Why Are Clothes So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Yasmin Fisher

Yasmin Fisher is a fashion-loving shopaholic who has spent the last 10 years in customer service. She loves finding great deals, and thrifting is one of her favorite weekend activities.

Clothes are one of the best ways to show off your personality. When you want your clothes to reflect your personality, you will probably want to change up your wardrobe by getting new clothes.

If you have tried to buy new clothes, you may be wondering why clothes are so expensive. I did some research, and here is what I learned!

Why Are Clothes So Expensive?

Clothes are expensive because it takes a lot of time and money to create clothes, meaning manufacturers and brands have to raise the price to make a profit. The brand name or how popular a clothing item is can affect the price. Limited-edition clothing items tend to be more expensive due to the limited supply.

Do you want to learn more information about what factors affect the price of clothes? I compiled a list below, so keep reading!

1. The Brand Name

Typically, the brand of the product affects the price of the product, which greatly applies to clothes.

Also, brand names often dictate how much products are worth, even if the actual cost of making the item is not much.

For instance, Chanel bags can go for up to $9,000, but the actual cost of making a Chanel bag may only be $105 to $450.

So, while this estimate does not account for the time and skill it took to make a Chanel bag, Chanel bags will be 20 times more expensive because of the brand.

Normally, clothing brands need to sell their clothes at a higher price to make up for the time, effort, and materials it took to make the clothes.

However, more expensive brands can easily charge a lot more if the brand is popular.

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Further, popular brands can make their clothes expensive because they know people will buy their products because they love the brand.

Typically, these brands sell an idea of a certain lifestyle alongside their actual products.

2. Unstable Industry

As of late, the fashion industry has been very unstable, especially after the pandemic.

That said, most physical retail stores had to shut down their operations to reduce contact, which meant very few people could go shopping in stores.

Therefore, only clothing stores with a strong online presence could survive.

With that, this meant that many other clothing brands had to raise their prices to make up for the revenue they lost from not being able to sell clothes at their physical stores.

Moreover, many of the clothing brands that stayed afloat had a hard time keeping up with the demand for clothes online.

Additionally, various online clothing brands had to raise their prices when their supply of clothes started to dwindle.

3. Inflation

Inflation is a huge reason why most goods have become more expensive, and clothing is no exception.

So, while there are various reasons why clothes are subject to inflation, most experts believe inflation can make goods like clothes 7% more expensive.

Typically, inflation will affect various aspects of the manufacturing process of clothes.

For instance, materials used to make the clothes may be hit with inflation, which means the clothing brand has to pay more and then increase the price of the clothes they sell.

4. Closed Factories

As mentioned earlier, the pandemic had many clothing brands forcibly shut down their physical retail stores.

However, this also meant that many factories that manufacture clothing had to close as well.

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Since there were fewer running factories, this meant that there were fewer clothes being produced.

Therefore, the factories that were open had to raise the costs of their clothes before selling them to clothing brands to meet the demand.

5. Labor Costs

5. Labor Costs

Almost all clothes you buy will involve some form of labor to create, transport, and sell the clothes.

Further, these labor costs are often included in the final price of the clothing, which can be why your clothes are expensive.

That said, this is especially true for higher-end brands because high-end brands utilize more skilled workforces.

Therefore, having better-trained employees will mean that the brand will have to charge more for the clothes.

Moreover, the labor costs can quickly be more costly when the cost of living and minimum wage increases.

For instance, high-end brands usually hire employees from the United States and Europe, which usually have higher labor fees.

6. Good Materials

As with most products, clothing made from higher-quality materials will often be more expensive.

That said, this is because manufacturers have to offset the costs and time it took to create the clothes.

Also, this will be especially true for designer brands that almost always utilize high-quality materials for their clothes.

7. Exclusivity

Normally, clothes deemed exclusive or “limited edition” will come with a higher price tag.

That said, this is because the idea of any limited-time item can increase the price, which increases the value of the clothes.

For instance, Nike created 150 pairs of Nike Dunk SB Low Staple NYC Pigeon back in 2009, and each pair was sold for $200.

However, the current average resale price goes over $9,000 because only a limited number of shoes were made.

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8. Target Market

Typically, a brand can decide how much their clothes should cost based on their target market.

For example, brands and marketing companies can gauge how willing a demographic is to spend on certain goods.

For instance, take a look at Anthropologie, whose target market is affluent women.

So, since these affluent women usually have money they are willing to spend on clothes, Anthropologie can make its clothes more expensive.

9. Popularity

Normally, anything considered trendy will rise in price because the supply of clothes for these popular items will be lower.

10. Sustainability

Some brands pride themselves on listening to sustainable fashion practices, which are not cheap to follow.

That said, these brands will have to find ways to reduce waste by investing in new methods to manufacture and sell clothes.

11. Import Costs

Generally, many of the clothes you see will likely not be made in your country.

For instance, many designer brands import their materials and ready-made clothes from Bangladesh, which will cost money.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why bras are so expensive, why underwear are so expensive, and why hoodies are so expensive.

Conclusion

Clothes are often expensive because of the input costs to make clothes.

Moreover, other factors such as the brand’s name, inflation, and supply and demand can dictate how much clothes will cost.

Author

  • Yasmin Fisher is a fashion-loving shopaholic who has spent the last 10 years in customer service. She loves finding great deals, and thrifting is one of her favorite weekend activities.

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