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Random fashion thoughts - Part II (A New Hope)

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by LA Guy, May 15, 2015.

  1. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    That thing is beautiful. None of it is too much. In fact, it might be too little.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. oulipien

    oulipien Well-Known Member

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    I think you should definitely buy that.
     
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  3. thatoneguy

    thatoneguy Well-Known Member

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    she can wear it at least once per year
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  4. gustavobradley

    gustavobradley Well-Known Member

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    That coat is beautiful. CAWP
     
  5. troika

    troika Well-Known Member

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    Vetements beeper salesman FW17

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. il_colonnello

    il_colonnello Well-Known Member

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    At the height of the economic crisis, Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta was asked in an interview (not in so many words) "Who the hell do you think you're designing 600-euro hand-painted scarves for any more? People are getting fired left right and centre! It's the biggest economic crisis since WWII! Who's supposed to spend that kind of money any more!?"

    His answer?

    "600 for a scarf is only expensive to you because you've all been brainwashed into thinking that you need to have 15 of everything, and a new one every season. If everybody was content owning 1 scarf and wore that for ten years or the rest of his life, 600 for one item would be a lot more affordable, including to some people who now think it's totally out of reach."

    He's right of course, although I suspect he was not expressing the POV of his employer, most other fashion designers, luxury corporations, fashion journalists, the poor sods who work in garment factories in Bangladesh, the owners of StyleForum or anybody else whose livelihood is based on continual addition/replacement.
     
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    Please keep in mind that the owner of Styleforum has a dozen black leather jackets and 70+ belts.
     
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  8. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    Ah I see you've downsized your belt collection, nice.
     
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  9. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    But if everyone was wearing a scarf for 10 years or the rest of their lives I don't think there's much place for him and his designs to exist, either.
     
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  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    People don't think $700 scarves are ridiculously expensive because they've been fooled into buying 100 $7 scarves. They think it's ridiculously expensive because there are perfectly good scarves -- even high end scarves -- that are bought and sold for like $100. Scarves that people also can own for 10 to 20 years.

    I think it's fine to say you spent a lot of money on something, but trying to rationalize a $700 scarf is silly. Cost per wear is just a dumb calculation to make people feel better about their purchase. You can come up with all sorts of ridiculous calculations to drive the price to near zero. It's still a $1,000 scarf.

    People who own luxury items also don't typically just own one. Most people who own Hermes scarves have a bunch of them, and the reason why we like them is, in part, because those people own them. They make Hermes products into a status symbol, so people like us want them. If a bunch of plebs were walking around in their single Hermes scarf, nobody would care.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
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  11. double00

    double00 Well-Known Member

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    this is a bit like saying art has no place... does anybody here have any idea what actually goes into a hermes scarf?
     
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  12. Krish the Fish

    Krish the Fish Well-Known Member

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    ^ I assume silk and dye but I could be wrong
     
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  13. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    Yea, it's just silk screened. There's nothing magical about it, but they use more colors, which is more screens/ labor.


    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]

    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]


    This is better than ink jet printing, which is now done on cheaper prints (especially out of Italy). But there are lots of companies offering silk screened print accessories for less money. Hermes just happens to make some of the more beautiful ones. You pay a ridiculous price, and the margins are likely huge, but you also get a great item.

    In the '90s, people use to hand silk screen crazy intricate prints on t-shirts for streetwear companies. Obviously a different market and product, but just a comparison. Printing was done in Los Angeles (so it wasn't with cheap labor). Can't remember the price of shirts, but they were sold to streetwear consumers, so it wasn't $1,000.
     
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    1 person likes this.
  14. double00

    double00 Well-Known Member

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    well, that's glib (so... congrats?)

    so by your measure the rudimentary materials are the sum of the object. got it.
     
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  15. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    Justifying a $700 scarf by invoking an anti-consumerist argument where you also talk about utilitarian usage (i.e. the scarf has to last 10 years or a lifetime in the first place) is bullshit. There are severely diminishing returns for clothing materials. Art is more or less a luxury and is still rooted in capitalism, anyways. Regardless of what goes into a hermes scarf, it's not worth $700 objectively. It's only worth so because of context and name. That's where it's bullshit.

    He's making shit for rich people. People of status. No need to hide behind anything. No need to pretend that everyone could, should, or would spend $700 on a scarf even if it lasted a lifetime or only had one scarf.

