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28 November 2005
Are You Wearing
'Disposable Clothing?'

Mrs. Robbie Boggs, second from right, teaches students to make long-lasting, high-quality clothing items, in contrast with today's trend toward "disposable clothing." Students are, from left, Shaina Davis of Rock Spring, Ga., a dietetics major; Heather Hase of Weaver, a fashion merchandising major; and, far right, D'Netra Carter of Jacksonville, a dietetics major.

By Randy Wilson
JSU News Bureau

College students today are almost universally buying consumable fashions—some call it "disposable clothing"—based on the latest buying trends and other considerations.

Consumable clothing generally looks like the latest, authentic fashion but in reality it is vastly inferior in quality.

"The use of consumable clothing has exploded," said Jacksonville State University's Robbie Boggs, instructor of fashion merchandising in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences.

Boggs, who holds a master's degree in clothing and textiles from the University of Georgia and is a member of The Fashion Group International of Atlanta, puts it this way: "It has really become a 24-hour fashion market."

Boggs says major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and J.C. Penney watch the fashion runways in Tokyo, New York, and Paris to glean the latest styles, and within 24 hours they have their version of those styles ready for manufacturing. Consequently, she says, the quality of the clothes suffers. Buttons are not sewn well and hemlines may be a little uneven.

Consumable clothing purchases are often made when a person needs a certain item to complete a look or outfit despite the suspect quality.

"Most students invest the largest portion of their clothing budget on capital pieces in their wardrobes," said Boggs "Capital pieces are usually clothing items that are worn over a longer period of time, such as jackets or designer jeans."

Several students from Boggs' class shared their opinions on consumable clothing.

"I don't like it, but there are times when I need one item to complete an outfit," said Chirondala Brown, a sophomore from Anniston majoring in fashion merchandising. "I can go to [certain retailers] to get the item for a cheap price, though I know it won't last."

Brooke Huddleston, a senior from Jacksonville majoring in music and fashion merchandising, had this to say: "I think stores that thrive on popular trends are both good and bad. They are great if you are looking for that trendy fashionable item that you know will only be in style for a season, but their merchandise has proven to be poorly constructed. It won't stand up to everyday wear and care."

And, says Katie Catrett, a sophomore from Jacksonville, "Consumable clothing is clothing that is cute to wear a few times, but then it falls apart." Catrett, a fashion merchandising major, said,  "Consumable clothing just isn't put together as well as higher priced items."

Heather Hase from Weaver says, "A lot of people are more concerned with the latest fashion trends than they are about quality." The junior majoring in fashion merchandising said she feels "people want the most stylish items for the smallest price, and [they] don't intend on keeping those items after the season."

Whatever your feelings about disposable fashions, you can be sure that consumable clothing is here to stay because retailers and manufacturers make a good profit from the product. As long as consumers want trendy clothes at a cheap price, say Boggs and other experts, the trend of poorly constructed clothing will have a niche.

For more information about clothing and issues related to consumable clothing, call Robbie Boggs at (256)782-5056 or send e-mail to her at You can also visit the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences website at

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