Is the quality of clothing basics going down?

In all my efforts to build specialist skills in working with different materials and techniques, I've noticed that there has been a drastic decline in what is available locally in terms of good basics made from good materials. We have in the last year had a Zara and Topshop open in Perth, plus many of the labels which were once available only at Harbour town - and other labels will open several retail fronts in the same city. Even Pandora has 2 city shops. It seems unnecessary firstly, to have so many of the same options presented to us.

But then those options - they are either extraordinarily cheap ($5 shirts and tanktops), made from extraordinarily poor materials - often non-breathable, hacked and slashed non-raveling fabrics, very thin, pilling or any of many other issues with poorly manufactured synthetics. Or they are extraordinarily expensive ($50-$80 for a t-shirt) and still made from average materials.

And then we have the ridiculously hiked up price of the basic printed cotton T-shirt, which walking around today seemed to be at least $50. What was once considered a basic staple, organic fibres and conservative cuts are becoming an expensive luxury - purely from oversaturation of the opposite, and not so much because there is a lack of these fantastic textiles.

I'm frustrated! And with the rising popularity of so many simple sewing patterns out there, such as the basic tees and pants in good cuts, it seems like this is really a *thing*. Maybe not just in Perth.

I still want to see radical new designs and experiments in shape or texture - but I am in a state of mild panic at what is happening to the range of everyday gear available in Perth. We have great conceptual local designers with fairly costly work, in a range of classy simple styles made with beautiful textiles, however many people don't have the time to go small boutique hunting.

In terms of what I make, I don't think I want to slip into the unaffordable statement, but I would love to make what people need. And right now that need seems so simple. But then I can't really make an American Apparel quality cotton tee by hand for $20 since retail materials alone cost this much. So we'll just have to keep importing?

Anyone want to help me build a "small batch" clothing factory in Perth? Something a bit bigger than our living rooms with their domestic machines on the dining table?

In other segue, how amazing were the drafting pattern books from the early 1900's! Look those up, if you have not. I am *very* into 1930's-40's coats with their amazing beautiful functional seaming ^______^ The mailouts used to tell you how to draft the piece with an included stencil for measuring and tracing curves, then you were expected to fit the mockup to yourself and largely already know or make up your own methods of construction for the final piece. Those ladies were very with it!
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