Hello boys & squirrels, it is I, Fin. Back at it again with another blog post about all the things fashion, streetwear, culture etc etc. This week you may notice that I have opted for a moderately less ‘click-bait’ title however I’m doing so solely on the condition that you actually answer the question being asked within today’s title – “What is your favourite brand?” Holla if ya hear me ladies.
Picture above; Kylie Jenner making lust after Supreme sweatshirts
This extremely millennial question has had me pondering for quite sometime now, and no, the pondering has no correlation with what brand I may spend my wages on for this week’s fashion fix. But moreover why is it so hard to apply this question to all you lovely ladies out there? To actually understand what it is I’m getting at here I’d like you to conduct a brief social experiment for me (one I’ve undertaken on countless occasions), ask yourself, your friend, your sister, your mother and whoever else will care enough to give you a response; What is your favourite brand? Unless you are fortunate enough to socialise with a select group of well-versed fashionistas I can near on guarantee that the majority of your responses will read as follows; “I’m not really sure/I don’t really have a favourite brand” or “ I really like [instert random high street retailer that is NOT a brand]”.
Pictured above; Iconic ladies dungarees from CarharttWIP
Now as ever with some of my writings and opinions I feel the need to quickly insert a random disclaimer. There is nothing wrong or right with having a ‘favourite brand’ and in the grand scheme of things when positioned next to world hunger or any other socio-economic problem I completely accept how little relevance something of this nature actually has. With that being said, this is a fashion blog and fashion is what I am here to discuss and besides surely some amongst us must be wondering why on earth millions upon millions of marketing monies are being wasted each year if any of these brands cant coerce their target market to say “My favourite is brand X”.
Pictured above; a nice girly look from our SS’17 Ellesse Heritage campaign
Even more baffling than the seemingly wasted masses of marketing monies is the fact that this phenomenon seems to be inherently localised to the female population, or at least that seems to be the case in our humble city of Cork that is. Of all the female friends, acquaintances, customers and randomers I have ever posed this question to I could count on one hand the amount who were confidently able to name a brand and not a retail store (important to note that there is a difference) that they; like, continually buy or at least check for and feel any sort of allegiance or familiarity towards. Now if this was to be the case across the board, irrespective of gender, I would simply attribute it to poor marketing and consumer retention or even more simply the saturation of what is already an over-saturated market space. But for the simple fact that the majority of guys, or at least guys I know, would be able to list anywhere between 1-5 brands that they have a genuine grá towards and would repeatedly check for, I feel there must be more to it than meets the eye.
Pictured above; one of the more unisex looks from our SS’17 Ellesse Heritage
So come on then gals, hit me with it, why is it ye seem to be devoid of brand loyalty as a gender? (Hoping to be a tad deviscive and start a scrap in the comments section with this one,lol) Well in my moderately educated opinion I have a few suggestions as to how and why this fashion promiscuity may have developed.
1. Penneys/Primark/Boohoo/Misguided etc
‘Oh here he goes again ranting on about the corporate evil, illuminati and the demonised conglomerate that is high street retail again’. Well as much as I may have my own thoughts and feelings on these issues and have vocalised them previously here, see http://www.prime-time.ie/sustainability-fashion-actually-gives-shit/ I’m actaually trying to make an objective point that it more rooted in fact than in subjective opinion. Each season the majority of high street retailers collections will be largely based off of what is going on in the rest of the fashion world I.E if puffer jackets seem to be incredibly popular this winter then expect a wagonload of puffer jackets to be swinging on the rails of most high street retailers. This is then inherently just a further subsequent trickle down of what may have been presented on a runway somewhere 12 months prior at anyone of the high brow fashion shows such as Paris, New York or London. This is the nature of the beast my friends. See what’s in style, manufacture it as fast as possible, cutting whatever corners need be cut in terms of quality and substance and put the product to market for as cheap a price as possible whilst ensuring some form of profit margin is maintained. In turn this causes you, the consumer, to be faced with the conundrum of; Why pay more for what essentially appears to be the same item minus whatever brand logo may have been visable?
