05 September 2011

What If?

What if fashion labels were nothing like what we know now? (I was thinking this recently. I wasn't sure what that meant. What would it mean if labels, in fact, were nothing like what they are now? What would that mean? What would they be like instead?) What if there weren’t shows every season? What if clothing made today were made as well as it was 50 or 60 years ago? Why do we have to have the fashion system we have now?

Why do we have to act as if every dress and pair of pants is completely “amazing” when it’s the same thing (e.g. “folkloric” or “white” or “trousers” or “ladylike”) as it ever was? Why do we have to act as if we “get” something that’s quite far beyond everyone else? Yuck.

Why spend so much money on marketing instead of just making better stuff? Is that a naïve question?

Second what if: what if fashion blogs weren’t talking about shopping all the time? Sure, there are street style blogs—but their raison d'être is photos. And it’s not as if there’s a diversity of style images. What about thoughtful writing or criticism? Another naïve question?

And what if domestic apparel manufacturing were reborn in the U.S.? In the none-too-distant future, fuel prices (and cotton prices, too?) will make manufacturing in China for the domestic market unthinkable. This country has a strong production history, but it was jettisoned in search cheap production. Solid jobs disappeared, leaving shitty service sector jobs in their wake. Of course service sector jobs pay less, which means less disposable income to buy the goods now cheaply made overseas. Very Gift of the Magi.

For these reasons, I think I’ll be buying second-hand and Fair Trade as much as possible for a while. Alexander Wang does not need my money.

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