I'm sure MPB readers will understand my surprise--no shock, to read this article in today's New York Times. I simply cannot believe that fashion is now looking backwards for inspiration.
And yet it's true. Vintage looks are in again (!!), like the Jantzen suit (above right), which I'm sure you'll agree is straight out of the 1950s with its top and bottom and....where's the similarity again?
It's all due to bad economic times, see. You really have to read the article.
I know times are rough, but are they so rough that we want to escape -- by purchasing Fifties-inspired Eddie Bauer jackets -- no doubt made in Macao or Malaysia -- that are supposed to make us feel some of the security we felt back in the glory days of the Cold War?
Here's the sobering truth according to said article: May retail sales were down 1.2%. Very, very bad. (If you lost 1.2% of a dollar, you'd have 98.8 cents, btw.)
Eddie Bauer in Chapter 11? Obviously they needed to try something different.)
What does "believing in things that are American" even mean for a clothing company that manufactures its products overseas? I mean, how stupid do they think we are?
But wait that's not all. These "heritage" looks often cost more. "Prices tend to be higher than the standard products — L. L. Bean, for instance, charges about 25 percent more for its “Signature” pieces.
So it's win/win for the companies. People are looking to connect to the (arguably) more secure past through recycling old looks and they are willing to shell out 25% more for it. Companies can re-issue old designs, moreover, instead of investing the R&D costs of something new.
So there it is in black and white: fashion is looking backwards for inspiration. Somebody get Ralph Lauren on the phone.
(A jacket from L.L. Bean's Signature collection)
Why does this article read like a press release? Couldn't you as easily choose three or four other retailers and write an article arguing exactly the opposite?
Here's a bit of insight from Nick Coe, President of Land's End: “The days of frivolous spending or buying stuff that’s disposable have gone away,” he said.
Huh. Somebody better tell that to Walmart.
Readers, what do you think? Is this information newsworthy?
Has the sour economy inspired you to dress like you did during flusher times? Does it make you want to want to invest in a good old American bullet bra, put some Perry Como on the record player, and snuggle up to Grandma's dog-eared copy of "Forever Amber"?
Is this article as bad -- or as dull -- as I think or is it just too early in the morning?
Your eloquent insights, please, wise readers!