Tuesday, March 25, 2014

an afterthought.......

What makes something valuable? Its price? The memories attached to it? The number of sequins stitched to its collar? Value is generally measured by two things; money and usefulness. We generally value things because they cost us a lot of cash or are worth a lot of cash, or because they are extremely useful. But what if there was a third way in which we valued something? What if we placed value on something not for how much it cost or how useful it was but by the name on the tag?

I know this is not new ground. The science of brands is not a new development. We know that brands are a promise, a testament to our choices and style. But what if their influence on our fashion choices reaches a tipping point that results in a wardrobe reminiscent of a sartorial wasteland littered with designer tags?

I ask because yesterday I saw this cropped sweater by Alexander McQueen, and despite its near $300 dollar price tag, I considered purchasing it. Sure I found the oversized boxy shape, brilliant white colour and bold graphic print enticing, but was it also the name that was enticing?

When your wardrobe budget doesn’t quite stretch to the lofty heights of luxury fashion, entry level, somewhat affordable pieces like this sweatshirt take on a patina that is perhaps undeserved. 

They become a way to play in the world of luxury fashion. They become a way to participate in the brand promise, to advertise our style and good taste in a wholly recognisable fashion. In effect, we place a greater value on the $300 sweatshirt because it allows us the opportunity to play and participate. Suddenly value is determined not by worth or usefulness, but by the opportunities presented to us by owning it. 

But when you value something in this way, when you make sartorial choices based on this false sense of value, what becomes of your wardrobe? And the more pressing point - what becomes of your personal style?

When the brand, and the value we place on the brand outweigh innate personal preferences and taste, does personal style then become an afterthought?

kb xx