Image via peoplestylewatch.com
By Shilo Urban
This week’s launch for the Italian luxury line Missoni at the American discount store Target created not only a shopping frenzy and long lines early in the morning at stores across the nation, but also crashed Target’s website as shoppers scrambled to get a piece of the high-fashion line.
But where do we draw the line at high fashion? Apparently, next to the toilet paper and dog food because that’s where it is at Target.
How far would you go to buy designer? Did you get in line at Target at the crack of dawn before the store opened like Mena Suvari?
Target has promoted its Missoni line so aggressively, from E! News to editorials in almost every fashion magazine on the stands, that even if you have half an ear to the ground in the fashion world you will be able to call to mind the trademark zigzag shapes in bright colors, decking out everything from bags to bikes to house wares. The easily recognizable goods are now being re-sold on eBay.com for more that double the Target price tag.
Traditionally, people buy designer clothes for two reasons: to wear something special that no one else has, or to conspicuously consume a big brand name so that everyone will know you were able to shell out a wallet load for those little letters across your chest. However the Missoni items at Target are the opposite of this – they are neither special nor expensive. Everyone will be wearing the same thing as you, and everyone will know you bought it at a discount store.
So what do the words “luxury” and “designer” even mean anymore if you can buy them at Target for $5.99? Is this authentic style or fake fashion – designer duds watered down to the lowest common denominator? And if so, who cares?
Thanks to the massive media machine of our consumer culture, Americans are now un-blissfully aware of the luxury that we are not living in. MTV Cribs shows us mansions we will never own, with 8 un-driven cars in the driveway. Celebrities flaunt $2000 scarves and the Kardashians’ 5-star vacation to Bora Bora is prime time TV. We know exactly what we are missing out on and can watch in Technicolor what it would be like on the top side of the wealth mountain, where the designer clothes flow like champagne and style is something you hire your stylist for. We yearn for the luxury that we see but can’t have… and this is where Target comes in.
You may not be able to afford a leather jacket from Missoni’s (or anyone’s) fall line, but you can no doubt pick up a keychain at Target for $5.99 and feel a little better about your place in this world.
Sure, the real Missoni line would be fantastic to have – so would big boobs, naturally highlighted hair and eyelashes so long they touch the moon. But not everyone can have these things for “real,” so “fake” comes in as an acceptable second.
While the Missoni line at Target is indeed an extension of the fashion house’s true style, it makes one wonder what the word “designer” even means anymore. As the line between “real” and “fake” becomes evermore blurry, it is doubtful that this question will be answered anytime soon.
What are your thoughts on this, real vs. fake?