So What Are You Actually Paying For? June 15, 2018 00:00

Sometimes it's just so much cheaper and more convenient to pop off to the mall and buy a set of pjs. I did this myself for many years. 

If you have ever sewed anything yourself, it might have crossed your mind how it can be possible to pay around R500 for a full set of pjs, when you take into account the price of fabric and trim, and the colossal amount of time it takes to stitch it up. 

Try to imagine the life of a person working for a fast fashion company. Imagine how little you must get paid and under what appalling conditions you would work in to get clothing that cheap.

And in the end, who benefits from your money? Usually a nameless, faceless corporation.

Let me break down for you what you pay for when you buy a Claudia Moruzzi pyjama set.

Wholesale fabric is certainly less than what you'd pay at your local haberdashery, but it is still expensive. If you take into account that a kimono uses nearly three and a half metres of fabric, this starts adding up. 

Depending on the type of fabric and the quality, prices vary greatly. For my range, fabric generally costs between R50.00-R75.00 per metre. Of this fabric, some of it will have tiny flaws which needs to be discarded, pushing the average price up higher depending on how much needs to be ditched.

Buttons cost about R2.00 per button, excluding the fabric used to cover them. Each garment has between 8-12 buttons, and an extra one stitched inside in case one gets lost and needs to be replaced.

The piping used to trim my Winter range costs just over R3.00 per metre - more if I pick custom colours like I did with my last collection. Each garment can use up to 6 or 7 metres of piping.

Certain pieces of fabric that need reinforcement so they don't become misshapen like collars and button stands, need to be fused. This can be done very cheaply with paper fusing, but I've opted for a better quality, softer, woven fusing which is about quadruple the price of paper fusing. 

Add that to labels, elastic and wash/cares, and you're looking at about another R50.00.

The construction of the garment depends on the intricacy of the design, the time it takes, how easy the fabric is to work with, and weirdly, how many buttonholes each garment has, as these are done by a specialist.

Here the sky is the limit. I've paid anywhere between R90.00 and R300.00 per garment, but the average is R170.00. It is easy to find somewhere that manufactures ridiculously cheap, but the trouble is that the workers aren't adequately reimbursed, and here, you certainly get what you pay for. Where a garment is hastily and cheaply put together, you can be sure it'll fall apart pretty soon.

With the garment finished, we can now start adding on general costs like packaging, social media marketing and advertising, model fees, shoot location fees, photography, research and salaries. 

Whatever is leftover after all of that, gets reinvested for future collections and new exciting designs.