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I don’t want to take on the Mad Rapper persona, because I obviously can’t try to replicate the glory of his skits. And more importantly, it sucks being mad.
But, let me tell you what ticked me off today. When I got home today, the only mail waiting for me was an Urban Outfitters catalog. One order, four years ago; will not let me go. Anyway, first page of the catalog:
Do you want to know how much that t-shirt costs? 42 dollars. I can launch into an angry diatribe about the economy and how inappropriate and stupid of UO to feature such a ridiculous piece of…merchandise. This shirt, though, is wrong in any context, anyway you style it, wear it, photograph it, in a boom, in a recession, in bed, on the street. I am embarrassed that someone, somewhere, in an office has taken the exploitation this far. First off, if they were trying to get on the blogger train, they needed to hop on it faster, because at this point anybody who’s seen a scissor and a blogspot acct has six variations of that t-shirt. Second of all, really, Urban, what, you didn’t lose enough money last quarter with your peddling to hipsters? Are you more delayed than NYT in realizing that trustafarians are getting funemployment benefits cut from mom and pops?
And then I thought, if we are to play the blame game here, where do we actually point our bling’d out fingers? Do we blame the “trendsetters” who blog and post their amateur SLR shots? Do we blame the precarious young creatures who feed into these invariably narcissistic exhibitions? Or, do we blame the companies, forced by marketing and demand, who come late into the game and try to feed off of the whole thing?
Since I live in a self-involved bubble that only allows me to draw from my own life, I’m going to compare this to my same distaste a couple of years back when Nike caught on with the sneaker craze at its height, which, let’s be honest, means Nike was two years late in the game. At this point, savvy sneaker lovers or hustlers had already made major profits from reselling and small-time [at the time] portals were profiting from building the hype, essentially creating these icons and sensation. Do you remember Niketalk before the gratuitous humping of every “limited release” no matter how ugly? So, 2006 is when Nike decides to play catch up and saturate the market with garbage kicks. There was no thought in the process, they underestimated their consumers and just spewed out garbage. For example, they saw the hype with the Undftd dunks and spat out countless pairs of od colored dunks. You can say I’m wrong, but that’s when the fall started. Who wears Nikes anymore? If it weren’t for Kanye’s fans coppin the ugly yeezy’s, Nike would be irrelevant. I mean, a number of other factors also played into it, like Kanye putting fans onto brands that are, sometimes, worth the aspiration rather than the $300 you’re forking over after 2 days on line for a pair of low-grade leather SBs, because they were “limited”. [That are later sold for like Gs] As a marketing tool, limiting production is both genius and overplayed. Anyway, I think the same is going to happen here. Backlash is inevitable. Urban, as a company with a business team, cannot reduce its consumers down to a group of people who are willing to spend $42 on a ripped tshirt. They may wear it, yes, but spend $42? Even I wouldn’t think that of them. I get it, UO is trying to be down, they wanna be relevant to what all the hip young kids are doing. But the trend production could’ve been more studied, perhaps. Bloggers’ influence has to be limited to an extent. These big companies have to strike a balance between being hip to the game and influencing the game. You can’t let 16 year olds call shots and then relay that message in your catalog to another consumer, a 22 year old with earning and buying power. That’s just wrong.
And worse, is when this whole fudgery permeates the “higher orders” of fashion. Take A Wang, the nerve of this fool to roll out ripped jeans for $400 and denim and fleece jumpers for resort. I don’t know what’s more maddening, his audacity or the fact that all these bloggers are sweatin’ him so hardcore. I blame Vogue for enabling this lazy “designing” by lauding his last collection as some kind of progressive. Your job is to encourage the growth of young designers, you should have given him a little nudge to get him out of his awful hipster funk. I am not down with slouchy sweatpants, it is not genius. I was under the impression that collections are to sell me on design, not some stroke of styling “genius”.