Top: Robert Rodriguez/ Blazer: Topshop/ Skirt: See by Chloe/ Bag: Zara/ Shoes: Alexander Wang
Thumbing through the countless e-tailer websites last week, I came across one in particular that sold 'designer inspired' apparel. I was nearly mortified when I saw a pair of replicas of my beloved Alexander Wang Anais metallic loafers (pictured in exhibit A above), for which I had originally commissioned an internal organ of mine in order to procure them, listed at a fraction of the cost. The difference between the real pair and the 'replica' are nearly undetectable... except for one glaring anomaly: the label. Clearly, these replicas did not boast Alexander Wang's name, a label that had elevated my ego and status to the skies (until it was crushed last Thursday by a homeless man). Suddenly, they didn't feel significant anymore. I no longer wanted to list my spleen on the organ black market in order to indulge in them.
It got me thinking. I scratched my head, chin and other areas of my body (post razor burns) in wonder. Were the shoes even chic to begin with? Would I have been interested in the replicas if I didn't make the connection to its inspiration source? Would I really wear this had it not been produced by designer 'XYZ'? Would I have really appreciated my pleated tiered Chloe skirt in the same capacity had it not been Chloe? So many questions, but alas, Ask Jeeves was nowhere to be found.
But I did realize, that I've only ever wanted the now viral Proenza Schouler shoulder bag because they were Porenza Schouler and every fashion blogger seemed to have conjured this 'IT' bag, not because I appreciated it for its design and functionality, which always felt junior to me. Ditto for a whole list of designer items that I've only ever wanted because of the name it boasts on its label, and not necessarily because I like the way it looks. It makes it difficult for us the draw the line between what we, on a very pure level like, what suits us, how we want our fashion to interpret our selves and to say something about us -- and what we think we want, because the label tells us so. Fashion ain't all fun pleated skirts and loafer pumps, y'know! It's practically molecular physics!
So readers, spammers, ghost followers alike, I turn to you: what is it with designer allure? Do we feel more significant in society when we wear higher-end designer labels? Is your style really you or just something you've assembled from the predominant fashion-related images you've been exposed to?