Hype in fashion is everything. But let me explain why I believe that £700 designer sneakers are a symbol of defeat and conformism.
Although I am not a fan of theories of world conspiracy, sometimes I think that with the help of the fashion industry ruthless experiments are being conducted on humanity. As if there is a large organisation behind the scenes that decides how far you can go in creating random items and constantly raising prices on them.
Will the Editors take note? Will bloggers shout against the trends? Will influencers reject the gifts they get given on a daily and dress in Muji? While everyone is voluntarily lining up for the next hype model slogan hoodie, the experiment continues.
Where did the hype over designer sneakers originate from?
For a while, everything was not bad: sneakers were made by sportswear and shoe brands. Until the designers noticed their potential… We all know that if they take on something already established, the matter always ends in a certain way.
First, they sold designer jeans. In most cases, all that was there from the designer was perhaps a patch and a price tag. While the whole world kept buying them, their creators bought themselves luxurious palazzo – a great example of business success.
Then someone clever said, sneakers are the new jeans! And the time has come for designer shoes. Although, in my opinion, judging by the dynamics of price growth, these are not even jeans, but new bags. It all started with a modest £300 for a pair – a good offer for those who are willing to spend money on lux only to leave the store with a beautiful branded package. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there, done that.
But in the case of sneakers, every season a new record is fixed. The price for them has long overcome the mark of £700 and approaches 1000. When personalisation is involved the price even higher. And if the sneakers are painted by a renowned artist, feel free to draw another zero at the end. All of this for a gentle trim of leather, a lump of rubber or polyurethane, a couple of laces, a ton of hype. And a million likes on social, of course.
As a person who knows very well how the most expensive classic shoes are made (and they cost the same), I can only admire such a business model. You do not need to wait a day between each creation process. During the time the master has made only one pair of classic shoes, the factory in Asia will produce 10,000 sneakers. This will be all using fully automated labour, glue, polymers and third-rate leather, the defects on which are perfectly masked with paint.
By the way, the inscription “Made in Italy” is not false: European legislation allows it to be placed if at least one stage of the product assembly was in Italy. But, believe me, the Italians have other things to do besides sneakers.
Dream business model
To achieve success in such a business, you need not a product, but a hype, and this is exactly what I find the most repulsive in modern fashion. It reminds me of some religious rite when, in the ecstasy of consumption, no one notices the mediocrity that exalts.
In this case, the price really does not matter – people are willing to pay any price for this ecstasy. Karl Lagerfeld, for example, understood these laws of modern consumption cycles perfectly. He once said, “sweat pants are a symbol of defeat. You have lost control of your life and therefore have bought your sweatpants”. To me, such a symbol of defeat and conformism is designer sneakers, because there is nothing easier than to go out and buy what everyone has. But, alas, I cannot buy trainers for £700. In my opinion, it is too cheap.
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Text: Irina Gorskaia
Images: Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Unsplash