It can be a daunting mission to invest a lot of money into kitting your employees out with new uniforms. There are many options out there including some very cheap alternatives, but you should not be fooled by the enticing price tag. Cheap clothing comes at a price and often works out higher than the high-quality option. Here are four reasons you should not buy the cheapest uniform you find.
1. Cheap clothing does not last long
There’s a reason that price tag is so low. Manufacturers who make cheap clothing must cut corners wherever possible to offer you that low price. One way they do this is by using inexpensive fabric tantamount to poor quality. This often leads to your garments aging a lot faster than they should. We’ve had new clients come to us many times asking why their previous uniforms are simply falling apart. The answer is very straightforward; they’re made of poor quality fabric.
The manufacturing process also plays a large role in the lifespan of a clothing item. Factories whose goal is to churn out as many units as possible within a given timeframe often miss small details on the stitching and cutting processes. This means your garments will begin to look tired faster.
When people buy uniforms from us, they are expected to last for several years of day-to-day wear, and we would lose customers if they didn’t last that long. The reason is that uniforms are made to a much higher technical standard than the typical fashion items from main street. True the fabrics are not as delicate or as brightly coloured, but their actual construction (how they are made) differs too. They are manufactured for durability with attention given to how they fit, to allow for movement on the job and they have things like bar-tacks at stress points and twin-needle stitching to ensure durability.
They say that every year around 100 Billion garments are manufactured globally. That’s about 10-12 items per person if my maths is correct. In addition, they say that globally around this many garments are disposed of annually as well. In New Zealand alone, they say that around 5% of our landfill is made up of textiles. Uniforms that don’t last long mean you have to throw them out more often. It may not seem like a lot of waste when you’re throwing out just one item but collectively it adds up. Did you know that in the US, 10 million tons of clothing are thrown into the landfill each year? That’s equivalent to 1.7 Great Pyramid of Giza’s! Buying quality clothes = clothes that last longer = decrease in textile waste.
The clothing industry is responsible for 10% of global emissions; that’s more than all flights and shipping worldwide. Buying cheap uniforms is not a sustainable option because the resources used to produce them are wasted within a year. A quality garment that uses a similar amount of resources will last up to ten or more years if cared for properly.
You may think buying cheap uniforms will save you money. In the short run, you’d be right. However, you will soon find that after a year or so your garments will be fraying, fading, and falling apart. Now you must buy more uniforms for your team. Are you going to buy cheap clothing that’s a year, or spend the extra dimes and get yourself a good quality uniform that lasts ten years?
5. Case Study
We often hear of some of our Arrow Uniforms garments lasting 3 to 5 years, but recently we came across an Arrow Uniforms customer whose uniform had lasted between 12-15 years and was still going strong despite being washed commercially several times a week! While this is not good for sales as such, it is, however, a great testament to longevity. When you think about it, if all the garments manufactured globally lasted this long imagine how much less the textile wastage would be? So, this important approach – longevity and wearing your clothes for longer - is probably a greater contributor to sustainability and reducing wastage than the issues associated with repurposing and recycling clothing (as altruistic as that is). So do the right thing and purchase your garments with an eye to longevity not because it is the latest fashion shade.
6. Recycling Program
Arrow Uniforms has a Uniform Recycling program available, and we have several options for end-of-life garments with more trials of repurposing underway. This is a real issue, and we are watching global trends in this space closely to enable us to bring this to our clients in New Zealand. But long-lasting garments that you can wear year after year because they are well made is the best answer we currently have on the table “all things considered” at the moment.