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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know most here don't shop at Banana, but I thought what I saw this afternoon was interesting enough to post...

I was shocked today when I walked into a Banana Republic is the Garden State Plaza in northern NJ. Every piece of tailored clothing was labeled "Made in China". I knew some of their cheaper items used to be made in China, but most tailored goods were from Turkey, Egypt, or some other warm climated nation.

After seeing so many of these, I decided to peek into their BR Monogram section, and lo and behold...all made in China as well. The prices were as high as ever also...~$800 for a Camel Hair overcoat, $350 for suit jackets $135 for pants...is this a result of the struggling economy? I also know many here look down on items made in China; is this because the workmanship is below par (for the most part)?
 

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I miss the old BR

I liked the place so much better when they had Jeeps and wood crates and junk in the stores. For the last decade I jump in to see if they've returned to selling men's clothing, and have always been disappointed.

I haven't been shopping recently, but apparently the entire middle market is made in China now, as are some so-called luxury brands. I still have a large amount of clothing about a decade old, nothing special, all made in the USA.

Made in China doesn't automatically mean shoddy goods, just extremely probable. Demands extra scrutiny in my book.
 

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Hmmm how odd. The argument Big Business always gives for outsourcing manufacturing work is so that they can keep costs down and pass those savings on to consumers. I guess we are supposed to think $135 for made in China pants is a reasonable price since if they were made in the USA by greedy and ungrateful American workers who have the gall to ask for a living wage and some form of health insurance, they would be more like $335.
Really now, how much does one guesstimate these pants cost to make labor and material combined? I'll guess somewhere between $5 and $10. Even at a half off sale, they are still a rip off.
 

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I must disagree sir! I have bought a great many deal of sweaters from Banana Republic, and their quality has been quite good. Sure they're mid-ranged price, but for students (comme moi) who are not soaking in funds, it's a good store to find clothes at. I will agree that I would not buy some clothes from the store (shirts for example, among other things), but I don't think it's fair to condemn all their apparel.

Also, they tend to have a lot of discount items at all times of the year. Makes going to the store fun, as you never know what will be on sale.

Erik
 

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Not buying goods made in China .....

is a hard and fast rule of mine. I have been ripped off too many times with sweaters that pill, shirts not tailored properly, wool trousers scratchy and not made well, ties of inferior quality .... I could go on and on. CT shirts went to China a few years ago to have their shirts made there. They had so many shirts returned that they had to quit manufacturing in China. One of these days China may have some decent quality control, but not now.
 

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On a side note, I saw a few nice ties at TJ Maxx today. A couple Henry Jacobson and a couple other brands, and they were all made in China so I took a pass. Even on a gorgeous six fold tie (for $10) from a brand I hadn't heard of (nor can recall) that felt quite substantial.


I have decided I'm done buying Chinese made clothes.
 

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This is why I refuse to pay more than 3rd world prices for items of clothing made in the third world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I must disagree sir! I have bought a great many deal of sweaters from Banana Republic, and their quality has been quite good. Sure they're mid-ranged price, but for students (comme moi) who are not soaking in funds, it's a good store to find clothes at. I will agree that I would not buy some clothes from the store (shirts for example, among other things), but I don't think it's fair to condemn all their apparel.

Also, they tend to have a lot of discount items at all times of the year. Makes going to the store fun, as you never know what will be on sale.

Erik
I also have bought some decent stuff from them in the past, but never were their goods made in China. I just think its a clue that their quality will certainly decrease because of it, while the prices remain the same.
 

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Just to offer a contrarian example that not all Chinese made goods are junk, I'm typing this post on a 2.5 year old Lenovo (Thinkpad) laptop. It is the best laptop I've ever owned - extremely durable and no hardware problems. That said, I probably woudn't buy the cheaper Lenovo line of products. I'm convinced that Chinese manufacturers can produce quality goods if the consumer is willing to pay a reasonable price. If consumers want Walmart prices, they get Walmart junk, which I think is the case regardless of what country the manufacturering occurs
 

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i agree with the above post.. there are many made in china goods which i own which own that are of far superior quality than those made in other countries.. for example, my whole kitchen set was made there, and i have far less problems than many of my neighbor's General Electric products.. i think it depends more on the good, and i think their quality is improving.. a chinese car company is actually building a dealership here, so im really excited to look at the quality of those things lol
 

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Shocked, shocked!

This is from Wikipedia, and is news to me:
In March 2008 Banana Republic was criticized by War on Want for allegedly employing workers at sub contractors in India at rates as low as 30 cents (US) an hour for a 70 hour week. The company immediately launched an investigation to determine the accuracy of such claims and reiterated its strong condemnation of such working conditions.