2.The unisex nature of streetwear
This point is something that I personally have a whole lot of empathy for and is certainly a problem that the brands themselves have to address. Your off the hook on this one ladies. As a lover of streetwear and the whole culture that goes with it I can certainly become complacent when assuming that what I may think is cool is not what others or for that matter even the majority might find cool. That’s it, let out your sighs of “ugh, hipsters eh”. One area I think I think this applies greatly to is the often non-gender specific nature of the actual clothing itself. I think a large majority of streetwear labels are guilty of being somewhat lazy when it comes to differeciating and designing their ladies lines. A box logo hoodie, a boyfriend tee and some tapered Joggers don’t exactly scream feminine cutting-edge design do they? Personally I actually quite like this look for girls however I completely concede that not every girl is going to want to simply wear an equivalent version of whatever it is their male counterparts are wearing and that an offering of something a bit more girly or sexy, for want of a better term, would be nice from time to time.
Pictured above; Prime example of men’s and ladies streetwear often being all too similar
3. Celebrities and influencers
As pop’culture consistently reminds us on a daily basis, the 1% at the top of the pyramid are generally who we look to in terms of positive fashion affirmation and new trends emerging. Despite the fact that this entire system is majorly flawed due to said celebrities predominantly being used as meeting ploys to push non-organic affiliations and brand relationships, we’ll skim over that for now and save that for another post another day. I think a major part of ladies failing to identify and connect with brands is the consistent re-emergence of whatever is next up in the world of ‘what’s cool’. Let’s take the infamous ‘Thrasher’ tees which experienced a meteoric rise in popularity over the last 2 years. Do 90% of the ladies wearing Thrasher tees know any of it origins or brand story? No and nor should they, it more than likely will be out of trend in a years time and they’ll have wasted both time and money on forming any allegiance with the brand. So with skateboard magazine t-shirts being nothing more than a flavour of the month you can’t expect the consumer to become embedded in the brand if ultimately they know it’s nothing more than a fly-by night fad. If this is how you pick what to wear I suggest holding fast on any further purchases and just bide your time trawling Instagram until a Jenner/Kardashian puppet posts a pic of their newest heavily branded hoodie that they now can’t live without.
Pictured above; Riri bringing skate tees to the forefront of mainstream fashion
So what’s the alternative here if anything is to change? Well similarly to most problems, education is generally quite a good place to start. If you consider yourself someone who likes clothes, fashion, looking good and any other vanity-based vices then educate yourself on what it is your buying. Fashion is often heralded by many as ‘a unique form of expression’ or even ‘a form of art’ by others, but if we are to hold fashion in such a high regard then perhaps it’s about time we (and by we I mean YOU ladies and anyone reading this) take a bit more of a look at what our fashion sense says about us. Are you the type of person who is quite happy to blend into the masses and follow the crowd or would you like to set yourself apart by being that one girl who stands out from the crowd always rocking hi-top retro sneakers and full-velour tracksuits? The choice is yours. Just know when you see me strutting my stuff in those Carhartt dungarees I already made mine.
Pictured above; Our lovely ladies,Sof and Leona, rocking Fila in a recent shoot
So there you have it PT fam’, my two cents on the current state of ladies streetwear. As a moderately humorous footnote, I am putting the finishing touches to this post in my local boozer whilst sipping a ho-toddy as I’m currently the victim of the recent storm Ophelia power cuts. There’s something quite ironic about uploading a streetwear blog post from the graciously free WiFi of Mary O’s traditional tavern, or at least I think so anyway. As a token of appreciation for my dedication to the cause please feel free to like, comment, share or interact in any way at all. Your feedback is always greatly appreciated and is primary factor in my continued writing of these posts.
Peace and love,