Sunday, 24 July 2011

Fifteen: Brand power

What is it that entices me to buy expensive clothes on no income to speak of?  I'm not in any kind of debt, but I do feel ever so slightly guilty spending money the government gives me to support my *disability* on apparel that I really, really don't need.

The particular purchase I have in mind is a pair of jeans, reduced from £170 to £85 by Acne, "The Fashion House and Creative Collective from Sweden".

(Same jeans, unfortunately different legs)

I found many ways to justify my (expensive) lust for denim, none of which are wholly convincing but may as well be stated nonetheless:
1.  They were reduced.  By a lot.
2.  They were very soft, and (possibly) good quality
3.  I haven't bought new clothes for AGES.  It used to be easy when I was skinny (read, emaciated) - everything looked the same on me since I had no curves to speak of.  Now I have a more "womanly" shape it is rare that I dare to buy something that shows my body off in new and alarming ways.
4.  I haven't made myself sick, or bought food in order to do so, for a decent period of time.  This accords with the vast amount of money I have saved from abstaining.  It was not unusual for me to spend £15 + per DAY on food that ended up straight down the toilet.
5.  Spending  money on clothes implies a new-found respect for my body and the person inside it, and even if this respect or compassion is shaky at best, dressing as if it existed may help to re-affirm my sense of self-worth.
6.  There are many people who spend even more on clothes.  I refuse to take my boyfriend shopping, now that I've seen the amount he can charge to his Amex in a single afternoon.

Not convinced?  Me neither.

Glancing through the Evening Standard last week brought home the real reason I bought the jeans. I don't particularly admire Peaches Geldof, but there is certainly something about a moneyed "fashion icon" yapping on her smartphone, shopping bags from said brand in hand, that makes Acne clothing seem desirable.  Never mind the unfortunate name.  The company could be called "Rich Bratz" and it would still probably sell, in an ironic post-modern sort of way. When I initially saw the jeans my eyes were drawn to two things:   the name and the price.  I had been shopping unsuccessfully for three hours, and I wanted to buy something - anything.  I had of course seen Acne clothes featured in magazines, product placement in which is hugely influential in creating the prestige attached to the brand.  I knew I was buying "cool".  I am ashamed to say that had they not been reduced (and £85 is still pretty hefty), I may still have considered buying them.  The price promises exclusivity - even though for all I know the item may have been produced in the same factory that manufactures Primark.

I like my jeans.  A lot.  But the spell is bound to wear off before too long, and drive me to another unnecessary purchase.

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