Courtesy of European & American corporations, China has access to the same technology, more or less, that the West has. China makes what the bosses order: garbage. If you tell Mr. Xue to produce a hand-brogued goodyear welted shoe in full-grain leather under the close supervision of and final inspection of an experienced cobbler, they will. If you tell Mr. Xue to produce a shoe used the cheapest corrected leather and discount shoe cement, he will. It's all business. Of course, if you get a corrupt little bastard...that's when "substitutions" are made.
I would guess that the RLPL cashmere sweaters are a failure to use properly spun two-ply cashmere. It's my favorite fabric, and I own many, many pounds of the stuff in the form of overcoats, sport coats, sweaters, and scarves. Even under the brutalizing I force upon my clothing, my cashmere still is relatively pristine. The Chinese factory COULD have used a lesser yarn. I know for a fact that SF members wouldn't run their sweaters through the washing machine and dryer under "permanent press." In theory, a $1,000 MSRP cashmere sweater SHOULD be of the highest quality available. I have bought sweaters in Scotland with a $300 MSRP (but did I pay that?
) that are still as good as new.
The ugly truth for the west? The developing world has essentially acquired the technology and means to manufacture the best. We've given it to them! I've noticed that my India/Mexico/China/etc garments & shoes are approaching or have reached developed world standards (of solidly made stuff). My India-made Cole Haan shoes haven't fallen apart in 3 weeks (in spite of fearmongering) and are stitched, not cemented. With care, I see no reason that they wouldn't live as long as a similar Allen-Edmonds. The leather does not match my Barkers in quality, but it's fine. So, I suppose, judge each item on its own merit, not what the "Made in" label says.
And never spend $900 on a designer purse for your woman, as it probably cost $0.90 to make.