As a designer I am always curious to see what sells and how it sells. Selling is the meal ticket for all commodities even in fashion. If we do not sell then we can no longer continue to make the doughnuts, so to speak. This brings me to an observation which I am finding to be interesting as well as upsetting:
How did we come to this juncture in time where the public judges the quality of the product solely on the notoriety of the brand name? We have become obsessive compulsive brand addicts. It has gotten to the point where we would buy a knock-off just to say that we have a known BRAND!
Personally, if I cannot have the real thing then I do not want it. Period!
What I find fascinating is the Parisians dress basically the same as the folks in my hometown of Burlington. Iowa. WTF!! How can this be? What happened to individuality? How have we all become the same in appearance as chocolate chip cookies? The Gap, H&M, Uniqlo, Blue Navy, Morgan, etc. Does this bother anyone else besides me?
I love rummaging through The Salvation Army or Emmaüs or Guerrisol or anyother thrift / secondhand store in high hopes of finding an incredible gem for myself or for my home. Vintage shoes are definitely one of the things I love to hunt for. Mega businesses began with this concept such as Martha Stewart or Restoration Hardware or Ralph Lauren. The timeless beauty you found in the vintage past, often finding luxury brandnames for a steal, was so worth the effort and time needed to dig through the pile of stuff. But more importantly I bought, and still buy, things that I love whether it has a brand name to it or not. This keeps me true to me and ecclectic in my sense of style. I am not nor do I want to become a cookie cutter when it comes to fashion. True, I live in my 501 Levi’s jeans but the rest is sooooo me that I am distinctive in my sense of style.
And then there are the likes of Kate Moss (… a gifted, brilliant Fashion Designer!), Sienna Miller & Madonna… If you wish to be part of the cookie cutter generation, you can go ahead and FOLLOW their lead. That would be the easiest way of fitting into their mold.
We, in my opinion, are in a very unoriginal period in fashion, music and film industries. I do get excited when I see an independent musician, film director or fashion designer doing something so true and new, often on a shoe-string budget. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long once they are discovered, packaged, sold and regurgitated.
So help me understand why there is such a need of possessing Givenchy, YSL, Louis Vuitton or whatever other brand name that is HOT at this moment. Is it for the prestige? For comfort? For notoriety? For confidence? For power? For being part of a Group or a Tribe? This obsession is akin to Herd Mentality. We are the sheep following the proverbial Sheppard. I admit I am a big fan of brands when it comes to quality: Hermès works leather magically as Bugatti makes gorgeous cars and the red soles of Christian Louboutin’s shoes leave a lasting impression. These brands understand artisanal values and represent the epitome of excellence in design , integrity and know how.
So go ahead choose your brand, but do so with discernment and with the understanding of the real reason you are attracted to that object of desire. It could be as simple as “I just LOVE it!”
Addicted To Love Robert Palmer