The real deal

sometimes it feels like designers are trying to reinvent the wheel. the boots pictured here both feature suede uppers and crepe soles, 2 holes with tone-on-tone rivets and laces. the top pair are by pierre hardy and retail for over $300. hardy began his career in 1988 working for christian dior. his eponymous men's collection begain in 2001. the second pair are from clarks england and cost $80-$90. the company dates back to 1825 and the desert boot is based on the boots soldiers wore in wwII. i think the hardy pair are based on the clarks. don't worry, i'm not dense, i see the difference, the degree of refinement to hardy's pair, but the "original" boots hold greater charm for me, mostly because of their status as originals.

generally, i like a label. i'll admit it. tell me a beaded necklace is from a little french boutique and i will happily pay. tell me it's from a crafts fair and i will not want it. this is sad. this means that i rely on commercialized atmosphere to infuse my pieces with style/appeal. i don't know why.

and i don't like to settle knowingly either. if i admire a vivienne westwood dress, i won't want a similar dress from h&m.
thankfully, it works the other way too, so when i wanted a pair of lace-up ankle boots, i went with clarks england and paid less to get, in my opinion, greater design authenticity. when it works out that way, i can congratulate myself, but when i know that a label will increase my pleasure (and tab), i feel a bit the victim - of myself. no wisdom to offer on this one, just self-awareness.

does a label effect your value for an item?


Iheartfashion said...

Yes, a label definitely makes a difference to me. I try to justify the high end stuff by telling myself it's better quality, made in Italy rather than China, etc. (And quite often it IS.) Although I've got plenty in my closet from Target, J. Crew, and Zara too. But I do value the "name" pieces more, maybe just because of the added expense.

Allure said...

I used to wear that kind of shoes during the summer, when I was a kid. And they probably were very cheap, because I had them in many colours. So it is strange for me, that a designer like Pierre Hardy (and also Marc Jacobs) tries to convert them into a luxurious item.

Anonymous said...

What a great illustration of your point Editor, I love the shoes.

I wish I had your input when I was writing my "Fashion and Gen X" Thesis. It's a very interesting obvervation that you knowingly take in the atmosphere under which an item is presented as part of the selling point. I'm the same way. But I think the fact that we recognize and write about it adds a new twist to the whole thing.

Yes, I've gotten to a point where I'm pretty married to my 3 labels. It's part of my identity. It makes the shopping process easier for me. It makes me less of an impusle buyer.

I also like the "old-world" sense of being true to a few crafts-people. I like that my closet is mostly made up of these three designers who combine to make up a wardrobe that is "me".

But a big part of this process was figuring out which labels actually do stand the test of time, both by avoiding the trend-wagons and by being of good construction so that 2 or 3 years down the line they're still standing strong. I don't believe that all expensive designer items do this. And you have to take into account that material is material. Things will get ripped, coffee will be spilled, heels will smash into pot holes. So to spend the big bucks on an item, I have to know it's durable to all that.

editor said...

genx theorist - i fear that the "new twist" you see is that we're knowing suckers. i am hyper aware of marketing, both when and why they fall flat (with me) and when i'm willingly seduced. always willingly. i can see the advertising wheels turning, but i appreciate the effort they've made to appeal to me. i will buy a bottle of conditioner because it is promised on the bottle that it will "melt" into my hair. what a wonderful word. the precise thing i hope for is there, printed on the bottle. i will sooner buy the one with my expectations printed on the bottle than the one that says, "apply and rinse thoroughly." and these ridiculous companies spend so much money on focus groups and consultant to tell them the same thing. "people are suckers."

iheartfashion - i value the labeled items more because i either got them on sale and therefore they are a trophy, or else i pined and agonized and splurged, in which case they're a treat. and, with a label, i have a backstory, a knowledge of the company, their designer(s), the brand's attitude (best measured by their advertising campaigns - or lack thereof - store locations, sales associates, shopping bags, etc.), and i've decided if all this appeals to me, in addition to the item on the hanger. if i can relate to the whole package, i take that package home with me even in a simple pair of shorts. and when i wear the shorts, i continue to equate them with the package. if i wear a dress from target, it's target on my back, and it is rare (not impossible, but rare) that i bond as well or as deeply with these items.