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Why Is Designer Clothing So Expensive?

If you are like me, you want your wardrobe to keep up with the latest designers and fashion trends, to last a long time, and overall to be high quality. If you’re also like me, you probably cringe at the idea of breaking the bank in your quest to find clothes to wear. If this sounds like you, you have probably wondered from time to time – why is designer clothing so expensive?

Designer clothing is so expensive because you are paying for more than just plain clothing when you purchase them. You’re paying for their overall quality, the often specialty materials used to make them, and for the most recent trends to hit the fashion scene. You’re also paying top dollar for designers with enough brand recognition and exclusive clientele to price their clothing higher.

The higher price tags of designer clothing can leave you feeling a bit of sticker shock, but don’t worry. This article will break down for you exactly why those clothes are worth the extra money. If you’re still on the fence, be sure to check out our tips for how to tell whether or not the clothes you see are worth the added price.

Why Is Designer Clothing So Expensive

What Are Designer Clothes?

You’ve probably heard the term “designer clothes” being thrown around in magazines, on social media, or anywhere else where celebrities show off their latest fashions. But most of the time, these sources don’t do a great job of explaining precisely what designer clothes are. This is the first information you need to understand why these clothes are more expensive.

Designer clothes are high-end, luxury garments usually made and marketed by a well-known fashion designer. These clothes will bear the name of this exclusive designer or the name of the label that the designer works for. Most designer brands are instantly recognized worldwide simply by mention of their names – such as Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, or Balenciaga.

Because of their higher prices and limited stock, designer brands typically serve exclusive clients. Some of the most exclusive designers won’t just allow anyone to walk in and purchase their products. Take the Hermés brand, for example, which will only offer to sell its exclusive (and expensive) Birkin handbags to customers that have been carefully selected. Typically this selection is based on their celebrity status or how much money they have spent with the brand.

This system of brand-name designers, limited availability, and exclusivity meshed together to create the designer clothing industry as we know it today. It’s no surprise why everyday shoppers tend to feel a bit of sticker shock at seeing the prices these clothes sell for.

Why Is Designer Clothing So Expensive? 8 Factors

What are designer clothes

As we dive deeper into the designer clothing industry, there are many common reasons why designer clothing is more expensive than the clothes your average department store offers. We’ve touched on a few, but here is our list of the eight reasons these clothes carry such a hefty price tag.

1. Overall Quality

When it comes to producing clothes, designer brands must justify their costs to their customers. If they do not, they won’t be able to attract customers willing to buy their expensive products. The top way designers justify their higher price tags is by producing an overall higher quality product than most fast fashion companies can offer.

To their benefit, these major companies usually have the significant upfront funds needed to invest in materials, equipment, and skilled employees to produce their high-end products. This investment is obvious in even the smallest details you’ll see in designer clothing available for purchase. Overall, there’s no skimping on quality with designer goods.

2. Materials Used

One of the places where the quality of designer goods is obvious is in the materials used to make them. Designers rarely use synthetic or faux products in their clothing, choosing instead to embrace genuine, natural, and often organic materials. These materials are much more expensive to use, which naturally drives up the final cost of the clothing.

When shopping for designer clothes, expect to see many silk, cotton, linen, or wool options meant to be natural alternatives to many synthetic products that fast fashion companies will use. These products will also often use genuine gold or silver accents and expensive gemstones, pearls, and other natural embellishments.

These additions all play a strong role in determining what final costs you, as a customer, will pay. It’s always worth paying attention to the clothing labels to see just what materials your designer clothing is made of.

3. Labor Costs

Many high-end designer brands spend much more on labor costs for their products. This can be due to various reasons, including being manufactured in places like Europe or North America with higher minimum wage. The higher costs can also simply be because the company values paying their workers well and wants to attract the most skilled employees.

Fast fashion companies often sell their clothes for cheap because they pay workers worldwide pennies a day to mass produce their clothing. Working conditions are often poor in these places as employees are pushed to produce as many items a day as possible. Quality goes down the faster employees are expected to work.

Many designer clothes are instead made entirely by hand by skilled artisans, which is typically a much slower process. These professionals put a lot of work into every item they make. This produces a higher quality product and a higher final cost for the goods being made.

4. Limited Availability

One of the other main reasons that designer clothes are so pricey is that they are scarce. Instead of producing 1,000 copies of a single garment, for example, they might produce only 100 or even 50 copies. Many companies deliberately produce a small number of their products like this to lower their supply and increase the overall demand for what they do stock. The rarer a product is, the more a company can charge someone to purchase it.

Limited availability is also driven by how many of these products are made. If items are handmade by a skilled artisan, they will typically take much longer to produce than mass production, machine-made clothes will. Fewer products can be made this way, naturally limiting how many can be offered for sale.

Whatever the reason for the scarcity, it increases the price of designer goods. It also means that customers should move quickly to buy the products they want since supplies will likely sell out quickly.

5. Cutting-Edge Trends

Designer clothing also has a high price tag because it follows the most cutting-edge trends of the year. Many designer clothes are responsible for starting new trends, which lower-quality clothing companies later mimic. Because they offer the newest trends on the market, clothes from designer brands are typically more expensive than any others available for you to buy.

This added expense makes sense in a way. If you went out and bought a brand new car manufactured this year, you would expect to pay more for the new model than you would for last year’s model. Customers can expect to pay more for this year’s current trends than they would for last year’s options.

6. Exclusive Clientele

Another reason that designer clothing tends to cost more is that the clothes are marketed to a very exclusive clientele. Many designers aim to have their clothes shown off by celebrities or other wealthy and popular figures. Having high-end clients increases the overall popularity of the brand, both by helping the clothes to reach a wider audience and because fans of these clients often try to mimic their style by purchasing the same products.

