I bought a denim shirt last week, thinking it was perhaps a piece missing from my “twenty- something costume.” It fits like a glove and is perhaps an homage to Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain. Forty dollars later, all I could think about was how happy I was with my purchase. I didn’t know how to quit this shirt. It was like going on an amazing blind date.
But then I got to thinking about consumption in times of economic hardship. Fashion is a consumers industry, no matter how you look at it. Consumerism being the backbone of America, I decided to take a look at what people were consuming in their ravenous fits of fashion depravity.
Did you know Kanye West designs clothes? When he is not busy being a grade-A rapper (grade-D human being) he designs clothes for what he describes the “modern woman.” Did you know a pair of his shoes cost a simple 6K? The modern American woman has a foreclosed house somewhere and a pair of Kanye Heels.
Did you know about that Alligator backpack the Olsen Twins created for their luxury line of handbags? The starting cost is at about 39K, and sold out instantly. Did you get one? You would think I was on the waiting list, but I plan on just busting out my old Jansport instead.
The point is, in times of a certain economic standing, are people really still willing to shell out a down-payment on a car for a handbag? Is a pair of shoes worth a whole year rent? And once you have bought these items, do you feel any different?
I am currently wearing my denim shirt. And perhaps Kanye West didn’t design it, and it wouldn’t get me into Paris Fashion Week. But it’s getting me into the Western Bar I frequent on Wednesdays, and its not forcing me into a sudden career of pole dancing. There is a difference between being cheap and being realistic. Fashion should be like a first date: you should only go as far as you want to.
-Stan Salas, Customer Service Connoisseur and Contributing Blogger