Understanding the differences between cheap and expensive T-shirts

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If you have ever been to a clothing store, you would notice that even their cheapest T-shirts are somewhat similar to the high-end brands selling at their stores. From fabric to the design, pretty much everything is of the same stature, but the prices are different.

Over the years, I have wondered about the differences in prices. Is it because of the brand selling its T-shirts with its logo, or is it something else? If we look into this matter from marketing stand point, people tend to buy clothes and accessories from brands that have high value.

For many years, I thought Nike was the best manufacturer of sports shoes, but to my surprise, I came across a place where locally manufactured shoes were being sold to the consumers. Their prices were exceptionally low, but the quality was somewhat similar to the popular brand. That being said, Nike remained constant to its marketing objectives and sold their famous shoes at the most affordable rates possible.

If we go deep into the similarities, there are probably a lot of factors contributing to the spike in the prices of these T-shirts. From selecting the fabric to sending it for manufacturing, and from there to the store, everything has a price and affects our shopping choices.

But the real question is, how do we understand that the T-shirts we are actually buying from branded stores are worthy of that price tag? I’ve been meaning to find answer to this question, but let me tell you, the journey is rocky but fruitful.

Also it is important to mention that we had a brief discussion with fashion retail experts in the field and their answers gave us another topic to discuss. But more on that later.

Manufacturing process is the most challenging one

If you are a working for a prominent brand, you would understand the pain of manufacturing T-shirts from one country to another. Both the costs, the labor and the entire process can shake you up to the core.

Another important thing to mention over here is that if you are outstourcing the entire manufacturing process, you would want your T-shirts to be priced according to that. According to Harry Rowntree, “People believe that the costs incurred in manufacturing the T-shirts can make the prices go steeper. But what they seem to forget is the fact that labor are equally important.”

If the prices are going expensive, it is not because of the labor or the manufacturing costs, it because of the entire production setup. The labor may charge less than what you see and make you the cheapest T-shirts possible. But you don’t want that, right?

Another interesting thing to mention over here is that not all the cheapest T-shirts are manufacutred in China or Bangladesh, but some of them are made here in the United States as well. And not just the manufacturing, but also printing which is another important aspect of making the T-shirts.

Your fabric choice can make or break your T-shirts

While conducting this research, we met Annabelle Molly, a fashion designer for a prominent brand (whos name we will not mention due to security reasons). Annabelle believes that the fabric you select can make your brand reach out to your audience, or simple break you into pieces.

“When you’re out in the market shopping for your favorite T-shirts, the first thing you notice is the fabric used and if it will last you for years. Subsequently, if you’re buying from a high-end store, you ultimately want to make the most out of your hard earned money.”

We understand her point and surely each and everyone of you. Take a look into cotton, the most common fabric used in making T-shirts. Anila Ravishankar, a graduate from a fashion school suggests that the higher the prices of cotton, the better the quality and build of T-shirts.

“Most of the brands are keen on getting cotton fabrics for T-shirts. They import from countries that make them and pay them in millions for the fabric. However, there are so many qualities, and if your business is thriving on T-shirts, you’d want only the best fabric available in the market.”

Besides cotton, there are plenty of other fabric types also available in the market. And depending on your product range and target audience, you choose from the lot.