How an object of desire devalues from the moment you owned it.
Material is a largely emotional object, especially those with a lot of classical attachments to status and identity. A lot of fashion media now are about planting a bug in a consumer so that even if one is unconscious of trend, one circulates and becomes attracted to items without actually understanding why.
The basis of what we might know as objects of desires that are closely linked to status symbols are fast cars, luxury goods, real estate, fine art and antiques. These objects can also be collectible items such as a designed furniture, Wine, Cigars, coins etc.
Let’s look at how items are given it’s power through meaning-making, the seed of thought I call the super bug. A super bug is an idea that is left in our minds about the value of something and how that value can emotionally and psychologically alter (lift, accentuate) one’s mood as well as one’s idea or perception of oneself.
Conquest purchases, Buying to conquer.
Citation: BBC Documentaries ‘Secrets of the Super Brands”.
Some examples of current super bugs in fashion are: Items seen worn by fashion bloggers; The Celine smile Bag, The Givenchy bag. The red sole; a Christian Louboutin, Altazurra gladiator high heels, High end designers going high Street (MMM Maison Martin Margiela for H&M). For a specific age group, it is anything with Spikes, Clear plastics or Lucite heels,
How one would ingest these material is an obsession and is often strategically related to one’s activity in social network platforms, one must be obsess to know what is in trend, because there’s so much movement, granted it’s often very small evolutionary movements between the narrow pants and the combination of stretch in jeans and leggings, but unless one is completely obsessed, the super bugs doesn’t stick.
The clearest example of super bugs can be seen in the religious ‘following’ of fashion bloggers, retailers, trend blogs on instagram, twitter, pinterest and facebook. And the super bugs are planted by fashion trend websites to fashion retailers and designers via the same method.
Facebook“likes” are becoming the new currency of the social networking world, that it almost becomes it’s own economy. Example: If blogger x get 1000 likes, this company will give that blogger a free pair of shoes. If writer gets a 100 likes within a short period, the book publisher will give him an online book review. Thus begins the race to accumulate these social media currency that represents on the most superficial level kudos, that directly correlates to significance.
Q: Raise your hands if you have immediately liked a facebook page you don’t really know anything about but was recommended by a friend?
Noticing some of the fashion bloggers, there are a few types that makes a really interesting social study, those that only blog pictures of themselves styling their own bought clothes and quite a lot of designers and retailers are beginning to send these popular bloggers new items for free so the ladies can prance around in them. Then there are ones that has become the main stage of style accumulators such as the sartorialist. And Jane Aldridges blog ‘Sea of Shoes another example of highly stylized aesthetics and consistently luxurious photography of her taken by her mother, these photography shows what effortless elegance looks like on a 17 year old girl, perhaps something that can only be achieved with undoubtedly a lot of resources. While some of the other fashion blogger of the same ilk has made styling the focus, not so much the product. Can you be a fashion blogger if your featured clothing ‘materials’ are cheap? (Frugalnomics). Can you be an influential fashion blogger when you only shop in second-hand shops or only wear vintage? (Jaglever). Or are you going to just be fairly popular because you’re the only fashion blogger in the area (fashionhippieslove). Can you be influential by featuring only fantastically bold women in their senior years? (advance style).
There are fashion blogs for any types of socio-economic levels, and they can be easily categories. The mainstream, the brand hoarders, the shopaholic, the vintage fiend, the subcultures, the handmade movement, the knitting groups (?)
The objects that seem to be featured in the blogs if they are mainstream seems to be eating itself alive, as they all eventually will show the same shoes, the same bags, the same types of clothes and feature them in a very similar ways. How interesting is that? Eventually there seems to be a point where sharing the same things feels like a lethargic repetition. But isn’t that what fashion is as well? Objects that never stops changing a little at a time and in slow motion?
What is interesting is the idea that NOW is the only thing that have value, before The Sartorialist, you have Bill Cunningham, before Anna Wintour you have Diana Vreeland. If you look back to the history of fashion, a lot of things are already in trend, and it repeated in itself with the anchor (or the super bug) being always in the present, what is hot NOW. This exists in general for other consumer goods as well, but it is highly prevalent and since the adoption of “fashion’ has become a subject matter within its own right.
Back to the concept of objects as materials, the more you see an object, preferably worn by someone beautiful that is not a model, the more this object becomes’ seductive’. It alluded that you too might be able to get away looking as elegant, and if not the worse thing is you are seen keeping up with the ‘trend’. That in itself is a meaning we give it.
Q: Raise your hand if you do any of these things:
Who here own a Celine Luggage Boston bag, or Balenciaga handbag?
What does owning them do for you?
Who is saving money now to buy something branded?
Have you ever considered your reasons?
Objects that has begun to accumulate meaning has in some ways also accrued value, that is whatever you find valuable automatically becomes in some illusory way meaningful, even if you haven’t thought that much about it. The seductive power of a luxury brand that is ‘trending’ cannot be taken lightly.
Fake goods or what is these days called’ designer-inspired’ objects are still at a rampant distribution, it’s not a bad thing if the fashion industry can’t do anything about the copyright, it’s probably gotten worse now because fashion shows can be viewed freely on youtube and every objects hot off the runway will be on sale on websites such as ‘baginc.com, romwe.com and jessicabuurman.com.’ I too have bought from these websites, and the quality varies a great deal. A lot of leather goods made in China has improved in quality if you know where to look, and a lot of them are making a killing online. (Cite BBC Super brands again)
The seductive power of fashion sometimes has its tipping point. Seen in Zed Nelson’s photography project called Love Me is a jarring and possibly rude awakening to the power of beauty. Pictures of steel pins holding up 3 little toes that has just been shortened to fit into a pair of Jimmy Choos and skin and fat lifted off a person’s abdomen during a liposuctions procedures are not the sight of fashion and beauty people see in every day life. You just don’t get it.
“The values that consumers attribute to fashionable clothing have generally been characterized as those that are associated with class, life styles, or subcultures. Each of these types of consumer identities has different implications for the ways consumers perceive and use clothing. “ (D. Crane, L. Bovone / Poetics 34 (2006) 319–333)