Tuesday, 14 August 2012

THOUGHTS ON SHOPPING



Just a quick post that I wrote on my phone in the doctor's waiting room earlier this evening...so nu media, 2012, etc.

To kill time before my appointment, I just did a quick whip around the Selfridges menswear department for the first time in about a year. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE Selfridges, it's a fine store, great for many things (especially for buying obscure zeitgeist-y European fashion magazines full of tits / cocks and not many clothes) but I just remembered why I buy 90% of my clothes online - and I SWEAR I'm not just saying this because I work for MR P*. Here's why:

1) High-end retail staff – snooty old queens who were probably very effective at selling Gianfranco Ferre nehru-collar jackets or whatever in the early 90s but have now slightly lost the plot. The bitchiness I can just about deal with (by in my head delivering the immortal Absolutely Fabulous line which Eddy uses on a haughty gallery assistant: "you only work in a shop you know, you can drop the attitude"). But the phoniness really gets me. I'm standing there, dressed in minimal all black, holding out this multi-coloured silk Versace shirt, honestly just to get a proper look at how hideous it is, no doubt with a crumpled facial expression of horror to match, when an assistant saunters over and says "that shirt is JUST fabulous, isn't it? I saw it caught your eye, well it caught mine too, and I think it'd look great on you" Er, hello? Do I look by any stretch of the imagination like a turquoise and fuchsia Medusa-head pattern kind of guy? Which brings me to…


Gareth Pugh to the left, Versace to the right. Swarovski-crysal studded leather jacket with a £4,500 price tag top of my winter musn't-have list.

2) Stock horror – When you're shopping online you can easily filter out all the crap that you don't want to see, but when you have to sift through it in the store it weighs on the mind and reminds you what you hate about fashion. Givenchy, for example, selling a plain black nylon MA-1 bomber jacket, identical except for its plaid lining to one you which would find in an army surplus store for £30, for north of £1000. Balmain printed T-shirts which look like rejects from Superdry priced at £300, etc. etc. Merchandising malfunctions are avoided online too. In fairness to Selfridges, they have finally moved Ann Demeulemeesteer from ‘contemporary’ (beside J. Lindeberg and Stone Island) to ‘designer’ – something which used to gall me way more than it should have done – but other stores are still guilty of placement mishaps. The last time I went to Harrods, DRKSHDW Rick Owens was next to Just Cavalli, presumably based on the twisted logic that since they’re both ‘bridge’ lines they make excellent bedfellows.

3) Fellow Customers – Other than when some anonymous cyber bitch gets the last pair of size 42 Raf Simons black high tops in their shopping cart before you during an online sale, you don't have to trouble your mind with your fellow customers when you shop on the net. Different story with bricks and mortar retail (see what I did there? Industry jargon. Ever the consummate professional). First, I was put off by the many (white) suburban wannabe gangsta types stalking the shop floor in bad jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren shirts, faux Rolexes and Gucci monogram belts with a sort of “look at me, I’m super G with all my visible branding, it gets me loads of pussy” look, their Tesco Bank credit cards primed to be maxed-out on Evisu jeans and Dolce & Gabbana sneakers. Second, and arguably worse, as I perused Lanvin in designer superbrands (noting how most of their clothes are actually very basic) out of the corner of my eye, near where the fitting rooms were, I caught a glimpse of flesh. Much more flesh than you should see in a department store on a Monday afternoon. “Heavens above,” I thought, “is that someone wearing a super avant-garde Margiela nude-coloured body stocking - or has some terrible wardrobe malfunction occurred? I must get a closer look.” The truth was much worse. THE tackiest gay guy I have ever seen had emerged from the fitting room with no shirt on and unbuttoned jeans displaying brightly coloured AussieBum underwear, to approving glances from his obese and much older boyfriend. Then, despite having a body which would score a 6/10 at best, he proceeded to WALK ALL AROUND the shop floor with unbuttoned jeans and no shirt and no shoes on, going “I’ll try one of those, and those, and those” in the MOST FLIPPANT AND VULGAR manner. I wanted to scream “PLEASE SHOW SOME RESPECT TO THE CLOTHES. TOTALLY IMPORTANT DESIGNERS CREATED THESE PIECES. THE DRIES DOES NOT DESERVE THIS. THE COMME CAN’T HANDLE IT” but instead I decided to leave the area ASAP. Oh, the humanity.

4) Bad beats – look, I’m not altogether impartial to a bit of Diana Ross, but it’s somehow not the sort of music which makes you think “ooh, I must drop £850 on this pre-moth-eaten Damir Doma sweater.” Still, it’s better than the pumping drum and bass which some stores favour. And I did appreciate the wry suitability of Ross' “I’m Coming Out” for the men’s fashion department.

5) "No photos allowed"  – oh, piss off.

What do you love/hate about fashion shopping?

*But need I say all views expressed on my blog are my own and NOT those of my employer.

21 comments:

  1. oh lord yes... I buy so much of my clothing online, I'm actually surprised at how unpleasant it is to go shopping out in the real world. Tiny little "curated" boutiques are often the worst - a bored assistant slouching over their laptop mumbling "let me know if you have any questions" and then giving dagger eyes for not finding something you like in their closet-sized shop.

    blehhhhh.

