Try saying that fast five times.
I don’t mean that that that that that….
Armani. Giorgio, Emporio, Collezioni, Jeans or Exchange, they’re all fine places to shop and pieces to wear.
I’ve brought the brand up to discuss today because of a slightly disturbing discovery I made recently.
I have a number of Armani clothing items, and three pairs of Armani shoes. That wasn’t the discovery, in case you were wondering.
The discovery was, as I was cleaning my shoes the other night, it became apparent to me that out of the three pairs of Armani shoes I have, only one pair is made in Italy, while two pairs are made in Indonesia. This prompted me to check the clothing. Apart from one Italian made jacket, everything else is made in China! This surprised me, as I had always assumed that everything was made in Italy, apart from the Exchange brand, which is at the cheaper end of the scale. I suppose when I first started getting interested in clothing, and I found my first Armani jacket, it was made in Italy, and I just blindly assumed the rest was as well.
I wonder if there is a level of letting the consumer assume the country of manufacture. If I take a look at the Armani Jeans I have, there are two large labels on the inside of the waistband, one with the laundry instructions etc (primarily in Italian), the other with the sizing, which is all in Italian, right down to an Italian address on the tag. It is only under these two tags, that I find a small fabric tag with Made in China printed on it. Now I’m thinking that when I’m in the store, I look at the tag for the size, and would consciously, and even subconsciously notice the Italian language written there, and not see the Made in China tag underneath.
It turns out that I have been completely off the mark when it came to my belief that the major cost of a premium branded clothing item was the fabric and build quality. The materials and the equipment used nowadays in China/India/Indonesia etc, especially in the European brand factories, are just as good as what is or was used in the original factories in Europe. What the major difference is, is the cost of labour. Now with the huge difference in the cost of labour, you would think that we could pick up those shoes so much cheaper if they were made in China. Wrong again. Apparently, the major contributor to the cost of those $300 sneakers, or that $1500 suit, is design. According to an article in the China Times, the average cost of producing an Armani suit is approximately $50. Now obviously this depends on volume etc, but that blew my mind! They go on to say that the average cost of the 3m of higher quality material to make a suit is $33, so the labour and production costs are a measly $17! Why then, is that same suit on the rack in an Armani store for $1500? Apparently, because of the design costs involved. The same article quotes that the design cost of that suit could be as high as $200000 for a run of 500 suits. Take that into account and the price doesn’t seem so extravagant. They still have to ship, store, sell etc, and of course, turn a profit. It just goes to show how little I know about the fashion process, and what a clothes horse I really am.
At the end of the day, I have no issue with the quality of any of those items or shoes, and will still continue to purchase the brand. I just wish they were a little more open about where they are manufactured.
Made in Italy $300
Made in Indonesia $150
Made in Indonesia $205