Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Louis -these names used to be harbingers of luxury. As of late the quality associated with the majority of these long-standing fashion houses has been demoted to the bottom rung or eliminated from the equation all together. These names used to mean something. They meant you were getting a quality product that was likely to last you a lifetime. Instead, they are now used as a prop to indicate a certain economic status (real or feigned). “High Quality Lifestyle” is the new objective in which actual craftsmanship has been cast aside. A Louis Vuitton bag is now assembled in China, which for all intents and purposes, is an obvious indicator of dubious caliber. A pair of Gucci shoes from 30 years ago could not compare to it’s modern counterpart.
Outsourced labels aside, there is still some merit to taking brands into account. For me, a certain moniker is an indicator of worth in terms of fabrication and what to expect in terms of longevity. This is especially important when it comes to thrifting. To some, the habit of checking the manufacturer of a specific garment may seem superficial; it’s quite the contrary. When looking for labels, the one thing I avoid is someone’s name adorned in a conspicuous manner, i.e., monograms, logos, etc. This is an example of High Quality Lifestyle as opposed to high quality. Just like a fruit doesn’t need to tell you it’s nutritious, a well-made handbag need not blatantly advertise it’s origins.
At the same token, paying attention to certain labels can indicate it’s nature. For example, I recently purchased a James Perse long-sleeved maxi dress for $15, that most likely retailed for $80. Why? Because as a brand, James Perse specializes in simple, quality basics using only first-rate fibers with attention to cut and detail. On the same trip, I found a 100% grey cashmere cardigan for $10 by a brand called Demylee New York, another company that soley relies on rich, natural textiles. In conjunction with a name known for quality, you’re likely to find an absence of synthetic, cheap materials. It’s been my experience that when it comes to labels, those that fly under the mainstream radar tend to offer more for your money. Names such as Acne, All For the Mountain, Jil Sander and Hengst, just to name a few, demonstrate superiority over ubiquity.
Heed my advice. Take note. Investing in pieces can go a long way. Thrift when possible, as someone’s trash is likely to become your treasure.