The Essence of Quality

Spotlighting Niche Fashion Brands in a Mainstream Market

In the labyrinth of modern consumerism, the line between quality and quantity is increasingly blurred, and the essence of quality is overlooked.

Brands – both big and small, compete for attention in a marketplace flooded with options. Amidst this deluge, an unfortunate casualty emerges: the capacity to discern quality.

Mainstream fashion: top brands vs fast fashion

On the one hand we have fast fashion: at the cheapest prices, quality is not a priority, as well as ethical practices. That encourages a disposable mindset where purchases are made without considering the repercussions of their swift discarding.
On the other hand, even within famous brands, a troubling trend surfaces: quality dilution. Perhaps they try to apply the principle of homeopathy to fashion! The research for cheaper production takes precedence, compromising the essence of what defines a superior product. This sacrifice leads to a paradox: a branded label no longer guarantees enduring quality or just quality.

Niche brands & the essence of quality

In this chaotic landscape, a beacon shines through: the small, lesser-known brands. These niche fashion brands uphold a different standard. Their ethos revolves not around mass production but good design. So meticulous craftsmanship, tailoring, and quality materials. A commitment to excellence and sustainable practices. However, this dedication comes with a price. Therefore, their offering is not for all. First, from a design perspective, as they promote a subtler approach, no prominent logos in favour of a more discreet or minimalist presentation. And second from the price point.

However, these brands offer a glimpse into a different narrative. One where quality triumphs over quantity, where every stitch and detail reflects an artisan’s dedication. They invite us to reconsider our approach to consumption, to reassess what truly defines value in our purchases.

In fact, to navigate this maze and rediscover our ability to discern quality, we must equip ourselves with knowledge. Understanding the hallmarks of craftsmanship, learning to identify materials and production processes, and valuing longevity over fleeting trends can guide us toward recognizing true quality amidst the noise.

In a world where fast fashion and mass production dominate, these niche fashion brands stand as reminders of the value of excellence. While their audience may be niche, their impact transcends the boundaries of commerce, urging us to recalibrate our perspectives and rediscover the essence of quality amidst the tumultuous sea of options.

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Quality and attention

The tie is closer than you think

Quality requires attention. Have you ever thought about that?

Quality is the set of all the attributes that identify a product. Or even a person.

Attention comes from Latin, attentio-onis. Which means: turn your soul towards something. In other words, looking at, listening to, thinking about something with deep interest, with care. With your soul.
The depth of this etymological meaning doesn’t seem suitable for the time we live in, not for the crowds who still overconsume. In fact, what’s popular now doesn’t require any attention. And no attention or low level of it means no understanding of quality.
As a matter of fact, this represents the ground where the ‘shop & toss’ culture thrives.

Attention is an intentional choice

You can’t stop at a quick glance because you know that rapid, superficial evaluation is not enough to notice all the details. Forget trying to perceive the quality of something by scrolling social media. Unless you are well trained, of course. Or, you possess an elevated dose of good taste as a natural talent. Which is not that frequent.

Quality and attention are two fundamental values.
One implies the other, and vice versa. Without attention, you cannot understand quality.

It takes time to develop your attention

But it’s worth doing it to appreciate what surrounds us. So train yourself to pause for a few minutes of silence every day. Observe more, listen, allow yourself to focus on details and think.

Marketing is full of smoke and mirrors. Don’t stop at a logo placed on the outer surface to catch your eye and trick you. Or prices that wouldn’t justify a sustainable production chain. Instead, train the eye to go deeper than that. So you will deepen the value of choosing with intention.

If attention is an intentional choice, a slower pace will help you savour more. Not only your purchases but your life.

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The pebble in the pond

Starting the ripple effect

Shifting the route towards a new path is complicated and exciting at the same time.

