Haute Couture VS RTW Fashions
This is a quick overview of the differences between haute couture and ready-to-wear (commonly noted in the industry as RTW) fashions. Haute couture is the designing and making of high-quality fashionable clothes by leading fashion houses, esp. to order(Google Dictionary). While ready to wear (RTW) is off-the-rack: (especially of clothing)made in standard sizes and available from merchandise in stock; “a ready-made jacket”(Google Dictionary). Haute Couture unlike RTW is exclusive and what the fashion industry refers to as high-end, meaning the price of the garment is expensive by standard and marketed and sold to those persons who can afford it. in comparison RTW comes in a broad range of prices to suit every economic demographic and is the bulk of what drives the fashion economy. It can now be said that in todays time a smart and business savvy couturie would be wise to have a RTW brand or line to supplement his or her income.
One could argue that fashion history begins with haute couture and that fashion ends with the concept of RTW, this is a concept that Teri Agins argues in her book, “The End of Fashion”. Haute couture has a rich history steeped in rules and regulations deemed by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris. As of late the term has been used in a broader context, generalizing all designer who make original, one of a kind, high end garments, but this usage is incorrect. The institution in Paris, France aforementioned maintains a specific list of designers and design houses, that fit the criteria, in which to be labeled “haute couture”. This list in governed and maintained yearly.
As the world’s middle classes began to emerge with economic status and buying power, the haute couture market began to shrink in size. This was also a result of industrial revolution which gave way to the mass production of clothing goods. the design house of Paris referred to these machine made goods as prete a porter,translating off the rack or peg. With more buying power in the hands of the middle classes the industry of custom made clothing, which was costly and expensive, and really only accessible to the wealthy became something of the past and on the grander scale still only a luxury to the wealthy.
Fact the customer of haute couture today roughly makes up 3-4% of the world population. the other 96-97% are all wearing RTW or should we say pret a porter.