(This diatribe brought to you by my pile of mending)
When did clothing become disposable? I ask this because I have noticed an alarming fashion trend. (No, I am not referring to Juicy Couture.) Instead, I am
ranting talking about wardrobe malfunctions. I have purchased shoes that fell apart almost the same day my son wore them for the first time. Admittedly, it was the poorly attached Velcro that came off rendering the shoe absolutely useless but, whatever happened to quality control?
Do you remember clothing that was made to last? Back in the day, Garanimals and Oshkosh B’Gosh were the children’s clothing equivalent of body armor. To be fair, I only know this by repute; we weren’t rich enough to have designer brands.* The ads promised ‘sturdy fabric’ and ‘long-lasting construction’. You could be sure that the clothes would be handed down–even if someone didn’t want them to be. Sure, they might get scuffed if you flew over your handlebars heading downhill over sharp gravel. But even if you ended up going to the E.R., your clothes would probably survive. Those days are gone. I just spent hours of my life (which I will never get back, thank you very much) patching and reattaching my son’s front pockets to his lime green coat. (Let me tell you, the sewing machine was very cranky about trying to maneuver around the puffy material and boxy pockets with darts.) My son shoves his hands in his pockets a lot, so he is at part to blame, but this fabric just seems to rip so easily as to be intentional. Why else would a small tear nearly rip the pocket–and the fabric it is attached to–off the coat when it went through the wash? I have only one answer: because it is designed to.**
“Well,” you say, “it’s bound to happen with something shoddily made in China.” But the problem is, it doesn’t actually seem to be poorly made. It is made with a material that shouldn’t dare to be called fabric. In my attempts to repair the jacket today, I tried to iron some fusible web to the inside to help support the sewing project. Instead, I melted portions of the jacket. Only slightly, but still, it made fusing the giant tears difficult. I finally figure out that cutting away the tiny portion of the pocket that was still attached made maneuvering the torn area much easier. Only a measly two hours later, and I proudly hung the coat back up.
I am very glad that I took the effort to repair the coat. It is warm and very bright and I know winter isn’t done with us. But the fact that I had to rescue the coat after only a few months of wear is disturbing. Last year I was doing a similar stop-gap fix on my son’s backpack–the entire bottom seam had ripped out. At least it had the decency to wait until near the end of the school year. My fix then only had to last a few weeks. We shall see if this year’s coat lasts the season. This is the second winter coat that has had major clothing malfunctions. It is a disturbing trend that sends a shiver down my spine. (Of course, that could be the spasms from being hunched over a sewing machine for so long…)
My takeaway from this experience is that, next time, I am buying quality. Either that, or I am going to become wealthy enough to just throw the coat out. But since that’s what the manufacturers want you to do, probably not even then!
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*This butt has never known the pleasure of a golden, Jordache zig zag.
**I have a serious bone to pick with the Nautica people and not just because they put the word “USA” on the sleeve and then dared to have the product made in China.