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Why are so many shops selling polyester clothes

(25 Posts)
DameAbsy Thu 27-Sep-12 10:25:46

for stupid amounts?

E.g. dresses/skirts for over £100 (sometimes £200) and normally I would expect them to be made from silk. The most extreme version I saw was a gorgeous amber coloured dress at Hugo Boss for £500, which I thought "well, I suppose it's silk", nope, 100% polyester.

What's up with this?

DonaAna Thu 27-Sep-12 10:32:17

Because there has been a huge investment in polyester-producing infrastructure in Asia. Polyester is basically plastic and as long as there is oil, there is also going to be polyester.

Cotton is in high demand and as its production capacity is limited (it's cultivation requires good irrigation). Its worldwide demand and price have increased a lot recently.

Many companies calculate that they operate most efficiently if they sell man-made fabrics (polyester, viscose, etc) - bigger profit margins and much less fluctuation in supply.

DameAbsy Thu 27-Sep-12 11:27:23

That makes sense. Mango's doing a lot of polyester this season, as is Karen Millen and Reiss (shops I would normally expect to have stuff in natural fibres). I had heard about the cotton shortage. Interesting ...

VeritableSmorgasbord Thu 27-Sep-12 11:29:57

Because the cotton crop for the past couple of years has not been good, and because China is buying up more and more and is skewing the market. (not just cotton)

This is why there is more viscose and cotton/viscose blends, not to mention tencel and modal. YICK.

SpicyPear Thu 27-Sep-12 11:50:33

It's very frustrating. I grumbled about it to DH for a good couple of hours on Sat whilst trying to buy A/W stuff.

I'be decided to look on the brightside though, which is that instead of paying £100+ for a polyester sweater in say, Whistles, that would have been cashmere for the same price two years ago, I may as well save myself some cash and hit asos, Topshop etc.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 27-Sep-12 12:10:10

What perplexes me is when I read the ad online it often says "100% polyester blend!" - woo? hmm Am I supposed to be excited that it's a genuine 100% manmade fibre?

I don't get it at all. I am a fogey.

Cordrazine Thu 27-Sep-12 12:30:45

I hate it, without having lots to spend its really hard to find natural fibres now. Everything is polyester. I don't have the time or childcare to spend time trawling through TK Maxx looking for a wool jumper that I can afford, that I like and that fits me. So my A/W clothes are polyester aplenty sad

VeritableSmorgasbord Thu 27-Sep-12 12:36:11

What the shops are not factoring in is that so many people will not buy as much polyester/modal/viscose/crimplene or whatever as they are trying to flog. You might give up and buy one top to see you through, and make do with older cotton and wool clothes from your wardrobe. People who really like clothes are just not that blind to the quality of the fabrics.

I'm not sure what the answer is but I think they should stop trying to market "luxurious" wood-pulp fibres that pill and crease, and be a bit more bloody apologetic about it.

DonaAna Thu 27-Sep-12 12:45:47

Yep, so true Veritable. I've almost stopped buying high street stuff because of the poor materials used atm - I either buy higher end (resenting the prices - almost always have to wait until sales) or buy vintage, or go the cellar to retrieve old clothes that suddenly have become fashionable again. Will not buy anything with viscose in it and have huge reservations about polyester.

Have also understood that cannot do closet purges any more - the clothes I already have are mostly high street, but made of much better materials (think 100% silk Zara dresses). Case in point: currently rocking t shirts from 2002 - good, thick cotton, impossible to find these days confused

Oh and have you noticed that a lot of workout wear is synthetics too (priced at premium)? They are labeled 'technical" but I think it's just a new name for laser-perforated polyester.

Cordrazine Thu 27-Sep-12 12:53:25

I haven't got any clothes from years ago, totally different size and shape now than before having the DC so everything went. I don't fit last A/W things either so having to buy a lot this season, its very expensive and I hate spending the money on things that won't last but I can't wear one good quality expensive jumper 7 days a week for all of winter!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 27-Sep-12 12:54:50

There was a piece on the radio yesterday about how the tiny fibres from synthetics are getting washed out into the oceans from our washing machines. It is an environmental disaster.

My day-to-day look is generally jeans and a breton top/tunic and I find that these clothes are generally still cotton. It is when I go shopping for something more 'luxurious' that I find everything is polyester.

