Choice is what we pride ourselves on in the Western World, the only limitation on our choice is the amount of money we can afford to pay for an item. For anyone who just buys things for the logo on the front (why not just get a tatoo on your forehead and save on the dry cleaning bills?) or can't walk past a pound-shop bargain bin we have lots of tempting new ways of making you feel - so yesterday.
Secrets of the Superbrands (first broadcast BBC Three, 9:00PM Tue, 24 May 2011 in the UK) presented by faux stooge Alex Riley, was a light-hearted look at luxury brands, sports brands, logos, out-sourced accessory manufacture, developing world economy, retail theatre and basically anything to do with clothes all in one episode. While some of these issues are intrinsically linked, the mish-mash of the usual headline grabbing stuff reduced any possible message to pulp. The pretence of media presenters as innocent and uneducated noble savages in the evil world of duplicitous and mind-warping commerce grows tired with every new attempt. Us fellow noble savages (the viewers) were supposed to be stunned that an American-style tee-shirt with Japanese writing originates from a British company (hold the front page) 'we' meet the self-styled anthropologist Ted Polhemus outside a jeans store (the ubiquitous doc's Doc on-location) who tells us about the origins of denim jeans cool status. Dana Thomas (always in fashion) points out that the cheaper luxe items at the bottom of the luxury market pyramid bring in the money while the uber-luxe bespoke items retain the prestige. Wow, I am stunned by all this absolutely fabulous information. Never mind fashion insider info, I learnt a great tip for making TV/film documentaries, interview really sweet, young but incredibly gullible people in the street it will make your viewers feel 'achingly cool' by comparison.
From the noble savage to the reformed character. Lucy Siegle's To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? Jumps on this year's fashion bandwagon for bashing consumer choice with her new found evangelical approach to clothes. She has discovered that buying cheap clothes has not meant value for money and will be more careful in the future. Wow. Holy revelation. Welcome to the world of thinking before doing. It's not her fault of course she is just cashing in on the seemingly limitless amount of guilt women, gay men and young people are supposed to feel when earning/having/spending their own money and not investing it in highly respectable and lucrative products like savings and stocks/shares (yes, I am joking). Anyone would think that charity shops (goodwill stores) had just been launched in the wake of the United Kingdom's Prime Minister Cameron's Big Society big-up (why pay someone for doing their job when you can get them to volunteer for free?). Second-hand, sorry pre-loved, old, sorry, vintage clothes, the staple of cash-strapped street-cred for generations are so eco-friendly and goody-goody no self-respecting teenager wants to wear them any more.
It can only be a matter of time before before they put a regulation traffic light system on clothing tags.
Fashion is as ethical as the person who chooses to wear it, unless one is wearing an endangered species on one's back or a hate-symbol on one's front. Do yourself a favour and don't listen to the guilt hype. Fashion is about expressing who you are individually and/or collectively. One should
never feel guilty about self-expression.
Fashion illustration from http://invaderz.co.uk/wp-content/wp/basic%20fashion%20illustration-70583.html