10 August 2011

Anthropologie Student

Oh, I see what you did there, Anthropologie. Riffing on fall’s brights trend in your own time-honored not-so-post-colonial, appropriating manner. In other words: getting Afropop chic on everyone’s ass. Characterized by bright, flaring color with prints, patterned tights, ladylike proportions, and “eccentric” heels. Exhibit A: page 4 in the August 2011 catalogue. Other examples on pages 2, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 31, 32, 40, and 42 of same.

And that’s kind of ok. I like Afropop chic! And, I mean, it’s better than the oh, so tired cardigan-and-emerald-green-or-some-such-pants take on brights—am I right?

But, argh, I hate myself for loving “Anthro!” I can’t break free from the things that it [sells]. I’m a fool for their art direction—their visual displays are such eye candy! Their catalogues and web design are pretty brilliant.

Anthropologie’s socioeconomic issues—to say nothing of its Santorum-loving CEO—have been well documented on jezebel.com. What has implications for my creativity and, thus, my style, is the way this chain positions itself as a one-stop shopping extravaganza for all the bourgeois bohemian flea market-like goodness you’ll ever need or want. The thing is that—as in so many aspects of life—nothing worth having is easily achieved. The “look,” the culture, the texture, the development the eye for such factors that Anthropologie apes is truly an art. It takes time and practice. Browsing stores and boutiques, thrifting, flea-marketing; reading magazines, books, blogs, researching, following obsessions; looking at, well, the whole spectrum of visual culture and finding inspiration—isn’t onerous work—but it’s work nonetheless. That’s how I build relationships with artists, designers, shopkeepers, and others; that’s how I develop my eye to create the kind of material culture and projects around myself to give my life beauty and meaning.

I’m mistaken if I think I can outsource that to Anthroplogie or anyone else. Not just mistaken—but lazy and stupid, as well.

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