hen I saw this image of Beyoncé at the NBA All-Star Game a few weeks ago, I was both enamored and slightly irritated. While in awe of her extra-ness, and in complete support of it, there were two of things that bothered me: the Gucci fan and kimono. My issue has nothing to do with aesthetics of the outfit, but its price. The fan and kimono cost $450 and $22,000, respectively. With that kind of money, you could eat Chipotle every day for, like, five years.
I get it, Beyoncé has unlimited money and these items were most likely a gift from Gucci anyway. However, these prices incite more than just instinctive disgust – they can be harmful to society.
Exorbitantly priced fashion isn’t new. The industry has been thriving off elite people’s desire to show off their wealth and power for decades. Many of the luxury brands we know today began as personal designers to celebrities like Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly. Prices were justified, as the items were handmade and custom designed. Fast forward to the modern era, where everything is mass produced, and we see brands churning out $5,000 iPhone cases and $600 beach towels. High fashion has come to signal wealth rather than quality. Luxury brands sell nothing more than an image – a lifestyle everyone wants but few can attain.
Money equals happiness in today’s society, and luxury brands reinforce this notion. Our social media feeds are flooded with celebrities flashing designer logos which they may or may not have been paid for. Material objects are given the utmost value, causing people to substitute things for relationships or hobbies. This also leads to the misconception that to fashion is frivolous, when, in reality, it is not. Fashion is can be a creative outlet, a way to express your personality, or a passion.
It’s time for consumers to stop buying into the point-of-view that luxury brands have imposed. They are not the final authority on status or style, and it is up to us, the consumers, to re-democratize the industry. High fashion should not be exclusive to the 1%. I think we can all agree that no one needs a $25,000 designer outfit to enjoy a basketball game.
Image courtesy of: PopSugar