After writing the post Monday about the ups and downs of ready to wear, it got me thinking that there might be a middle ground that could work better for us. At least, I'd love to think so. We are possessed of technologies that stand poised to transform all manner of manufacture in time. But they aren't there yet. It will be some while before 3D printing, and other newer tech will be both affordable, and variable enough, to satisfy the needs of the Attire language.
You see, at the early stages of ready to wear, businesses maintained tailors and seamstresses who could do substantial alterations to ready made goods, bringing them closer to the level of fit of a bespoke garment. In fact, even now, in many shops, alterations can be done for the same purpose. The only real difference between now, and the early days, is that such alterations are an up-charge, where they used to be factored into garment price, since most people required alterations. And for a long while menswear alterations were free. No longer.
The other advantage is more subtle, and perhaps the most important. When we go out into our day wearing something we know fits right, and looks well on us, we have a greater confidence in ourselves, because we don't have to think about our clothes. We don't need to consider if a shirt is riding up, or a skirt is slipping askew. No more worry about that jacket that has to be tugged down every 5 minutes. So, we can get on with our day, with one less thing to nag at us.
It is certainly true that we need to turn ourselves away from this idea that consumption is a good thing all by itself. Being more mindful of our choices in our apparel, taking better care that those things suit us as well as possible through careful purchase, and appropriate alteration; and then caring for those garments wisely, will only help us in the long run. Sure, mass marketers do not want us to think in this way, it will hurt their profits. But for myself, I would rather pay a bit more, and get a quality product, than have five of something that is substandard.
Ultimately it is up to each of us to decide whether the status quo is still acceptable or not. But we now have technologies to hand that can make better made, better fitted clothing possible for more people. We just have to demand it.