Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Anti-look rant

As usual, when I'm concerned, new hair requires new style tricks, or at least new style inspiration. I stopped by at a couple of clothing stores yesterday, and while walking through Zara it really hit me what a one-trendy-look-wonderstore the place is. And let's be clear about it: when I say wonderstore, I don't mean it in a good sense.

One phrase that has really stuck in my head while working in clothing retail for the past two years is the idea of "the total look". I guess almost all high-street or even upscale brands are all about the concept. The idea is to make customers adopt a brand's products and styling from head to toe. What this often means from the standpoint of the customer, is that when you take your new pair of jeans to the till at the Selected Femme store at Aleksanterinkatu, for example, the sales assistant asks in a cheerful way: "how about we find you a matching t-shirt to go with your jeans?" If you are looking for a pair of boots, be sure that there is a sales assistant there to find you a matching handbag.

Even though Zara does not practice this kind of direct annihilation of its customers' own viewpoint when it comes to mixing and matching, the concept of the total look is palpable there. What is different is that we are not talking about Zara's total look, but someone else's. Take a trendy look, say, Balmain a/w 2009, and you'll be able to copy the entire catwalk look at Zara right now. There were railings and shelves full of acid-wash jeans and differently studded accessories. Not that there is anything bad about it per se. If studs are the trend of the season, surely they should be available. But where is the imagination, where the creativity, when it comes to presenting the trend to the customer?

What puzzles me is this: who is this "total look" crap meant for? Who wants to adopt a ready look? Now, I'd be a hypocrite if I'd say that I wasn't inspired by catwalk images. Just a few days ago I was raving about Dries van Noten's a/w look. I don't know where the difference lies exactly, but I find it extremely distressing to walk through stores force-feeding me the images that I could potentially be inspired by. Now I am just fed up with studs and acid-wash already, even though I'd like to love them and embrace them. Hmm, perhaps I need to stop going into trend-driven high-street stores entirely. UFF 1-euro-day, here we come!

Top: Max&Co.
Shorts: Selected Femme
Sandals: Carvela
Necklace: flea market
Handbag: Ananas Second Hand
Sunnies: Accessorize


Anonymous said...

Very interesting post, Waves! I always love your looks, and appreciate that seeming randomness that comes out so lovely in the end, CR

Eyeliah SS said...

Yes, I hear you! When things become overly trendy and are everywhere it's just too much. It's like hearing your favorite song over and over on the radio, it ruins it.

Anna-Maria said...

How on earth have I not found your blog earlier? And you are from Finland too! You just got one more frequent reader. :)

I also went a bit nuts at UFF. I got all these things in black velvet...oh so 90's!

The Waves said...

Chris: thanks honey! :)

Eyeliah: yup, you are right... I could write an entire post about songs that have been ruined for me, starting from Smells Like Teen Spirit!

Anna-Maria: how nice that you stopped by! I have been blogging kind of low-key... I am really bad at commenting other people's blogs, too. I've been following yours for a long time though! And yay for 90's velvet!!! You'll be rocking it!