards.

Independent brands typically don’t exploit sweatshop labor as part of their modus operandi designed to minimize the costs and maximize the profit, which is sadly what large multinationals do (and practically all fast fashion brands that we’re aware of). 

Fast fashion is the best kind of a deal, but only for corporate owners who exploit cheap labor and gullible consumers to maximize the revenue

So, if you’re as concerned about ethics and sustainability as we are, then the above-mentioned reasons could help you decide to buy from local, independent brands next time you’re on the lookout for some designer clothes or a pair of handmade boots. 

Finally, on the subject of local production, it’s worth mentioning that by investing in independent brands you're also supporting the growth of local businesses and contribute to the domestic economy. 

If this seems like a rather remote reason to contemplate buying your next garment from a less-known designer, then consider this - not everyone dreams about working at Amazon fulfillment center or becoming a sales assistant at a fast fashion chain earning a minimum wage. 

Think about it:

Countries with a large number of small to medium-sized businesses, and thus, a large middle class, typically exhibit a strong economic growth and low disparity in wealth distribution between the classes (i.e. Germany, UK or U.S). This, in turn, affects the financial well-being of an average citizen.

So, where do we recommend to buy affordable, high-quality clothes from independent fashion brands?

Normally, that would be a tough task, because small, independent operators lack the marketing budget to compete against the industry incumbents, so you won’t hear about them in the mainstream media or discover them in your local department store. 

Thanks to the power of the internet, however, it is a breeze.

With NEW DRESS CODE.com, you can discover and buy sustainable clothing, shoes, and handbags from the leading independent, slow-fashion brands at affordable prices, shipped for free (EU). All brands and designers we feature are eco-friendly and engage in fair-trade fashion.

Our primary focus is timeless, made-to-last fashion with a contemporary touch, but we also feature designers that we simply couldn’t pass up for their originality.

So go on, don’t be shy and have a look! Please also don’t forget to share with us what you think!

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