Why Our Clothes Are Worth the Investment
Hi fellow tall beauties— it’s finally starting to feel like Spring and we are loving it! After a long winter during a global pandemic, I’ll take all the sunshine and fresh air that I can get. And I can’t wait to share all the fun new styles and fabrics we have been working on! In the meantime, we wanted to give you a little refresher on how we make our clothes and what goes into the price of our garments. We believe in radical transparency, not only with our production but with every aspect of Taylor Tall.
There are 3 main areas that contribute to price that we are going to discuss throughout this post: materials, construction, and production. Materials refers to the fabrics we use, construction refers to how the garments are made, and production is everything else that goes into bringing a garment from idea to final product.
At Taylor Tall, we choose to only work with natural, handmade, and small batch fibers. Some of the many reasons for this choice are as follows:
- They are generally more sustainably produced than synthetic fibers
- They mold to your body as you wear them for a truly unique fit
- They do not pill as quickly as synthetic fibers
- They are more breathable and comfortable year round
- They provide sufficient range of motion while still holding up to repeated wear
- They hold color & dyes better than synthetic fibers
Many of our fibers/fabrics are produced by WomenWeave, a fair trade women’s weaving cooperative in India. They are a global nonprofit organization that assists handloom weavers to bring their fabrics to a wider market. The fabrics they offer are not only beautiful and comfortable, but they help preserve the craft of handloom weaving that dates back centuries.
All of our garments (outside of the Sample Sale section) are made to order. First, this allows us to cater to a range of tall women, which we would normally never be able to do as a small brand. Women 5’9” and over really do struggle to fit into “off the rack” clothing, but someone 5’9” is clearly going to have very different needs than someone who is 6’5”, and we want to provide clothing solutions for ALL tall women. This also allows us to carry sizes 4-18, which we would never be able to stock if we produced everything ahead of time, since a small brand can’t afford to purchase or hold that much inventory and it is very hard to predict which sizes your customers will trend towards. However, since most production facilities require a high number of pieces to be made at once in order for them to take advantage of the efficiencies of scale, it is undoubtedly more costly to produce garments one at a time.
Second, only offering made to order garments is a very sustainable way of making clothing. It eliminates deadstock (clothing inventory that doesn’t sell and is left over), and also ensures a perfect fit. In the fashion industry, a 75-80% sell through rate of a style is known to be a GOOD result. What happens to the other 20-25%? It sits in a warehouse, is given away, incinerated, passed on to discount outlets, or thrown away in a landfill. Generally when you’re having fit issues with garments from a ready to wear brand, you return the item and/or move on from that garment quickly, both of which contribute to the massive amount of textile waste each year. We are proud to say that since launching in 2019, we have not had a single return.
Finally, we add extra seam allowance in the center back of our pants as well as all hem lines for ease of alterations. This is more expensive for us as it uses more fabric, but it makes alterations simpler and more cost effective for the customer, as well as encourages a longer lifespan for the garment. As an added incentive, we also offer a tailoring/mending credit in the form of a $15 gift card when you send us your alterations receipt.
At Taylor Tall, our goal is to make beautiful and comfortable clothing that fits well and stands the test of time. In 2018, the average American shopper purchased 68 garments per year and only wore each garment 7 times on average before tossing it. (Wall Street Journal 8/9/19) When it comes to fast fashion, garments are designed to be worn no more than 10 times, so they cut corners on fabrics, seam construction, and quality control. That’s the opposite of what we do at Taylor Tall. We make sure to use only the highest quality materials as well as finishings such as French seams, sturdy hems, and self fabric bias bindings on neck openings & armholes. Our designs are also intentionally timeless and free of trends so that they never go out of style. We want you to wear and love your Taylor Tall garment for 10 years, not 10 wears.
This brings us to an important metric we want to introduce: cost per wear (CPW). CPW= the cost of the item ($) / divided by the expected lifespan of the garment (# of wears). For example- an Asos Tall oversized t-shirt costs $23. If you wear it the average number of times for a fast fashion garment (7), the cost per wear is $3.29. Let’s compare it to the Taylor Tall Midweight Cotton Seamed Top, which costs $90. If you wear it 15 times per year (lasting way longer than the fast fashion tee), and you have it for 5 years, that’s 75 wears. This would make the cost per wear= $90 / 75, a.k.a. CPW= $1.20. The CPW of a better quality, more expensive item ends up being less than the CPW of a cheaper, lower quality item because the more expensive item has a much longer life span.
It’s also important to note that we are a small, independent business. We don’t have any corporate backing or outside investors, just a handful of hardworking people committed to creating a better shopping experience for tall women. In addition, as a female designer I have wanted to support other women as much as possible along my entrepreneurship journey, since I know they will be the ones to support me and my business in return. Because of this, I make a point to work with other independent, female-owned businesses in manufacturing, accounting, fabric production, marketing, and business mentoring to name a few. This means we’re not necessarily working with the cheapest vendors, but rather ones that align on our values and mission.
Overall we know that our pieces are an investment, but we truly want to make each Taylor Tall garment an item of value in your life. We are here to help you every step of the way, whether it be finding your favorite fabric or getting the fit just right. To aid in this effort, we created a free, downloadable Tall Fit Guide to help you take the guesswork out of shopping, and we also offer a free fit kit that includes a swatch booklet of all of the fabrics in our collection, a flexible measuring tape, and a measurement card with tips & tricks to getting your measurements perfect in the comfort of your own home.
We believe your Taylor Tall garment should feel different than every other piece in your closet, and we hope you love wearing our clothes as much as we love making them for you.