It’s complicated because starting something different makes people stare at you as if you are mad. It’s an experience we had in our first boutique, too. New ideas or independent viewpoints are not well accepted right away. Many do not understand the reasons or, even if they do, they don’t consider going out of their comfort zone. Yes, even for clothing.
Also, you place the seeds, but it takes time for them to grow. Instead, people want things they already are familiar with.

It’s exciting because starting something new gives that extra vibe, a mix of the joy of possibility in navigating the unknown and the risk of failure. Of course, the more you do something new, the higher the risk of failing.

Given that, when the system doesn’t suit you anymore, you either accept it as it is, contributing to the exploiting game. Or try to change it, committing to something better.

The ripple effect, suite123 favicon
The ripple effect

By offering a worthwhile selection built around deep meaning, we’ve changed our way of operating in the fashion business.

Less – much less. Good design and quality only – the essential. No overconsumption. That’s why we offer a capsule selection made of meaningful garments.

We aren’t here for convenience. We are here for worth.

Fashion is what we do. We like it to the point that we do not sell clothing we wouldn’t wear. Or products we do not believe in.
Besides, we feel compelled to change because it’s time to do it.

Perhaps, our alternative approach will not change the world. But we can change our habits first, then those who interact with us.

Starting the new flow is possible. We’ve thrown the pebble in the pond, and hopefully, the ripples will follow.

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The price of quality

The price of quality is an indicator that has fundamentally lost its sense.

Quality is an asset that every brand wants to sell, but no one really understands its true meaning. There is a conflict between the marketed or perceived quality and its effective worth.

At the Uffizi in Florence, during a preview of Confindustria’s Future for Fashion, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior designer, said:

“Democratic luxury does not exist.”

“In Italy, we have to get the idea of democratic fashion out of our heads. If a garment is well made, why does it have to be democratic? Quality at a low price does not exist. If the price is low, it is because behind it, there is someone who has not been paid well.”

We agree with this statement – democratic luxury is nonsense. Indeed, a product made respecting specific quality standards comes with a price. But what luxury brands call quality is questionable. And, it is not what it was in the past.

Quality & luxury brands

Undoubtedly, there is a lot of confusion generated by different factors.
The average quality of high-end products decreased a lot over time. Pushed by greed, luxury conglomerates operated an economic change of production sites. Then, they abandoned exclusivity and shifted to the mass market. Quality is inversely proportional to corporations’ greed.
In order to be able to have a catchy wholesale price while keeping profit safe, the quality of materials and craftsmanship are the factors to cut.

In the second place, economic and cultural changes have induced consumers to believe that a cheap price tag corresponds to quality items and well-paid labourers.
While the need for affordable clothes is understandable, it is obvious that low prices don’t equal quality materials and fair living wages.

Luxury brands contributed to devaluing the fashion system with poor productions, obsessive mass distributions and a crazy discounting policy. But, they still want to be part of an Olympus disconnected from the masses.

Olympus is not democratic. But to be credible again, luxury brands have to reverse the route, reducing the large quantities they produce. And stop hard discounting.

This is a logical necessity for the return of true luxury.
Will it happen for real?

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See the difference

Being able to see the difference is a way of speaking the same language.

Simplicity goes to the essential. And the essential reveals the real quality.
When design lacks, simplicity is reflected poorly.

Take a basic top, with an essential and clean shape.
Can you see the difference with a garment that apparently looks similar?
Touch it. Can you feel the material?
Wear both. Do you get a sense of the fit?
Can you feel the quality?

Those who are aligned and share our values don’t need many explanations. Indeed, they instantly get the message. We speak the same language. Furthermore, it’s a matter of trust. Indeed, we only select what makes sense.

The ones who are curious sometimes need time to get in. At least, they search for more information. And that point of communication opens a door.

Those who don’t see any difference from one item to another don’t have the sensibility to go further. Thus, they do not align with our vision of the world. The language is not the same. In that case, there is no connection.

But there’s no need to connect with everyone. Or to be liked by everyone.

A small aligned audience is enough.

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