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  2. Wow, that sounds like the bricks and mortar version of my men's fashion blog rage! I live in the Bronx in NYC and I have taken to only shopping online or at my local thrift and discount stores because it keeps me out of trouble and every time I enter a clothing store in Manhattan I end up hating life. And Rick Owens next to Cavalli is just sooo wrong!

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  3. All great points, but I think there's sociological value to seeing who buys products like these. Usually not the elegant, fashion-forward people you would expect (perhaps because so much of the product is plainly hideous).

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  4. Great post. I also do most of my shopping online, and whenever I am actually shopping in real life; I find that my tolerance level for sales associates and the shops in general has diminished. I hope you were able to recover from that horrendous experience...the one with the gay younger man, that is.





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  5. This is a great post about the retail environment. Having recently escaped from a sales position while working through school, I am so happy to be OUT! These stores and the companies behind them are creating awful experiences for their shoppers and later running around trying to figure out why online purchasing is thriving.

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  6. I think I buy 40-60% of the stuff online because of the same reasons you've mentioned more or less, but yeah there are annoying lil features to deal with shopping in reality, the 3D experience just doesn't really do it for me. I dont think I'd ever be one of those who fling a circus clutch of designer labeled shopping bags with the logos smacked on the middle and be proud walking down bond street, they're just asking to get mugged....

    xx nathan.niche
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2012/08/the-new-green.html

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  7. The worst sales people are the ones who think that you should either buy the first thing you touch or worse when you walk away from the rack, re arranges the clothes immediately as if you have given it the death touch!

    cactus

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  8. Hahahaha, I just love you.

    Randomly found this blog while doing some google search on Raf's shoes, and I'm so excited to find a FASHION blog with WRITING--and not only writing but SMART writing.

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  9. So true.
    I personally work in another department store down London: L*TY
    1) I personally admit I have worked with quite a BIG range of people considering I went from Reiss to Marks to Ferragamo to H&M. Those retail staffs will do "anything" and I mean ANYTHING to amuse customers to achieve their commission. I works in the pop up store which situated in Stratford, my "colleague" (Queen, as we refer) constant use of flamboyant words, and as you said "isnt this fab, get this!" Lots of customers of course walked away.

    2) This happen across the whole industry anyway. Remember, tourist will pay ANYTHING for sake of the experience. and I mean ANYTHING. such as a Union Jack sequin jumper with Merino Wool (Remember that H&M sells Merino Wool at £29.99, while Uniqlo's at £45) priced at £345, which equals to someone's rent in Stratford.

    3a) It's the whole show off thing. Bling Bling! I personally admit I do have dashes of Liberty prints but definitely no branding of any kind. and I do sick of seeing fake D&G or LV or Gucci T-SHIRTS! (I mean it, T-Shirt!) clearly fake. while the Gucci monogram flips the wrong way round etc.

    3b) This happens too much, and being a gay man myself, I do feel embarrassed to be one sometime seeing our fellow acts like that in a public place. I know yes a boytoy, or sugar daddy, but come on, DIGNITY or it doesnt exists?

    4) Whichever gets a good beat. High end retailers think music doesn't bring in any kind of money. however H&M did extremely well, even with H&M Playlist facebook page set up!

    5) Afraid of the design being copied by certain race in the world.

    -salute-

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  10. While i know you have Givenchy let use no forget that the might Rick has sold a $2000 MA-1 for many a seasons.

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  11. You should have heard the SAs in Harrods the other day when I was asking about Raf Simons:

    'Ralf Simons did you say?'

    'Is that a brand?'

    'What do they do?'

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  12. Can't agree more. You can never trust store assistants, they will never be honest with a customer. Everything you look and have you eye at, they think it's amazing, just the fact that they want to sell it to you asap. No store assistants will say that you look horrible for whatever you try or choose, that is why I hate to shop at places like Prada where the floor staff earns commission from sales. They talk all sorts of bullshit to get into my pockets, dishonest and a liar.

    About the white suburban wannabe, heaps of them here in Australia and Asia. What I dislike most, people who wear Christian Louboutin shoes, Givenchy top, Balmain jeans and carry a Hermes bag, its like 'whatever it is most expensive will be the best in life' sort of people. I personally think they have poor taste in riches. Also those people who plays and wears monogram and thinks they are on top of the world, I call them 'the brand conscious people', who only shop to show off, think that is fashion for value.

    Horrible consumers.

    Regards

    Maurice from drblogspot.blogspot.com

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  13. I hear that line every time I walk into a shop. I may have even said it out loud once.

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  14. Very funny and so true! Much prefer online shopping these days as you can try on the clothes in the comfort of your own home.

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  15. another great post! actually most luxury department stores are like this. this is the primary reason why i prefer shopping online or at small boutiques like darklands, the archive, atelier, etc. i totally hate it when everyone is kissing your ass just to make a sale. it's sooo wrong!

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  16. This post is so funny. I love shopping online, there aren't other people trying to steal the item I want or get in my way. The best thing is there aren't any SA's wanting to offer me there help every 2.5 seconds!

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  17. You have really got an awesome variety in your clothing your . i love to shop all these clothes.they are much stylish and perfect for the on going season.

    fashion jackets

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  18. haha such a hater! but whatever this is the same reason why i shop online 90% of the time also

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