The dilemma exists for most fashion chains – Should I get my garments made overseas or not? This decision forces a great divide between another question over cost VS quality. The argument usually gathers strength, as people protest to taking away Australian jobs, but there are many other pitfalls that customers need to be aware of.
A company can choose to find a maker in China, India or Bangladesh, where most garments are made these days. The production of the garment will be a great deal cheaper and can be manufactured in bulk. This company is giving up a great deal of control however. They are stuck with the line they get, even if quality is poor and if a particular style sells well, they cannot put it back in production to make more. What they buy is what they get? They will get a ship container full of stock and sometimes it won’t even match what they ordered. It can be like a lucky dip or a pass the parcel at a children’s birthday. If a garment fails to sell, it takes up shelf space. The money has already been spent on it, so it sits unloved, until being resigned to the back room to be bought out at a future sale.
Some common complaints / queries.
“We were meant to have our shipment a month ago.”
“This is not what we ordered?”
“This garment has a hole in it?”
“My shirt shrunk in the wash?”
“This only lasted me a month.”
“This is meant to be a large?”
“These pants don’t go with this top?”
This top is a different colour than my other one?”
The companies are also bound by time restrictions. Their shipment may be weeks late, which affects their future plans and even their bank balance. There is also no quality control. If a garment is damaged or not fit for sale, it must be discarded or placed into a sale rack. It leaves the chance for second quality garments to find their way into stores, just because a company can’t afford not to sell them. The consumers are taking a great risk. The old rationale, “you pay for what you spend,” fits in well here. You will definitely get the product cheaper, but it may only last you six months to a year. There is a time-life to overseas garments that consumers fail to recognize. They buy naively, spurred on by a cheap price tag, but they fail to consider its longevity.
Size is a common problem with overseas garments as well. Their size blocks change regularly. A small you ordered last time may change when the new season’s stock comes in. Its dimensions – whether it be shoulder width, waist circumference or length will have changed, so both consumers and fashion chains can never find conformity in their size selections. You will be forced to buy a large in a jumper and a small in a t-shirt, because these overseas manufactures have not taken into account the fabric and also do not have patterns in place.
Have you ever bought a CD, where an artist has one hit, another mediocre song and the rest is rubbish, just CD fillers. It is the same with overseas ranges. There is always some stellar pieces mixed with other okay designs, but the rest are just shelf fillers, not even fit for sale. It is impossible to make a range full of classics overseas, because you are burdened by time and less qualified makers. Companies are forced to focus in on a couple of pieces, which are “winners”, so there range looks more pleasing to the eye. It is often impossible for customers to mix and match the range either. The styles are miles apart, just stand alone pieces. The companies are limited in their choices, so they choose a range, offering great variety, but very little cohesion.
Customers love to buy a style, again and again if it suits their body shape. It might be a pair of pants or a t-shirt that fits so great, they buy it again when the original grows old. A consumer will also run into problems with overseas garments in this instance as well. Not only could the size vary, as mentioned earlier, but the fabric colour may also fluctuate greatly. The strict testing of fabrics in Australia does not occur overseas. A faulty fabric or even an untested dye lot may be used, so the garment is totally different than your previous one. They do not operate under the same guidelines as Australian companies. A nice white fabric may switch to off-white, or may have patches of flaws throughout it. This fabric may have been produced differently, so its more stretchy or rips or scuffs easier. It could be housed in an open environment, where the sun or air has tarnished it. You are left with a garment which is nothing like the original one you purchased, just a mediocre copy.
A company like Costa Moda has always been proudly Australian Made and Owned. Its garments are made locally to their Gold Coast base, by professional quality makers. This has allowed a competitive advantage to materialize for the company.
Our products are high quality. They are tested stringently, from the fabrics, making processes and quality control to ensure they are of the highest quality possible.
Our products last. Customers are still wearing pants and tops, they purchased over fifteen years ago. If you buy Costa Moda, you are guaranteed longevity.
A great range. The company is able to create a range full of winners. These winners mix and match with each other, meaning anything you buy in the store can combine with another to make an amazing outfit. Everything in store is a signature piece.Our size lots don’t change. Our sizes have stayed the same throughout the years. If you have always been a small, then you can safely buy online and be comfortable that you have chosen right. It is important to the company that we stick to this standard.
Easy turnover of stock. If a garment sells, it will be in store the next day. We can also put a garment into production, which is selling well to get more made. Our customers will always have greater access to our styles and ranges. There are always new styles entering our store. They change regularly, as mini ranges are introduced regularly to change the look of our stores, and serve as mix and match pieces to other garments.
Stringent quality control: Our garments are stringently tested. If they do not pass, they are sent back to be fixed or they will be scrapped. Their may be a fabric that functions differently on the sewing table than first thought. This fabric will be placed out of production. Our garments must be 100%, before they hit out stores.
We set our own timetable: The company knows and plans when garments are produced. We can establish ranges, with 100% certainty of finish dates. We are not bound by travel delays or maker problems, because our makers are close and in constant communication.
We can plan seasons in advance: This vertical production allows us to plan ranges months in advanced, based on what our customers want and what garments are selling. We are always two seasons ahead.
We remove unpopular garments: If a style proves unpopular. It does not sit on our shelves waiting to sell. This garment is withdrawn and replaced with another, so our stores are always fresh and inviting.
Our fabrics match. Fabrics in Australia are stringently tested for colour and quality. If it is not up to scratch or performs differently on the sewing table, it is sent back.
Yes, I admit an Australian garment may cost a little more, but you are guaranteed so many things. Firstly, the money stays in country, that is a given most people aspire to when buying Australian Made. There are so many other advantages, as mentioned in our Costa Moda model. It really comes down to this scenario. You can buy two garments to one Australian made garment according to price. The two garments may last you a year. The Australian made garment will last you a lifetime. The math is easy, Australian made wins every time.