Friday, November 7, 2008

This (kidney stone) Too Shall Pass.

Reading the paper this morning on the way to the office was very depressing. Stores like Niemans' and Saks and Nordstroms' are all sucking wind. Sam's Club and Costco are riding the crest , for now, but most everyone else is not. Louis Vuitton has wrapped itself in a Murakami insecurity blanket and nothing seems to sell unless it's 50-60% off.

Now on the one hand, it's attractive to many of us with little or no play money but the larger picture is turning black at it's edges and moving steadily towards no picture at all. I'm feeling a low grade sense of panic. I'm a fearless and undaunted breed, one who was bred in the times of the Pharaohs. But I'm also a cat of today. The reality and gravity of what has befallen us, and those of us in the fashion business is daunting, to say the very least. Getting depressed or paralyzed does nothing but invite more of the same. It also infects those around you and the environment in which you work and live. For that reason, I'm fighting the urge to panic, but it's a roller coaster of emotions that will not slow down.

Why would Louis Vuitton pull a Murakami blanket over it's head? What is a little splash of prohibitively expensive color going to do , when most people don't have a pot to .... in? To my mind, I find that idea absurd and irresponsible. Most of all, because the lure of the whole selling tool doesn't come with an incentive. Everything is priced at the top of the scale. The most you'll get at a bargain is perhaps a key chain. It's elitism at it's most brazen. Marc Jacobs has been in Paris too long. Time to come back to the hood for a bit of a reality check.

The present situation in this industry is a mix of facing facts or sticking your head in the sand, sand which has turned to quick sand. We must do something, and it's now or never. I won't indulge myself like I did last year. Friends and family will get more love than actual durable goods. Love and friendship tends to be more durable, anyway. Good times together and simple luxuries like dinner and films together at home, or trips to museums and places that open your eyes and soul are the food we need for sustenance. We need strength. The gym or simple exercise is much more satisfying to the body and soul than a new LV/Murakami garish bag, complete with vulgar decoration and a ridiculous price tag.

I honestly don't mean to karp away like an envious outsider with my nose pressed to the store window, but it just doesn't make sense. I am a player on the same field and am not even remotely removed from these repercussions, but I want to find a responsible way of managing this beast. I want to survive as much as the next person, but not at a cost that drives everyone away and me and my life's work into a ditch on the side of 7th Ave.

It feels like a large and angry kidney stone that must pass....and there is no detour for this one.
It's going down a one way street, and it appears to be gathering speed. My only hope is that the passing is swift and we can all get on with the business of life which starts with a big load of JOY!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I've noticed that prices on some of the cruise lines seem to have dialed down a tick, so I don't think that every company is completely unresponsive to the times(mostly noticing with PPR), nor do I think this can be entirely attributed to the dollar-euro exchange since September. That happened too late. Also, I'm seeing more low-end vinyl and fabric in accessories--Chanel and Gucci especially. The look and quality is not great, but more attainable for the young aspirational shopper and, I guess, vegans (and I'm only half in jest there--Kathy Freston's book, Oprah, Natalie Portman and the Rich Bitch girls have had an impact. Maybe not the former Mrs. McCartney.).

On the lower end, I would love to see people buy less of the Old Navy type of crap clothes, and save to buy the better stuff; yes, even the tweens ought to do this. Now just in my 40s, I have boots and clothes I stretched to buy 20-25 years ago, and they get worn.

But you are right that ultimately, shopping as a sport may be on hiatus, and that can be a good thing if people replace it with arts or family and community diversions.

Fluff Chance said...

Dear Amy, I've thought about you often. I missed having a chance to talk more and get better aquainted. That afternoon and evening went by way too quickly. You're comments are on target. I have had to grapple with these feelings of disappointment, but I make a more concerted effort to express my feelings and opinions with more humor and less venom. It should be fun for you and for me. Thanks for getting in touch and please feel free to contact me when you can. I'd like to pick up where I left off. Fluff