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Why It's Worth Spending on Emerging Designers

The Hairpin just published an interesting op-ed piece by Erica Cerulo, one-half of the creative team behind supercool shopping site Of a Kind, in which she makes a case for supporting smaller, up-and-coming designers rather than mass retailers. "Not because it bears some logo of Italian pedigree of because it hung on the wrist of Rachel Bilson," she clarifies at the beginning, "but because it's worth having a few quality things in your wardrobe that you want to hold onto for years and years."

It's certainly true that designer clothing can be—and often is—outrageously high-priced. And with fast fashion becoming more and more popular, it can be tough to choose exactly where to designate your hard-earned shopping dollars. But Cerulo makes a few great points in her piece, which we've outlined below:

1. "The people behind said wares live in neighborhoods like yours and work with factories that treat people like people." Simply put, local production costs more than overseas labor—but the employees of those American manufacturers receive fair wages and more realistic working hours.

2. "Nice materials are pricier." Custom-printed silks and organic fabrics are expensive. PVC and rayon, well, aren't.

3. "There's this thing called scale." Fast fashion outlets that buy fabric in bulk can afford to sell clothes made from that material for less, while designers who produce only tens (or even hundreds) of a specific style from a smaller amount of fabric must naturally charge more for them. The upside of buying designer in this particular case? You're far less likely to spot someone else in your brand-new dress.

4. "The designers care. So much." Designers just starting out in the industry are likely obsessed with the placement of each and every button, zip and seam—and that time, effort and constant deliberation over each garment costs money.

Check out Cerulo's full article here—it's definitely worth a read. And let us know: where do you stand on the emerging designer vs. fast fashion debate?

Photo: Tucker silk tank, $150 at Ofakind.com

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