Western fashion is becoming more and more expensive, with a new study revealing that the ‘Big 3’ designer brands are still out of reach for most people.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows that designer western clothes cost an average of $600 more than designer jeans, $160 more than western boots and $180 more than Western boots.
The survey of 7,000 Australian consumers found that Western brands were far out of the reach of most people, with more than half of respondents identifying themselves as ‘middle class’ and almost half saying they had never bought designer western clothing.
While Western brands are increasingly expensive, many shoppers don’t realise that they are being hit hard by the trend.
“People are buying western clothing at a time when we are seeing Western brands struggling financially,” said Rebecca Leong, director of the Centre for Fashion and Marketing at the University of Melbourne.
“When we buy Western clothing at an inflated price, people think that we are buying Western products, but it’s actually not the case.
We’re buying Western fashion because we want Western products.
We think Western clothing is a luxury and we want the best.
Western fashion has really become a luxury, but many people don’t realize that.”
The study also found that the average Western consumer spends almost $15,000 per year on clothing.
“The most common way consumers spend their money on Western clothing was on a travel to Western destination,” Ms Leong said.
“Our survey showed that in the last three months of 2015, Australians spent over $13 million on Western apparel, with Western consumers spending an average $7,400 on that travel.”
This was largely driven by Western travellers buying Western clothing, Ms Leung said.
While the average western consumer spends $15K per year, a majority of people surveyed said that they were spending less than $3,000 on their Western clothing purchases.
“We think the people who spend the least are the ones who are doing it for the most of their money,” Ms Tait said.
Western consumers were also asked what they thought of the fashion industry.
“Western consumers are not in favour of the industry,” Ms Trussell said.
“[The Western consumer] is buying western clothes because they’re in the middle class, or they’re not really comfortable wearing western clothing, and they want the most Western clothing.”
The research also found a strong correlation between the consumer spending habits of the Western consumer and the consumer buying western fashion.
“One of the reasons Western consumers buy western clothes is because they think western clothing is the only thing they can afford,” Ms Gresham said.
Ms Grede said that Western consumers tend to spend their cash on Western clothes and have a tendency to buy the cheapest brands they can find.
“They’re very aware of what Western clothing costs and what Western brands have to offer,” Ms Trevena said.
But Ms Grese said that it was also true that Westerners were buying western items because they believed that Western clothing could be affordable.
“What people really want is to buy a western item.
They’re not buying western style clothing because they are in the top 10 percent of wealth,” Ms Bracken said.
Fashion designer western garments, like Western boots, are often considered to be luxury items, but in reality are only a fraction of what people actually spend on them.
“Fashion designer western is often the cheapest option for people who don’t have the money to spend,” Ms Bresnahan said.
The research suggests that Western consumer spending is only a small portion of the price that people are paying for western fashion, as most people still have a high cost of living.
“A large part of the problem for Westerners is that they don’t feel that they’re paying for Western clothing because Westerners are buying it as a luxury item, and the Westerner is also buying Western style clothing,” Ms Freelan said.
Australian consumer spending on designer western designer clothes is still relatively low, with an average Western household spending just $14,500 on Western fashion, according to the report.
“This suggests that consumer spending, even in Western countries, is still low,” Ms Breton said.
She said that consumers should look at the luxury western clothing brands they buy, and think about how much money they are spending on them, and whether or not they will wear Western style clothes in the future.
“There’s no point spending your money on a Western style dress or boots if you’re not going to wear Western clothing,” she said.