Huh? Khakis That Cost More than an iPad

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Last year’s dramatic drop in consumers buying $300 jeans can be categorized in the genre known as “recession porn,” which chronicled all the odd effects of the economic downturn. The appeal of overpriced jeans may have faded (excuse the pun), but apparently there are now similarly plain, even more overpriced pants taking their place.

A NY Times Fashion & Style story explains why some fairly standard-looking khakis cost $350, $500, even $780, and why plenty of people are buying them.

One designer whose khakis sell for $550 is quoted saying:

“It sounds crazy to say this, I know, but our pants are a steal.”

He goes on to detail all of the details that go into figuring that final pants price—quality imported fabric, hand-sewn buttonholes, plenty of man hours from unionized employees, a retail markup by a multiple of 2.5, and so on.

OK. So they’re good pants, and this is a business we’re talking about here. But $550!?! Good for the designers if they can convince folks that such a sum is worth it, I suppose, and it’s good that the manufacturers actually pay the workers decent wages. But personally, I have a hard time spending more than $15 on a pair of pants.

The other noteworthy quote from the story is this one:

“The cost of creating those things has nothing to do with the price,” said David A. Aaker, the vice chairman of Prophet, a brand consulting firm. “It is all about who else is wearing them, who designed them and who is selling them.”

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