Why buy custom clothing?
There are more and more options in terms of gender affirming clothing, and which is awesome! With that said though, they really aren’t all created equal, and there are still companies out there who are looking to market to the needs of queer and trans folks in order to line their own pockets and pay back into a system that tends to be oppressive to the very people it claims to be serving. As a primarily ethics driven brand, we place a lot of importance on wealth redistribution.
One way we work towards a more sustainable future for this planet and a more equitable society for everyone is by making each piece with free custom sizing. Let’s dive a little deeper into that …
WHAT DOES CUSTOM MEAN?
Every Origami order is treated with personalized attention and care. There is a whole process that unfolds after you purchase an item. When we receive your custom measurements, our designers carefully consider all of the ways a garment needs to move, fit, and stay put in order to be comfy for you. From there, we refine a base pattern to the order’s custom measurements, creating a unique piece for each customer. This custom sizing always free!
In the end, you receive a piece that is tailored to your body and designed to fit you as comfortably as possible.
If it doesn’t fit quite right, we’ll make alterations (within the time frames posted in our FAQ) to make sure you end up with something really good that you want to wear.
LET’S TALK PRICING
Alright, let’s discuss the reality of pricing out custom, handmade garments. As a consumer, we know how frustrating it can be to navigate the landscape of gender affirming clothing, wanting something that feels good on your body but not understanding why things feel so expensive.
There are four factors we consider imperative to navigating the price of clothing:
1. COST PER WEAR
Long lasting garments mean less money spent over time. There is a formula some people use to break down the value of an investment into a garment and it’s referred to as Cost Per Wear. To arrive at this number, start by considering how often you will wear the garment and divide the total cost by that number. It’s an excellent trick for determining whether it’s worth the money or not. A suit bought for a special event for example will have a much higher cost per wear than a pair of sweats that you will wear every day. We often prioritize spending big on items we are less likely to use. Investing into everyday items has a whole host of advantages and also tends to cost less in the long run than buying the lower end version and needing to replace it or letting it sit unused in your closet.
Things to look for: High quality fabrics, ownership of the manufacturing process, and fit customization are good things to look for in identifying a durable garment.
You’ve likely heard the term before, but how do you really know if a company is practicing slow or fast fashion? On the front end, looking at the turnover on collections and lines is a good way to determine if a brand is fast fashion. Micro seasons and constantly changing styles are a good indicator. A deeper layer of the slow vs fast question is: How long does it take for a garment to be made? Many companies outsource their manufacturing overseas where items tend to be made on an assembly line in order to cut the overhead and production costs down. Business who own the entire manufacturing process in-house tend to put a lot more care and attention into each garment making it more expensive to create, but more likely to be better quality and also less likely to contribute to waste.
Depending on the complexity of a garment and the customizations for style and sizing, it takes our sewers between 20 minutes and two hours to make each piece in an order.
3. QUALITY AND COMFORT
This will play into your cost per wear calculation. The quality of a garment determines how long it will last, but comfort is what really determines how often you’ll wear the garment. Fit customization is like comfort insurance. Our garments are made to measure according to your body which means it will fit right in the right places. Let’s be honest, we all wanna be comfy! So it stands to reason that the better fitted your item is, the more likely you are to get more wear out of it. When items are ill-fitted, they tend to sit at the back of the closet or end up in the donation bin, which is frustrating when you’ve spent a big sum of money on them.
Sustainability is woven throughout our entire business. The environmental footprint of a garment can be measured in a few ways, all of which are complex and subjective. A good place to start is waste reduction. We’ve already talked about durability from a cost efficiency point of view, but the other side of durability is that it reduces fabric waste. The more durable a garment is the longer you can wear it and the longer you can wear it the less garments end up in the trash! The other entry point to sustainability is how fabrics are made, how much traveling and shipping is involved in producing and delivering the garments.. We feel a great deal of responsibility towards this planet and the folks who inhabit it. Our entire manufacturing process is done here in Montreal, and we source as many locally milled fabrics as possible. We design our items to last and customize to ensure comfort in the hopes of reducing clothing waste. We also source a lot of our fabrics from deadstock, recycled nylon, and canadian mills. We package every item in recycled, reusable, recyclable bags to reduce other types of waste.
Another way we try to reduce our footprint is by donating materials we no longer use (thread, scraps, older fabrics, etc.) to local craft cafes and community organizations. Because we make everything by hand, one at a time, sometimes small errors happen. When it’s possible to, we offer those pieces at reduced prices or donate them to local organizations supporting our community, so there are never any wasted pieces.
As a brand which was started by one person, eleven years ago, to serve the queer and trans community, we've grown to a point where our actions have a much further reach in the world. We don't take this lightly, and make every decision with the best care and intention in mind- for our team, our customers, and the planet.
We know that you care too- that's why you're here! So thank you for being a part of what we're creating.
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From all of us at Origami Customs, take care of yourself and others <3
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