Friday, April 9, 2010

Insane fashion... and not in a good way

So, I admit that sweatpants are my best friend when I'm lounging on the couch, watching Project Runway, eating some Ben & Jerry's. Mmm...

But sweatpants at work? No. Or at a cocktail party? Unforgivable. And have you ever seen a garbage bag - yes, a garbage bag - used as a purse on a night out?

You will soon, apparently. A garbage bag made by Louis Vuitton, no less.

Wall Street Journal just posted an article on the new "low-end" high price fashion that's become trendy. Among the must have items: "upscale" sweatpants made of high-end fabrics like cashmere, meant to be worn with heels. According to a Senior VP in Miami who purchased a few pairs of Alexander Wang sweatpants (price tag: around $110), the heels take it "to a whole new level." Hmm.

Of course, if Alexander Wang isn't your thing, you can always go for Michael Kors cashmere version, which sells for $995 (no, that's not a typo). The WSJ quotes top trend expert Sally Lohan as saying the sweatpants trend will take off: "We really balked at wearing leggings but eventually we all did—they were a good comfortable item to wear," she says. Um, speak for yourself Sally.

The trend just doesn't stop at sweatpants. The new "it" bag from Louis Vuitton this season
is the "Raindrop Besace" - essentially a plastic bag attached to a strap. And sold for $1,960.

Read that again.

plastic garbage bag. For nearly $2,000.

Unfortunately, Marc Jacobs isn't the only designer featuring trash as fashion. In January, punk icon Vivienne Westwood debuted her Fall 2010 menswear featuring "homeless chic", complete a cardboard box runway, and models sporting bedrolls and and shopping carts.
Now, I love fashion. Love love love fashion. I truly think, when done properly, it is an art form onto itself. It can also be a luxury. While I personally cannot afford a $2,000 bag or $250 Tshirt, I get why people who can (and can't) spend their hard-earned money on a beautiful, well-made bag in butter-soft leather, or a fabulous, flowy evening dress in the perfect color. It's gorgeous. You'll use it. It makes you happy.

Still, I've always had a bit of a guilt issue when it comes to high-end fashion. As much as I love it, should I really even think about spending hundreds of dollars on a bag or a dress when there are folks lined up at food banks around the country?

At the end of the day, for me, it all comes down to the artistic element. We may "need' that dress as much as we "need" a painting, but arguing that it’s useless or unnecessary is simply saying that art is not important at all. Which is obviously not the case, or the Louvre would not exist.

But there is also the matter of taste, and of responsible art. Marc Jacobs argues that people will buy anything Louis Vuitton makes just as long as it’s exclusive. Well, just because you can take a crap, wrap it in tin foil, put a couple of fishhooks on it and sell it as earrings… doesn’t mean you should.

What do you think? Is this just yet another ridiculous fashion trend in a long line of ridiculous trends (read: hammer pants), or have we as a society stooped to an entirely different level? Is it irresponsible to be “inspired” by the recession and the homeless to put garbage bags and sweats on the runway…only to sell them for thousands of dollars? Have we finally become "Derelicte!"?

Wall Street Journal Article via Yahoo Shine!
Sweatpant Image via Net-a-Porter
Vivienne Westwood Image via Times Online

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