Take a look:
|"Rebecca Taylor Mesh Tank Top"|
No....That can't be right.
$195 for a machine-made cotton tank top that doesn't even cover your belly? That's outrageous, but when I looked online I saw that it is actually on sale right now so you can buy this little beauty for only $136. Only.
So I got to thinking. I thought about how people don't really understand the value of hand-knit goods, and how they think spending $20 on a single skein of yarn is ridiculous.
Then I looked around my room, and the first hand-knit thing I laid eyes on was a scarf I made in 2007. I used 3 skeins of Karabella Aurora 8.
It's a funny story, actually: It was early in my knitting career, when nearly everything I made was 100% acrylic. I came across the Tutti Twist Cardigan in a book and went online to buy the yarn the pattern called for- it was $9 a ball. The cardigan called for 18 balls, and I figured I would order it 3 skeins at a time as I acquired money. Then one day I learned about dye lots, threw that plan out of the window and knitted a scarf instead!
I flirted with the idea of giving the scarf away, but it had taken so long and the yarn was so soft and pretty- it's not really my color but there it hangs today. The yarn for that scarf totaled $27. I was a relative beginner then, and it's a seed stitch/basket-weave pattern so I put a lot of work into it. If I was forced to sell that scarf, I wouldn't let it go for less than $50 and yet the average shopper has been led to believe that scarves are only worth about $12.
Think about what I just said for a second. "I wouldn't let that scarf go for less than $50." $30 of that is for the material alone. Now, I used to work for a non-profit. I got paid $11 an hour, and I did some data entry, answered phones, answered questions, tidied up, and made flyers. None of that stuff I did took skill. It was very basic work, and I got paid $11 an hour to do it. Knitting is a skill: proficiency and dexterity developed through training or experience. Let me tell you right now that scarf probably took at least 10 hours. So should I be asking for $110 plus the $30 for the yarn? Nobody would pay that, I say to myself.
Or would they? If we live in a society where someone will see a machine-knit top in a magazine and pay $195 for it, then why won't they pay $140 for a hand-knit scarf? Something is screwy here.
Check it out for yourselves. Top-fashion designers are charging outrageous numbers for super simple knits. $275 for a garter stitch top? I think this price is a steal- IF it were hand-knit.
I know this topic is totally, completely done in, but it was just on my mind today. If I got paid $195 to knit a simple, shapeless razor-back mesh tee with some ribbing at the edges I'd be making one right now.
I think Rebecca Taylor needs to share with me her list of customers.