I emailed somebody I knew in advertising, if he had any insights he could share. I've edited out the personal stuff, but here's some of what he said: Hard question to answer quickly or succinctly. Advertising expenditure as a percentage of unit cost fluctuates wildly depending upon the type of product one is describing, as well as the corporate philosophy of the manufacturer. Clothing manufacturers (or, more accurately, wholesalers since so few mainstream labels actually sew their own products) spend an inordinate amount of money, not in television, but in print media. The cost of a multi-page spread in a fashion magazine is lower than a national, network or cable, tv spot. But the breadth of placement makes for a large aggregate expenditure in spite of the cheaper unit placement cost. aparrel manufacturers spent about 4.3% of their sales on advertising in 2004. To compare, here are some other industry's advertising spending: aparrel mfg 4.3 aparrel stores 3.7 beverage 9.0 liquor 15.8 dolls, stuffed toys 11.2 food 11.1 games 8.8 motion picture studio 12.5 soap 11.6 cleaners, polish 10.9 tv broadcast 11.2 I don't think it is fair or accurate to state that advertising makes up a majority of the costs of aparrel; especially when compares the clothing industry's expenditure compared to booze or cleaning products. As the figures I cited point out, advertising, obviously, adds to the cost of goods sold. But at the levels indicated, it is not enough to make up the price differences. The obvious contributors to the price differentiation are raw materials, labor, physical overhead, design/development cost, advertising and marketing expense and desired profit margin. I'd guess the easy answer to "the" question is that all of the above are higher in the case of high=priced garments. The greatest factor may well be the desired profit margin.