Last week when I was wrapping up my workday in the office, I randomly decided to repost this video on my TikTok. I then left my phone for a few hours and came back to it that night with a few comments about the price using some choice words. At this point in my Hey Friends The Label journey, I am kind of used to this so- I ignored the comments and went to bed. The next morning when I woke up the video tripled in views and had hundreds of comments- mostly angry ladies that were outraged that a dress could cost $248. (I have included some of their colorful comments as the cover for this blog post… I also had no sympathy and felt no need to blur out their faces or usernames)
Clothing production in America is expensive.
So let's talk about it.
Let me paint you a picture: Let’s just pretend you bought a top off Shein for $5. That $5 top was most likely made in a factory overseas in Bangladesh where the minimum wage is $74 dollars a month. The workers in this factory do not get breaks or lunches. They work long hours and days in terrible conditions with the sole purpose of pushing out as much product as they can. Quantity or quality. It is for a lack of better words a sweat shop- and in 2013 a clothing manufacturer in Bangladesh collapsed on itself because supervisors overlooked the decaying of the building. 1,134 people died in this collapse- that was 100% preventable if proper working conditions and regulations had been enforced.
I have only touched on one country in the ring of many leading the fast fashion epidemic overseas. Not to mention I didn’t even touch on the fact that in most of these factories children make up a lot of the workforce.
So with all of those reasons I just listed, can you tell why I didn’t want to support this industry overseas?!
Honestly, it would have been so much easier to find a sweatshop overseas, send them my pattern, and have them make my dresses.They would be so much cheaper- BUT to me, this was the easy way out. I wanted to do this the right way. So I googled everything there was to know about clothing production and manufacturing in the United States and I made it happen with 0 connections.
I created the dress of my dreams and it became a total passion project. The Bonnie dress launched on May 30th, 2023 retailing for $248 dollars.
Cost Factor #1: These dresses were proudly made in the United States, where the proper working conditions and livable wages are a standard. The average wage for these factory workers here in New York is $22 an hour.
Cost Factor #2: The beautiful striped fabric on this dress is from a small family owned mill in London, England. A mother and son run it together- so that’s another small business you are also supporting when you buy a dress. Not to mention the fabric is all organic and the dress is fully lined with organic fabric as well. AND there is 5 ½ yards of fabric in each dress- which is a lot!
Cost Factor #3: This dress actually has to go to two different factories in New York. One to get the top smocking detail and another to get completely sewn and finished.
Cost Factor #4: The quality is unmatched. A lot of the price is the quality of the piece, which will last you a lifetime. I like to joke that your grandkids will be fighting over this in your closet one day because the quality is so good. :)
I agree with saying that this is an expensive dress. This would absolutely be a piece I would have to save up for if this wasn't my line. However I recognize the value in American made, Supporting slow fashion, supporting independent designers, and the garment industry in New York.
Lately I have been replying to nearly every bad, rude, and curious comment with this speech above- and I have gotten a few replies saying “stop explaining yourself” or “don’t give them attention by responding” but I truly see this as an opportunity to educate people on the fast fashion industries and how detrimental they are- and why we must support American made.I want to encourage people to really find out where their clothes are made, who are you supporting? I know for me this has really opened my eyes and I am much more conscious of where I am buying my clothes from.
Currently only 3 percent of clothing we wear is made in the United States. This is a number I would love to see higher, but I am beyond honored that Hey Friend is now included in that statistic.
I am writing this now with my fall 2023 collection currently in production in New York City. I am beyond excited to launch the next phase of Hey Friends The Label.
You can always count on Hey Friends and I to bring you timeless and classic pieces that will last you a lifetime.