Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Admiration vs. Acquisition: Fashion as Art & Fashion Week

*Climbs onto soapbox.*

This might make me a bad fashion blogger (and if you ask the fashion-industrial complex, a bad consumer), but I don't have any desire to own designer items. I'd rather upgrade my computer than buy a pair of Prada shoes or a plane ticket to somewhere exotic than a Chanel bag. Yes, luxury goods are pretty and all, but a Birkin doesn't do anything. No matter how much you tout superior craftsmanship and high quality leather, at the end of the day it's couple of pieces of dead cow (or alligator, or whatever) and some hunks of metal. At least expensive electronics can perform all sorts of tasks - a bag just holds your stuff.*

However, I do write about luxury goods, and designer goods, and all the fabulous-ness that is fashion week and the couture shows, and although I do try to have a good mix of products on this blog (I've mentioned items from Target, Marshall's, and Kohl's in the past few weeks, and I doubt any one could argue those places aren't fairly affordable), sometimes I still feel like I'm playing into that whole aspirational, if-you-don't-have-the-it-item-you-are-worthless insecurity building part of the fashion industry. Therefore, I'll let you on how I (someone who is definitely not going to be wearing the latest from the NYC and Milan runways this fall, unless designers start gifting lowly bloggers with free clothes) view the whole fashion week spectacle.

I look at beautiful clothing and accessories as a form of art. Runway shows are performance pieces designed to best display this art. High end retailers are galleries for people to view and potentially purchase the artwork that speaks to them (or that they wish to invest in). Advertising and fashion magazines are vehicles for displaying this art to as many people as possible. Therefore, when I watch shows, or write about my favorite looks, or what I think of the work of a particular designer, I don't view it as a prescription for what I need to own to be stylish, or as something I must aspire to buy. Essentially, I try to take myself out of the equation and appreciate fashion for what it is - an art form.**

Getting to the point, because I look at fashion as art, I don't feel the the need to own what I see on the runways or in the pages of Vogue. Admiration from a distance, or maybe walking though Barney's, is more than enough, because at the end of the day, I'd rather have the cash in my bank account - or spend it on an incredibly memorable experience, like an amazing trip. I know there is the whole "luxury goods last forever" concept, but honestly, I don't want to have my current handbag, or shoes, or coat, forever. Personal taste and style are fickle, and although I'm probably overthinking it, you never know where life may take you. Investments are for mutual funds and real estate, not a pair of designer boots.***

*Climbs off of soapbox, hopes no one throws tomatoes.*

*Before someone criticizes me for telling them how to spend their money - I'm not. I don't care what you buy - it's your cash, and you can spend it however you damn well please (I've probably spent money on things that you would think are ridiculous too). In fact, I've always made sure that I was never all "you have to have this for fall or you will be out of fashion" on this blog. My official stance on the topic is that style is independent of spending.

**I'm mainly speaking about high end or handcrafted goods here - I have a hard time thinking of the mass-produced polycotton sacks currently lining the racks at your local discount retailer as art. Some of the mass market stores do manage to do a decent job, though, including H&M and Zara.

***Yes, these things aren't 100% reliable, but a condo or house is probably going to give you a greater return on your investment than a handbag or something.

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