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How a Pair of Pants Goes From $50 to $800

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Pat & Rose Dresses is a garment factory run by Pat Capolupo and his sister Rose. They employ 45 people and specialize in blouses, shirts, and trousers for labels like Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. Danuta Denuree, production director at Marc Jacobs, says, “Nobody can make a shirt like Pat’s.” Such good quality might explain why clothes are so expensive, right? Not exactly. Pat and Rose live modestly two blocks apart in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, and drive to work together every day with packed lunches. Their employees make about $15 an hour. They charge a fashion house around $50 to $75 for a garment, which will then retail for $800. How does that work? Pat’s partner, Gordon Hefner, says Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren pay a lot to produce their pieces and use high-quality fabrics. He added if designers bought a garment for $75, they’d sell it to the store for $150, and the store would then sell it for $300. He points out the fashion houses need the money for things like marketing and runway shows. Didn’t this make Hefner cynical? Cathy Horyn asked in today’s Times. He said it doesn’t:

“Fashion is fashion. You can either buy a $50 pair of pants or a $500 pair. They’d probably both be just as durable but there wouldn’t be fashion. There’d just be stuff.”

We almost felt so cheated there for a minute.

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How a Pair of Pants Goes From $50 to $800