Shop Till You Drop, cont’d…

Since it’s a brand new year (a perfect time to reflect, take stock, and start afresh), and Fashion Week is upon us with promises of yet another dizzying round of fashion shows marked by hype and fabricated drama, I was especially struck by a recent Letter to the Editor in The New York Times. As a fashion professional, I am always interested in the perspective of those who are ‘laymen’ so to speak, and approach fashion and clothing from a different, much less passionate or frivolous point of view.

The writer was responding to an article from January 4th “A Bored Shopper’s Lament: Seen a Store, Seen Them All”, which sought to lay blame for poor holiday sales on the retailers. Ms. Orr instead believes that people “have reached their saturation point.” She went on to comment, “How much stuff does one need? After 9/11, we obeyed the president, who told us to shop. And we finally stopped. Blame aging boomers, who realized that what’s important in life is not more things. I personally don’t want a larger house to hold even more junk. My resolution is to simplify and purge those things that I don’t use and never will. What does all this consuming do to us, our families and the world? Perhaps we’d be better off spending less time and money on things that don’t add any value.”

Of course, I couldn’t agree more with these wise and temperate sentiments- which also happen to be diametrically opposed to the very core of the fashion business…The fashion industry (and fashion magazines) constantly try to pull the wool over the consumer’s eyes, by enticing her, baiting her, and trying to make her believe that unless she buys the new jacket with the smaller (or larger) proportions, that pant with a slightly fuller (or narrower) leg, the jeans with a lower (or higher waistband), or the ‘bag of the season’ (whatever that happens at the moment), she can’t possibly feel fulfilled or happy.

The smart woman knows better- she can’t be fooled- which is one reason why the fashion business, and the retail arena are having such a tough time of it these days.. So as I gaze into my own overstuffed closets filled with what seems to be duplicates and triplicates of the same items, I can’t wait to see what the designers want to foist on us for fall/winter 2003…stay tuned!

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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