Fit (According to the Fast/Cheap Fashion Industry)

There are many secrets the FCF (fast/cheap fashion) industry doesn’t want you to know.  One is probably gnawing at the bone of all of us that the labor force used to assembly clothing borders on slave labor.  And it’s something we all enable when we buy FCF out there.

But there are other secrets too.  Because what we really don’t want to face is the same indifference and callousness with which the industry looks at one end of the FCF persons involved in their business is the same way they look at the other end – – the consumer.   They treat the consumer with as much disdain as they do the people who assemble the garments.

As far as the FCF is concerned both ends are just as gullible and vulnerable.  Not only do they expect the worker to receive practically nothing in compensation, so do they expect the consumer to receive practically nothing when they purchase the garment.

Sounds radical doesn’t it.  But let’s look at this a little closer:

The FCF industry wants you to feel out fashion, even after you have just purchased from them. And here’s the worst part, the consumer seems to be OK with that.  It’s like, from the eyes of the consumer, this is all that’s out there and I have to take it or lump it.  They are working from a low quality/high volume business model and need the consumer to feel out of fashion immediately after purchasing a garment.

How about this one:  discounted “designer” garments aren’t really designer at all – deals are struck with the designer to use the label on inferior clothing making the consumer believe that they are getting a designer garment for fractions on the dollar.

The clothing is designed to fall apart.  WHAT?!!!!  Fall apart?!!!!  Now here is where I really ring home, cause I have a lot of would-be students (mostly quilters) who argue, “Why would I spend an entire day sewing a skirt or top that I could buy for $7.98?”  Why indeed.  Maybe because you’re creating an entirely different garment than what you are comparing it to.

Comparing your made garments to what you buy in the store (and almost everything you buy in the store is far worse than what you make), is like comparing WalMart fashions to an Armani jacket from Milan – IT AIN’T THE SAME THING – it’s not even close to the same thing.

Where in the world did we get the impression that self-customed clothing is worse than what we buy in the store?  It’s not, and the FCF industry wants to make sure you don’t discover this.  They are doing everything they can to keep you from looking at that little man behind the curtain over there, and looking at the wonderful beautiful clothing on the model that will never even come close to fitting you the same way at home!

These are just three of some other very disheartening and eye-opening comments from an article, but or me the deeper meaning here is that the FCF industry looks upon equal arrogance and disregard at the consumer and the worker.  They could care less about the outcome of their product, only that it stay together long enough to make it in and out of the store and could care less how the garment is worn, if it’s worn, or how long it’s worn.

The industry looks on the consumer as a group of stupid, programmable addicts, too weak, too lazy and too set-in-their ways to change and therefore are treated like little tiny dots on a map or spreadsheet to move around as they choose, not how the consumer chooses.

And I realize I sound like some wild, crazy banshee shouting at the top of my lungs.  But I have to tell you it’s real hard for me to understand  this as I have spent the last 40 years with a closet full of all the clothes I could ever want, without having to sew 24/7 or even 10/7 to get there.  So things like “I can’t be fit,” or “I don’t have the time,” or “It’s too complicated to learn,” just don’t work for me.  Now if you come at me with “I just don’t want to learn to sew,” that’s fine.  That just means you’re going to have to re-learn the value of REAL clothes, not FCF clothes.


  1. I love the fast cheap fashion industry! The fact that most people are wearing poorly made, ill fitting garments gave me confidence to wear my self made garments as I was learning to sew and fit. (compared to what everyone else is wearing it was fine, even with a crooked seam here, or an imperfectly fitted bodice there) Now, I get asked all the time where I get my clothes. 🙂 People also assume I have lost weight (wish I had) when I wear my self made, well fitting clothing. I am a very high waisted pear shape. I could NEVER find a dress that fit me in stores, if I could get it over my hips you could fit another person in at the bust lol.

    • You know I guess what bothers me is that they are getting hoodwinked into thinking that what the are buying is worth something – it’s not! And you’re ahead of the game cause YOU GET IT!! But it’s like you have to get off the addiction first and then you can see why it’s so bad!!! Kudos for you for sewing your beautiful clothes!!!

  2. Bravo! Very well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. The only way the workers can make any money is to sew as fast as they can. Think piece-work isn’t supposed to exist anymore? At least not in the USA? Think again. Workers are being paid a few cents per item. This translates into garments that even a beginning sewer can beat. The workers just don’t have the time to care about quality, and the industry doesn’t care at all.

    This applies to all fabric products. I have a set of curtains that were made so cheaply that the stitching all came out the first time I washed them – using the gentle/hand wash cycle. I had ruffles unfurling all over the place. I re-stitched everything myself and they have held up just fine in the wash.

  3. I think those who say “why would I spend an entire day sewing a skirt I can get for 7.98?” need to ask themselves “why would I spend weeks sewing all those pieces together when I can buy a beautiful bedspread/quilt at JCPenny’s in five minutes?”

    • Exactly Bunny – they say they would quilt because they love the sewing, and they “can’t” fit themselves. For me this is more propagandizing from the FCF industry….you can’t be fit (cause if we can’t fit you no one can), so don’t try….therefore wear stretch garments that are too small and show every ripple in your bod, or wear bags or sacks that are so large that it shows nothing. What about in between? What about something that flatters and fits? It’s too much fit or none at all with the FCF industry, cause they don’t want the expense of having to fit a lot of folks.

  4. For several decades, I’ve noticed the tendency of buttons on RTW to fall off after a couple wearings. And only on women’s clothing, not men’s…WHY??? More recently, it’s not just the buttons or the seam stitching letting go, but the fabric itself fails – wears through, pills, snags, etc. And still, menswear seems a bit less prone to those issues.

    Recently we went through Mom’s clothing to donate, and we found a lovely wool jacket and wool trousers from the 60s, I think. I kept them, because they were so nicely made (the trousers still had the ILGWU label). Even though they are RTW, probably from a department store, the change in quality is shocking.

  5. There are a few things I will continue to buy that are cheap. Mainly the things that I wear but aren’t really seen, tanks for under sheer tops, plain tee shirts (plain tee I usually tailor myself to fit right) but my plan is in the next few years to plan out a wardrobe to be proud of for years. I have about 10% of my wardrobe handmade at this point and want to swap it to 90% handmade and tailored to me. We are worth comfy and well made and well tailor clothes.

    • Amber – here’s a challenge for you: Try just making just one of those tanks or tee shirts for yourself and see how you like them. Here’s the thing I found – I like them so much better than anything I can buy that the white and black tank I made (which had just the right neckline, was long – FCF is never long enough, shaped just fabulously – not too tight in the hips but shows off my waist) and now I’m finding that I don’t need another tank top or another tee- I have my faves, they stay in shape longer, are made better (I made some bamboo knit ones that are so fabulous and breathe just beautifully), and have just the right look to go with my other clothes. I haven’t tried underwear yet, but am looking for an ecologically safe and humane firm to buy from.

      Try this once and see what you end up with. To be honest, I was shocked (remember I’ve been sewing for myself for over 40 years), and about 5 years I started doing all my own activewear, and REALLY noticed a huge difference, not only in style, but in the quality of clothes I was getting.

      Stay with it, because what you will find when you start sewing your own clothes is that you will start tweaking those looks a little every time you make a new jacket or top or whatever piece you make, and they will only get better and better. Pretty soon you will have your wardrobe down to just the most favorite things of all in your closet and it’s such a joy to open your closet and see everything that you love in it!

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