Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't Shop

I just viewed the Style Coalition video called "Don't Shop" and immediately engaged in discussion with many other bloggers on Twitter.

The purpose of the video is as stated:

Concept: on June 22nd, Style Coalition hosted 13 top NYC fashion bloggers for a special video shoot at DEX New York studios for DON'T SHOP! campaign, supporting the fashion industry and inspired by
DON'T VOTE! video. In a similar way our video starts with "don't shop" message, and slowly turns into campaign message showing the importance and value of supporting our favorite fashion designers in these tough economic times.

Putting aside the fact that, as I work in advertising and marketing, I don't like when people copy other campaigns (let's call this an homage) I wasn't quite sure about the overall message.

Yes, we are in a precarious economic time. And yes I value the work and artistry created by fashion designers, established and up-and-coming. I appreciate the beauty and fun that shopping and clothes and shoes bring to our lives. I would be sad if some of my favorite designers closed up shop.


That said I don't agree with what was stated here.

For one, to most people the majority of the designers listed are out of reach. Even to get a single piece. I don't think that the masses are going to be buying any less than before. And for those who were buying and passionate about these designers, I think they will still buy. Maybe not as much but shopping is still going on. Consumers are actually making fewer but better/higher quality purchases. And we're not going to suddenly not have clothes either.

Secondly, this is not 9/11, where people were afraid to leave their homes and travel. Heck, I worked at Walt Disney World at that time period and when the President said to go to WDW, we were happy because people were afraid to travel to populated destinations for fear of getting attacked and killed. No, right now we're in a big economic mess because of bad debt and bad lending and a lot of bad financial decisions (and other scary complicated economic things).

But the biggest issue threatening high end designers and luxury houses and stores, in my opinion, isn't that people aren't spending. It's been the greed and shoddy business practices of these companies over the last 5 - 10 years. Reading Deluxe was very eye-opening. I think anyone involved or interested in the fashion or the fashion industry should read it.

These brands have cut costs, thrown away heritage and craftsmanship, churned out junk, contributed to the massification of their brands and in many ways deceived the public. They have flown high on cheap leather goods, over extended their brands and misrepresented their numbers. I've seen prices on some shoes double in the last few years and it's not because of better quality materials or craftsmanship. I've actually seen that go down.

And why should I keep buying from them if mass brands are getting better and the luxury brands are getting worse?

If these companies want to keep my business and get me to spend with the reduced amount I am still going to spend they need to make their pieces better, make them special, make them available to me and make me feel catered to.

Right now I see the opposite more often than not.

I am still going to spend. There are still things I want. But I don't think I can get behind this.

Frankly, I'd rather see the money and effort go to some of the charities that are struggling as donations go down.

So here's my message...

Don't shop.

Give $5, $10, $25 to your favorite charities instead.


Ashe Mischief said...

Beautifully written, darling

Jami said...

I have to say that I completely agree with you.

Birdie! said...

Hear... goddamn hear. I see it as an evolutionary change. If companies want to stay alive they will evolve to be better and more suited to it.

Christine Hancock said...

Yay! I was afraid for a second there at first I was going to have to jump the cube wall and smack ya. :)

WendyB said...

Enough people stop shopping and I'll qualify as a charity. Give me $5!

Princess Poochie said...

I was TOTALLY going to say shop at Wendy Brandes Jewelry. I even said to the hubby. So yes, give your money to WendyB.

Ms. B said...

I totally agree about the quality of merchandise going down but the prices of them going up. I no longer purchase any shoes or handbags made in China simply because I want my pieces to last, I got tired of my shoes falling apart and/or causing me blisters. But even so, some of the shoes made in countries other than China has seen a decrease in quality. For that reason, today, I was fitted for my own pair of bespoke shoes. I'm lucky enough to live in a town that has a shoemaker that will make womens shoes from scratch. After I receive my first pair from her, I doubt I will be able to return to store bought shoes. The quality and the uniqueness in design is just no longer there. There is more than just the economy to blame for the reduction in spending of luxury goods, the designers have started taking their customers for granted and it shows. I haven't read Deluxe yet but I fully intend to, it sounds like a really great read!



lisa said...

Well said!

m said...

thank you. I saw that video posted and wanted to gag. it was so stupid.

Anonymous said...

Well put indeed!
I also have to say that, frankly, using the same language about buying clothes and voting borders on offensive. Clothes, shoes, accessories, they're all fun, but they're not fundamental. People are having trouble paying their bills, they're losing their jobs and their homes; it takes a really skewed world view to think that lining the pockets of the big-name designers they mention (Christian Louboutin doesn't need my money) is more important than taking care of your responsibilities or, if you're doing a little better, helping to take care of people that aren't so lucky.
You want to have confidence? Earn it by doing something worthwhile. And then buy fabulous shoes from an independent designer who puts out a quality product.