designer clothesMade-to-order fashion is obviously not “haute couture”, which is synonymous to high fashion. It is the closest way fashionable women can get clothes that are tailor-made for them in the fabric and color of their choice of well-established patterns and designs of a particular fashion house or boutique.

The strict use of the term “haute couture” can only be used by exclusive couture houses elected by the ‘Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture‘ and regulated by the Department of Industry of France. The term however has been highly abused and misused by high street and ready to wear labels that its genuine essence has been obscured to the point that it is even used to describe ready-to-wear fashion by the uninformed.

A Short History of the Evolution of Fashion

In the beginning, all clothes were made by hand. Well-heeled ladies had their wardrobe made by famous dressmakers. The others sew their own clothes or made by members of the family. In the 18th century, celebrated French fashion houses came to the fore. “Haute couture”, as what it is now was originated by Charles Frederick Worth, who is also considered the “father of haute couture”.

The invention of the power loom and sewing machine ushered in the era of ready-made clothes and mass production. The phenomenal success of this new order of things for women’s fashion was further boosted by the following:

  •  Rise of an urban professional class
  • Development of the advertising industry
  • Growth of national and global markets with the help of mail order catalogs and chain stores

Ready-to-wear (RTW) fashion, also called prêt-à-porter, refers to factory-made clothes produced in standard sizes and sold as finished products. It appealed to the modern woman because it made “fashion” affordable to ordinary women. These machine-made dresses are also convenient to acquire and easy to replace with the arrival of new styles.

Fast Fashion

Women are buying large quantities of clothes at a fast pace to keep up with rapidly changing trends and styles. As a consequence, they have more clothes than their wardrobe can accommodate. So, they also discard them as fast by either donating them or delegating them to the waste bin.

  • Social and Environmental Fallouts

The social and environmental consequences of this syndrome are immeasurable. It gave rise to sweatshops usually in underdeveloped countries where pay is low and working conditions are deplorable. Suppliers saw the need to “export” the manufacture of their products to countries where production cost is cheap to be able to compete price-wise in the raging war for a share of the market.

The large quantities of raw materials and natural resources used to manufacture volumes and volumes of clothing also placed a considerable strain on nature and the environment. In addition, clothes that ends up in the waste bin, eventually ends in landfills.

  • Durability and quality suffered

Unfortunately, affordability does not equate with quality and durability. The fast pace of production and style changes resulted to clothes that can be worn only for one season or maybe twice at the most. They either fall apart or fall out of style. Fit and size were also perennial problems in spite of the effort to standardize sizing.

The revival of made-to-order clothes

The very same reasons for the unprecedented success of RTW are the very same reasons why more and more women are turning to made-to-order services, an “offspring” of the slow fashion movement, for their fashion needs. Gradually, women started to crave for more quality than quantity and for clothes that are made to fit perfectly. They are willing to pay a little more for clothes that are meant to last and made just for them, in a design and fabric of their choice.

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Made-to-order fashion is obviously not “haute couture”, which is synonymous to high fashion. It is the closest way fashionable women can get clothes that are tailor-made for them in the fabric and color of their choice of well-established patterns and designs of a particular fashion house or boutique. The strict...