VeritableSmorgasbord Thu 27-Sep-12 12:58:26

I just don't have a lot of clothes...
I'm already a bit shock at the amount I've thrown out over the last few years but like you Cordrazine it was a change of size and I can't really help that!
I have a capsule wardrobe and a lot of scarves...

SpicyPear Thu 27-Sep-12 13:00:46

Dona I am envious of your cellar. For various reasons my weight has fluctuated hugely over the last few years and I've had to buy new. There is a pile of cashmere, wool etc in my loft room that is unwearably big or small.

RamblingRosa Thu 27-Sep-12 13:00:58

This drives me mad too. I recommend Uniqlo for basic cotton tops and affordable wool jumpers/cardis etc. Or wait for sales.

Cordrazine Thu 27-Sep-12 13:03:49

Funnily enough I'm going shopping tomorrow for more scarves veritable, I have 2 and I need more. I'm hoping that I can find some inexpensive ones. It really does make a lacklustre outfit look so much better.

DameAbsy Thu 27-Sep-12 13:09:10

It's so depressing. I have found that (at least until last season) you could still get natural fibres from Zara (even in the sale), but we'll see what happens A/w ...

Massimo Dutti does, but tend to be mroe expensive.

CointreauVersial Thu 27-Sep-12 13:17:29

I'm going to be contreauversial grin and say polyester ain't all bad. And viscose is fine imho (wood fibre).

It's cheap, readily available, doesn't need ironing, doesn't need dry-cleaning, doesn't get moths....

If I'm buying a shirt and trousers to wear to sit behind a desk for eight hours, they are unlikely to be silk, wool or cotton for the above reasons.

OK, OK, there are some horrid acrylic garments, and acrylic knits I tend to avoid because I don't like the squeaky feeling, but I don't run screaming just because something is not made from natural fibres (and when did you last go for a run in cotton clothing, while we're on the subject?).

Anyway, please don't flame me (I might be flammable wink).

justasecond Thu 27-Sep-12 13:19:25

There are still the odd few things in Zara that are silk (not the best quality silk but still). I have been on a mission the last year or so to buy silk blouses and tops instead of polyester and have managed to pick up some bargains in the sales from places like zara, french connection, comptoir, whistles and massimo but now find that silk and 3 young dcs don't really mix at least with polyester you can bung it in the washing machine and its practically dry and ready to wear when it comes out.

EdMcDunnough Thu 27-Sep-12 13:22:21

Ooh. I started a thread about this sometime last winter or spring, I can't remember when - how funny. I thought I was imagining it as there weren't many replies and no one knew why it was or had really noticed.

I'm glad I wasn't imagining it though I wish I was! It's like, you look at something, think it's a 'normal' price and then realise it's made from, well, crap. And no cheaper than it was when it was cotton, the year before.

Really hard to find anything vaguely natural now.

Cordrazine Thu 27-Sep-12 13:22:32

No polyester isn't all bad but it would nice to at least be able to have a choice in the shops. I need some knit sweaters but seem to only find acrylic and its horrible.

MadameOvary Thu 27-Sep-12 13:22:59

I loathe man-made fabrics, they are so sweaty <ick>

SpicyPear Thu 27-Sep-12 13:47:27

I've just been looking at Miss Selfridge long scoop neck vests linked to from another thread and the different colours are different fabrics! I managed to find four 100% cotton colours I liked but some I would have bought otherwise were 50/50 polycotton and some 100% polyester. Can anyone of you smart ladies explain this to me? Such a pain...

Sonotkylie Thu 27-Sep-12 14:13:21

And, what I want to know, is, why when you DO find something cotton, it has been made to LOOK like its polyester. Just back from a black trousers trip (bought nothing) with that question. I want a plain pair of smart casual black cotton trousers - twill, cord, whatever, just not jeans - and they are all shiny and polyester effect. EVERYWHERE. Uniqlo you too are guilty (very guilty - lovely fitting trousers 97% cotton but so shiny ...).
Thank you I feel better now.

DameAbsy Thu 27-Sep-12 14:27:11

I'm not totally anti-man made, like I have two skirts which are amazing for travelling, as they dry in two seconds and don't scrunch. BUT I hate wearing polyester tops as they're sweaty and I end up smelling bad. Not particularly attractive ...

VeritableSmorgasbord Thu 27-Sep-12 15:07:28

SpicyPear that could be something to do with a particular colour they wanted dyeing: dyes take differently on different fabrics. More likely it's to do with getting a cheap supply of a particular colour fabric and not really bothering what it's made of, up to a point.

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