Sunday, May 27, 2007

You are not a Special and Unique Snowflake

Warning: rant ahead.

"This label/piece/collection is for a woman who knows herself and doesn't follow trends."

"Their philosophy is not to follow the trends, but to focus on the classics and individual pieces that will stand out in the crowd."

"These pieces are for a woman who knows herself and her style."

The fashion media and PR firms love to use variations on the above sentences when promoting the latest things. Trendy has almost become a dirty word these days. However, trends and fads are the fashion industry's bread and butter, and let's face it, not everything can be unique and special.

Yes, there are a few designers and boutiques that really are breaking new ground, but the vast majority of them are in the business to make money, and therefore they only pay lip service to the idea of individuality and keep on buying/producing what the focus groups and forecasting firms tell them to. The end result is that the same few looks show up everywhere from Forever 21 to Neimans.

Small stores aren't really any better. Most "hip, high-end" boutiques carry the same labels, the only difference is...well, there isn't much of a difference. Even the decor and x-ray thin salesgirls are essentially the same (alternate option: a "fabulous" gay dude who fits every stereotype). Vintage stores tend to do a little better in terms of interesting pieces, but a lot of the time, "interesting" just means ugly. Hey, old isn't always new again.

So what's the solution? Well, short of constructing your own wardrobe from scratch (including accessories) and never ever picking up a fashion magazine or entering a clothing store, I'm not sure. Perhaps the fashion/industrial complex will realize that the words "unique", "individual", albeit good marketing tools, don't apply to everything. If something is available at every Target in America, it's not unique.

*Before someone accuses me of playing into this whole thing as a fashion writer, at least I try to reserve words like unique for stuff that's not from mall stores.


raker said...

do you know this site?

The Fashionable Kiffen said...

Yup, that site is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. It's all very very true.