Wait, what? I guess they can claim to be elevating the working conditions in China a la A Decent Factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is from Wikipedia, and is news to me:
In March 2008 Banana Republic was criticized by War on Want for allegedly employing workers at sub contractors in India at rates as low as 30 cents (US) an hour for a 70 hour week. The company immediately launched an investigation to determine the accuracy of such claims and reiterated its strong condemnation of such working conditions.

Wait, what? I guess they can claim to be elevating the working conditions in China a la A Decent Factory.
I don't know if you remember this chat, but WNBC Channel 4 exposed a sweat shop in Queens where Banana Republic products were made...right here in NYC, by wokers making about $1 an hour.
 

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I noticed that the other day as well. I try to avoid made in China because of the crap they send us, lead in kids toys, led in medicines, etc, so I try to not support their economy in any way.

I did buy some sales items in the back, not made in china.
 

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This just bugs me even more then the "passing the savings on to consumers" con...that is whenever the jig is up on these 3rd world sweat shops (and apparently here in the US as a post above remarks) these businesses "launch an investigation". Puleeze! Spare me the faux concern. These companies know full well how much they are paying and the conditions in most of these shops. They just want to deflect any criticism that might hurt sales.
 

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rippin us off

I too have noticed all the chinese products flooding our economy.I can and will stomach chinese junk in wal-mart. What grips me is when almost every item in ALL high end retailers for sale is chinese made at an exhubrant price.I dare you to go into any mall nowdays and find a silk tie made in Italy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I too have noticed all the chinese products flooding our economy.I can and will stomach chinese junk in wal-mart. What grips me is when almost every item in ALL high end retailers for sale is chinese made at an exhubrant price.I dare you to go into any mall nowdays and find a silk tie made in Italy.
Not sure about this, but I read somewhere that 90% of the world's silk comes from China, so it doesn't suprise me that ties would be made there...but the rest...goes to show that companies will do anything to cut costs. I guess there need to be world wide unions to protect workers overseas, and our economy here. This is how so many businesses made their loot during the beginning of the Industrial revolution and the Gilded Age, at the expense of workers who would take jobs for pay others wouldn't...who's in with me?! Just call me Gompers, Samuel Gompers.
 

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Of course, the whole 'Made In XXXX' is open to wide interpretation. I think a lot of people don't really know what the legal definition of that statement is, especially since it varies from country to country, and even among different products.

For example, what does 'Made in Italy' really mean? If a shirt is made in china, shipped to italy, and then someone in italy sews on a pocket, can they legally mark the garmet 'Made in Italy'? Sometimes these definitions can be very loose, and in the end have very little meaning. This is why I buy based on examining the product and trying to learn something about it - I don't really care where it claims to have been made or what 'brand' made it, because that can be meaningless.
 

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Most of these items are intened to be worn for one season, maybe two. By that time, they want you to buy the latest and greatest fashionable item of the week. In other words, their marketing/sales strategy isn't to produce quality that lasts forever.

Furthermore, I'd be interested in learning what percent of their clothing goes for retail price. My guess is that only a small percentage goes for retail.

I don't have tons of dough at the moment either, but I'll gladly spend a couple extra bucks for fewer items of higher quality. As mentioned earlier, BR stuff isn't that cheap anyway. There are definitely better places to spend $135 on pants (or if you're patient, you can usually find better quality stuff at half that price).
 

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I don't find it fair to cast a singular net on Chinese-made products. I have several items (including clothing) that are made in China of very high quality. Also a few of less than high quality. I typically don't look at the "country of origin" labels at all when I'm shopping for clothes, unless I have prior experience regarding a particular fit that is associated with a unique country of origin (my own experience with A. Brandt suits from STP is the example that comes to mind). Regarding BR clothes (I admit I've never even looked at the monogram line, that's out of my league price-wise), I think they do have a really good eye for affordable, upscale style (what I might have bought in college if I had both taste and money). Now I do have some means, and the clothes still fit, so I have made some recent purchases (pants and shirts and a sweater or two) that I wear on "casual fridays" and the like. It helped that my wife had a "friends and family" discount; I strongly doubt I'd ever pay full price for anything at BR. A particularly nice piece I passed on is the plaid overcoat (Mac style) they featured in last fall's ad campaign; I saw it on the rack last week marked down 30-some percent. I'm flush with outerwear, otherwise it would be part of the collection. The only slightly negative comment I can make about BR is that they don't seem to have a "uniform" sizing, i.e. you can't assume a medium is a medium is a medium. You have to try every individual piece on to check the fit.
 
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