I like to keep things positive, but every now and again, I have to get something off my chest. The pet peeve on my mind right now is yoga clothes. Why is it that the price of a pair of pants virtually doubles when you put the word "yoga" in front of it? I recently had a little experience that's made me think twice about all of those yoga clothes in my closet.
A few weeks ago, I placed an order with Prana. I've been a fan of their clothes for years and I still have some Prana wear that's well over 4 years old. The material was high quality, the fit was perfect, and as you can see from the fact that I'm still wearing the clothes from orders that I placed years ago, the clothes are durable. Imagine my disappointment when I received a shirt that I paid $60 only to find that the material was flimsy, the quality a big step down from my past experience, and the fit was...not quite right, which, in my experience, means cheap craftmanship.
Prana's response to my complaint was seriously impressive. They did everything in their power to do right by me and I have to say that their attentive customer service went a long way in restoring my faith in Prana (which I was starting to think turned from quality to rip-off). During my exchange with the customer service folks, I discovered that they include Country of Origin in their product descriptions, which I think is pretty darned cool (check out the bottom left hand corner of the picture above). While 50% of their clothing is manufactured in the US, the other 50% is manufactured elsewhere and this nifty feature on their Web site allows you to see where each item of clothing is made. I was intrigued by this. Interestingly enough, the pieces of clothing that I disliked were made in China and India.
That got me thinking, so I spent about 20 minutes in my closet checking out where my yoga clothing is made. My beloved Prana pieces from over 4 years ago were made in the US (with one pair of capris made in Macau). My favorite Lululemon pants were made in Cambodia, while the ill-fitting hoodie that I bought from them was made in China. My eyebrow raised at the coincidence of ill-fitting, poor-quality clothing coming from China. My favorite Lucy pants were made in Singapore. The few pieces from one of my clothing sources -- Title Nine -- were made in the US.
For the first time, I'm starting to wonder what, exactly, I'm paying for and considering where I want my money to go. I want my clothes to fit and flatter, yes. There's nothing worse than paying $90 for a pair of yoga pants only to be disappointed by the fit or quality. The truth is, I'm rarely disappointed by Lululemon, Lucy, and Title Nine. The quality, the fit, and the durability of the clothing makes the high price tag a little easier to take.
Still, what about the fact that my favorite pieces in terms of fit, quality and durability come from the US? Right now, I'm wearing a pair of pants from Blue Canoe, which I ordered a few years back. The pants were the standard price for yoga pants, perhaps slightly cheaper. They are made in the US and fit perfectly. They did take about 3 weeks to receive, but they were worth the wait.
Then there are my clothes from TranquiliT. I'm a fan of this clothing line as the pieces are versatile, stylish, comfortable, and easily go from yoga studio to out and about (without looking like you just came from the yoga studio). The prices are higher than I normally pay for clothes, but the quality is there and I like the made in the USA policy and eco-friendly materials. These days -- in the time of outsourcing -- I'm willing to pay more money for clothes made in the US.
Another one of my favorite splurges is clothes from Gaia Conceptions. Again, the clothes are pricey, but the clothes are made here in the US and the materials are eco-friendly and lush and durable. Just the other day, I bought two pair of gaucho style pants to the tune of $95 each. Normally I would balk at that price -- but isn't it worth it to support our country and get high quality clothing?
My experience with Prana was eye-opening. I replaced the articles of clothing from China and India with one from the US. I have a feeling that this jumpsuit is going to be reminiscent of the Prana clothes that I'm currently wearing to death even though they're years old. I admire Prana for openly stating where their clothes are made. In fact, I don't think I've seen another Web site do this -- usually you have to look at the tag to see where your clothes are coming from.
I'm starting to re-evaluate what type of clothing I buy. Am I willing to pay more for clothes made in the US? Am I willing to pay more for clothes that are made with the environment in mind? Is it worth it to buy less clothes but a clearer conscience? Have I placed too much emphasis on style and not enough on manufacturing policies and practices?
What do you think? What's hanging in your closet? Do you think about where or how your yoga clothes are made or do you simply have a favorite source for yoga clothes and don't think about where they manufacture the clothes?
Thank you to Prana for opening my eyes.