Thursday, October 2, 2008

Retail Therapy

The best thing about the Fall is the clothes.
~Autumn R.

The first thing I did after landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday was catch the Chinatown Bus up to New York City where I was reunited with my friends. It's been a fun couple of days getting back into the swing of things: hanging out in bars, spending way to much, and wearing my feet out as I walk around town.

Last night as I was getting money out of the ATM, I realized that my bank account is beginning to dip dangerously low. There's a couple of reasons for this. For starters, I just passed a month in LA, where I had to drop almost a $1000 in rent alone, not to mention the cost of entertainment and food. In addition, I'm actually owed a bit of money from various jobs that seem to take forever to pay (with one dating as far back as early 2007... and everyone wonders why models are so skinny-- we're just waiting to get paid!). The other reason, however, is a new penchant for shopping that I curiously developed right around when I started my new anti-anxiety medicine.

Now, I've never been much of a shopper. I'm cheap-- meaning just about everything I have of value has been handed down to me. I've always preferred Goodwill and the Salvation Army to places like Macy's and Banana Republic. Suddenly, though, this has all changed. I find myself salivating over that cute dress in the Anthropologie catalogue, admiring last season's swimsuits at Urban (which, by the way, has a great price adjustment policy. If their price drops in 14 days, you can call and they'll adjust the price for you. I know this because of my new found addiction to shopping). Moreover, whereas before I had the willpower not to make extravagant purchases, now that ability seems to have deserted me.

There is a term in fashion merchandising known as Planned Obsolescense. According to wikipedia it can be defined as "the process of a product becoming obsolete or non-functional after a certain period or amount of use in a way that is planned or designed by the manufacturer." When it applied to fashion it means that clothes are made with the plan that they will soon be out of fashion, or obsolete as it were.

I find this terribly interesting. We make clothes knowing that soon people won't want to be wearing them. It is disposable fashion. I myself am a product of this culture as I find that I am quickly bored of my wardrobe and eager to buy more to fill it. What an endless cycle!

Amidst a conversation with my girlfriends earlier tonight (which prompted my friend Autumn's great quote above), I was struck by putting together my knowledge of the Fall and my love of clothing. In Genesis 3:7 of the Bible, we see man after the fall, and he is making himself a covering of leaves. We see God create garments from animal skins for both Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21. This is very simplistic, and misses a bigger picture of God's sacrifice for our sin, but I'm blaming the Fall for my recent retail addiction, as well as this principle of planned obsolescence. Isn't it interesting that we keep trying to cover ourselves, or make ourselves better by what we wear and yet it is never good enough? Why is what we wear not enough to make us feel adequate? (That, my dear reader, is a rhetorical question meant to make you ponder from where you're deriving your sense of meaning.) It's just the beginnings of a theory, but I think I'm onto something here...

1 comment:

christina said...

I wouldn't mind wearing my old "obsolete" clothes if they would just cover my huge belly! hahaha!

It's so true though that once you start shopping, it's really hard to get a handle on it again. Something in our heads just tells us we ned more, more more! Glad you enjoyed yourself in CA. What's next?