Industry insiders share their thoughts.
One thing that has improved is branding - labels have upped their game on logos. We deal with a lot of short-order labels at a lower price point, so fabric quality isn’t necessarily the priority. Finishing is often poor, even as far as brands’ own sewn-in labels not being sewn in properly. I wouldn’t say it’s now significantly worse, although some brands have gone downhill. Others such as Sugarhill Boutique (pictured) have kept it level.
Quality in mid-market to higher-end brands has been fairly consistent but with fast fashion you can get incorrect washes or poor stitching. It’s something we’re used to. With the turnaround being so quick now, it’s a fight against the clock for brands and sometimes quality is compromised, but some like TFNC (pictured) still make it work, with few returns or damages.
In the past 12 years, the quality of young fashion and in particular fast-fashion brands has improved to unbelievable levels. Brands such as Vero Moda (pictured) and Bellfield are better than the high street and it is amazing how quickly they turn out new items. We’ve come to expect quality - young fashion used to be on a par with market trader levels of product.
Now the design and workmanship is excellent: hems are straight, buttons secure and threads aren’t loose.
Some of the higher-end brands have gone down in quality. It’s obvious with pieces brands repeat each season if they change suppliers and go with a cheaper one. Brands are cutting overheads and that is coming through. Fits are generally still good and we’re careful with that. One thing we’ve noticed is that sometimes when garments come folded it’s impossible to steam the creases out of them and that’s down to fabric quality. One brand that has been great for quality this season is 7 For All Mankind (pictured).