    A better answer to the question is "fuck em. my shit isn't made for people losing their jobs"
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    4 people like this.
  16. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't saying that. I was saying you can't justify these things by their production process or durability because there are similar items that sell for less money. These are just luxury products, and they're valuable for how they add beauty to a person's life. Justifications beyond that get kind of silly. You can own 20 year old scarves that prob cost $20. There are also silk screened accessories everywhere. Hermes makes beautiful items and they're a status symbol. They're one of the last luxury companies to not sell out to the LVMH model (gut, expand, and trade on name). That alone should be reason to like their items, even if they're clearly not intended for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  17. double00

    double00 Well-Known Member

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    let's recap. your point was this:

    which is wrong on it's face. if everyone was wearing a scarf for 10 years or longer there wouldn't be any place for fast fashion. people commonly think of clothing as ephemera but 10 years isn't that long to ask a scarf (or any garment) to last. i have several Hermes scarves from the 70s. i have a leather jacket from the early 50s. i've had a jacket from the 30s that was worn for 50 years before i got it. severely diminishing returns? shenanigans.

    as for the argument that some LA t-shirt screener is going to make something as fine as Les Plumes i'm calling shenanigans (i have a hard-picked vintage t-shirt collection so please don't accuse me of snobbery here). you have to pay the artist for the content, you have to pay the mill, you have to pay the proofers and screeners, you have to find the dye recipes, you have to pay the tailor who rolls the hem. afaik none of that happens in bangladesh but even if it does what is a human hour of work worth? or is slave labor the going rate here?

    i agree that there's no need to hide behind anything and i agree with you - Maier's argument is indefensible. but this:

    simply doesn't reflect the sum of an object and is a uncharitably coarse outlook. oh well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  18. il_colonnello

    il_colonnello Well-Known Member

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    The point Maier (and I, I guess) was trying to make is that spending 1,000 on 1 item is no more ridiculous than spending the same (or more, likely) on 15 when all 15 belong in the same category and serve exactly the same purpose. Nevertheless, the fashion industry, and more generally our economic model, absolutely encourages owning 70+ belts (sorry @LA Guy) but frowns on spending the equivalent on 1 belt as "living beyond your means" or whatever. How is the one more outrageous than the other? Yes there are 100-dollar scarves that are perfectly fine but how many people do you know - IRL, still less here on SF - who have only one (that's: 1) 100-dollar scarf, and how many of those you do know have been wearing it for 20 years? Or even just 10? The last part of what you said actually proves my point: superbly expensive luxury turns from "outrageous" into "perfectly acceptable" once you start amassing and hoarding it like the plebs hoard their high-street crap and the middle-income people their middling brands.

    P.S. I note that compared to the e-mail notification I got of your post, you have edited out the "tattered to shreds" bit from your last sentence, so I don't need to say anything on that :)
     
  19. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Well-Known Member

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    I have scarves that are ten years old. I don't have scarves that are twenty years old, but twenty years ago, I was a teenager and wasn't buying expensive scarves. None of my ten year old scarves cost more than $50. They're perfectly fine and don't look overly worn. In fact, my more expensive scarves are a bit more delicate -- wispier, finer cashmeres.

    My points were:

    1. Nobody who owns these luxury items only owns one. That "buy one of these and never buy anything again" idea is just a marketing line for luxury companies. I think it's silly because you should accept that, if you're buying this luxury item, you're likely in the demographic who will buy more. These companies also want you to buy more -- they can't survive on customers who stop in once every twenty years. Maybe there's a handful of people who are like that, but the majority of customers are regulars. And, frankly, many of those people have long lasting luxury items because each item rarely gets worn. Guys who own bespoke shoes, for example, don't own just one pair. They own a bunch, which is why they're able to say their bespoke shoes last for forty years or whatever. Wear them as often as the guy at the post office wears his sneakers and they'll be gone in much less time.

    2. It's a judgement call, but I think most people would consider a guy owning seven $100 scarves as being more reasonable than a person who has one $700 scarf (who, as I said, doesn't really exist cause luxury consumers own more than one item). It's simply because the first guy has more items. And there's a huge diminishing return to high-end goods. Most people recognize that.

    Over on the CM side of the board, some guys like to talk about how it's ridiculous that some people own five or six pairs of Edward Greens when the same amount of money could get you two pairs of West End bespoke shoes. And yes, the two West End bespoke are better made, marginally, but ... wouldn't most people rather have six pairs of really, really nice shoes that are just a little itsy bitsy less well made than bespoke? You get more choices in the morning, and items are still great. Same with having seven $100 scarves vs. that one $700 one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  20. g transistor

    g transistor Well-Known Member

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    My answer to that is in the context of the quote: in a world where people are losing jobs and are broke, $700 scarves aren't going to be commonplace for people even if they lasted forever, because you can still produce scarves that last for 50 years, jackets that last for 80, and so on and so on, at a much lower pricepoint than Hermes/whatever wear. Materials and production only get so expensive, is what I mean when I say diminishing returns. The other part of the equation, as you say, is valued as art and as dieworkwear says, is valued as status. A shift in consumer habits don't make them willing to pay that type of money. People will be willing to pay more money, yes, but I don't think a $600 scarf is in that field for most. Nothing really changes, as there would still be people who will pay his prices.

    I am criticizing Maier's answer, not $600+ scarves (I was considering one briefly earlier). The interviewer is criticizing Maier for producing luxury products in hard times, and in turn, Maier criticizes the people. It's patronizing.

    And clothes are ephemera. Some just last longer than others. There's plenty of fast fashion that is floating around that is decades old. I've personally worn and owned H&M pants for 4+ years before, that I purchased for $10.
     

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