If a brand’s goal is to primarily have their clothes in the closets of the rich and famous, it makes sense to price their clothes higher. This increases the likelihood that only celebrities or wealthy customers can buy the clothes. Whatever the celebrities don’t buy is usually quickly bought up by average customers looking to mimic their iconic styles.

7. Brand Recognition

Many designer brands have reached a point where they are so famous that they have become household names. Think of high-end brands like Versace, Chanel, Burberry, or Prada. These names are known to be high-quality, exclusive, and very expensive. Many customers flock to purchase items from high-end designer brands because they want to show off their own wealth to the people around them.

Many designers place their name or logo in obvious places on their designs so that everyone who sees them will know you have purchased a luxury piece of clothing. The price tag is often higher because you are essentially paying for all the brand recognition that comes with the piece of designer clothing, not just the literal garment itself.

8. Sustainability

Finally, many designer clothes are more expensive because the brands have taken extra steps to ensure they use sustainable practices while producing their garments. This can affect all areas of the manufacturing process, from what types of materials they use and how they are created to how they package and ship their products.

A growing number of high-end designers are embracing recycling, upcycling, and thrifting fabrics to create truly one-of-a-kind pieces. While great for the environment, all of these practices will increase the overall price of the clothing for the customer.

Why Do People Wear Expensive Brands?

People Wear Expensive BrandsThere are many different reasons why customers continue to buy expensive brands time and time again. One of the main reasons is that these clothes often act as a status symbol. People recognize the brands by their name or logo, know they are expensive, and therefore see these pieces as a sign of wealth.

This can help lead to an increase in a person’s self-esteem or feeling of worth. Many people feel more confident when they wear luxury clothing, which is why they flock to designers to spend their hard-earned money. These clothes are often considered superior to fast fashion options, which may make the person who wears them feel superior.

Beyond all that, many people wear expensive brands because of their overall quality and attention to detail. Spending money on clothes that will last a long time is often a better choice than replacing poor-quality clothes over and over again. Some customers see expensive clothes as an investment for the future rather than just a splurge.

Finally, some customers choose to wear designer clothes because they like them. They may like the overall style that a certain brand uses when designing their clothes. They may just like the look of a particular trendy piece. Choosing to buy designer clothes is usually a very personal choice; customers worldwide will have many different reasons for doing so.

Do Designer Clothes Last Longer?

Overall, it’s pretty safe to say that designer clothes last long. They’re usually made with high-quality materials and by skilled artisans. Often, they are sewn completely by hand and a lot of time and attention is spent making sure that every detail is perfect.

This overall quality generally means that designer clothes will hold up well to day-to-day activities and whatever you may throw at them. However, it is important to note that any clothes can be ruined quickly if they are not taken care of properly. Designer clothes that aren’t treated well will not last as long as intended.

Designer clothes will last longer if you pay attention to the care instructions and follow them exactly. These products are often made with natural fibers like silk, wool, and leather that can be ruined with improper care. However, if you take all the necessary steps to care for your designer clothes, they’ll typically hold up for a very long time and are much better than fast fashion options.

How To Tell If Designer Clothes Are Worth The Price

If Designer Clothes Are Worth The Price

While we’ve generally talked about designer clothes up until this point, it is worth noting that not all designer options are created equal. Before you spend your hard-earned money on these luxury garments, you should always take a moment to inspect them to see if they are worth the hefty price tag.

Check For Authenticity

Unfortunately, the market is full of fake goods pretending to be luxury to trick unsuspecting customers into purchasing them. If you are buying directly from the designer brand itself, this isn’t typically a problem. However, if you purchase through another site, you need to be sure to check that the products are authentic.

Many designer brands and resale websites will offer authentication processes to verify that the items are real and are not counterfeit duplicates. Only buy from sites that offer this since it gives you more protection and somewhat of a guarantee that you are getting quality goods. You may also be able to get the items authenticated yourself after you purchase them.

Look At The Fabric

Expensive designer clothes should be made with high-quality materials. Look for natural materials like cotton, wool, silk, linen, or real leather when shopping for designer options. If the clothes are made from synthetics, it could be a sign that they are not as high quality.

If you’re able to shop for the clothes in the store itself, try to feel the fabric to decide if it is quality material. Check the overall thickness and smoothness of the fabric. Also, be sure to check the overall stretch to make sure the fabric is going to be comfortable to wear.

Pay Attention To The Construction

Turn the item inside out if you can. Look at the seams and the stitching throughout. They should all be straight, evenly spaced, and should not have any loose sections or mismatched thread. All these things can be signs that you have poor-quality or counterfeit products on your hands.

Designer brands will also pay attention to other small details, such as how the fabrics line up with one another when two pieces are joined. If the fabric has any kind of design, make sure that the pattern lines up evenly. All of the finishing touches should look good on designer products. If not, you should probably choose other options.

Is It Worth Buying Designer Clothing?

If you have the funds available and can easily afford to purchase them, buying designer clothing is worth it. The overall quality and exclusive designs are well worth the price tag that they come with. However, you should never break the bank for these clothes if it isn’t truly within your budget.

You can always find good quality clothes at a lower price tag, even if they don’t carry the same designer name. Keep your eye out for items made with quality materials, by hand, or with sustainable practices in mind. These can all be good alternatives if designer clothes aren’t an option for you.


At the end of the day, many people are skeptical about the high cost of designer clothing. After reading this article and all of the factors that go into the pricing, we hope you better understand what goes into these larger price tags. Ultimately, designer clothes can be a great option if that is the style of clothing you prefer.