Sunday, February 10, 2008

And Now For Something Different

(Mock-hoodie designed by Tiga, $34.90 @ H&M)

     I recently went out with the girls to check out H&M's "Fashion Against AIDS" campaign, but instead of contemplating epidemics, I found myself more concerned with celebrity and fashion. Or, more accurately, the intersection between the two. Now, this is a fine hoodie. It's cute, it's a little different, but really, if we're trying to be objective about the whole matter, this isn't a ground-breaking design (not that I expect that from H&M anyway). But Alison was absolutely dedicated to the idea of getting this and the Justice t-shirt (which I refuse to put up here because I think it's absolutely horrible).

     While she was trying it on, I realized that this is very far removed from my own aesthetic and I couldn't find anything to really say about it. It's just a few steps too distant from what I normally shop for that I felt a bit ill-equipped to try and critique it. If forced, I'd say it's quaint. Cute. It's not a real hoodie, like the boys version, more of a mock-turtle/cowl-neck zip-up, which I suppose is a bit different. The all-over pattern, though not my style, falls right in line with the crowd that listens to Tiga.

     But what I really was pondering was, what motivates folks to buy these items? They aren't particularly well-designed, far from well-made, and are available, en masse, to anyone who wants to buy them. Heck, the racks were pretty well-stocked at the Emeryville H&M. So if isn't cut, construction, or quality that is driving the purchase, what is it? Putting my ear to the ground (Googling and pondering and having another glass of cabernet sauvignon), I think it's sheer celebrity that makes people buy these things. Now, don't get me wrong. I love Rufus Wainwright and Justice and the rest of these folks (except Good Charlotte) as much as the next guy, but I found all these clothes completely insufficient according to my standards.

     And now I'm starting to wonder whether or not that's a legitimate reason to buy an article of clothing: just because someone talked to a designer who talked to a press agent who talked to one of Margareta van den Bosch's myriad assistants and put this out, does it mean it's worth your time? The obvious discrepancy between Alison and my view of fashion is that for her, the fact that Tiga was involved in the making of this item is an inherent part of its worth. According to her evaluation, the item's linkage to the Canadian DJ is absolutely inextricable from its actual existence. My attempt to dissociate the man from the clothing, on the other hand, means that I don't take into account his involvement at all.

     Neither of us are wrong, per say. Obviously I disagree with her viewpoint that a name can make a piece of clothing "good", but the thing here is that we're judging the same piece based upon entirely different criteria. So no, I would never buy it. No, I would never wear it. But I accept that and, more than that, I'm happy with it. Never before have I really realized how different two value systems can be and I'm supremely satisfied with the gap. It's comforting to be in my own aesthetic bubble. But it's even better when you can see the clear, definite outline of someone else's bubble. It gives you a better sense of what you wear, of who you are, and of who you want to be.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves


Angela said...

At school.

Liked this one.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you write this but it's funny that you choose Tiga, as in fact he (and Chicks on Speed) are the artists that got involved most, both in the design and in the campaign. Tiga hand drew the checks, leaving some in another color or a in the shape of a cross. The 'other' colors were symbolic for seropositive people, the crosses for friends who died of AIDS. He also made a special 1 hour 'FAA' podcast, interviewing Jake Spears from Scissor Sisters and playing music by other involved artists (not Good Charlotte;-)
Thanks for mentioning our project and the smart writing.
best regards
Ninette (director DAA; we suggested the coop to H&M)