June 13, 2006

infrastructure of values

stockholm: 1,840.00 krona (200 euro).
new york city: 525.00 dollars --
what the heezy?

"Within recent years conspicuous consumption has been demonstrated in dress much as it is in old masters; the signature of the maker, always provided that his prices were sufficiently high, was deemed sufficient to redeem all other defects. As a natural consequence unscrupulous dealers were able to exploit the public by affixing a Parisian mark to a work of inferior quality; the public was usually quite unable to detect the fraud." (On Human Finery, Q. Bell 1948)

Per K and I's conversation this weekend, what's up with fashion price inflation? On her visit a few weeks ago to nyc, she saw the 150-200% increase of goods (for example, a $200 piece for $400). "Well, to stay independent, you have to keep your prices that high, because you're competing with mass manufacturing." So, this doesn't just speak of economics, but of culture.

Does it mean branding is irrelevent to quality? Does it mean people round here are more interested in displays of wealth over quality / craftsmanship and artistry? Does it mean, on average, round here, the poor in general stay broke and the rich are still richer, and in more level-income places with a history of appreciation of craft over mass (hm, just for example, parts of northern europe?), we see a market -- let's call it people -- who actively and are able to sustain the independent designers and artists. values + economic infrastructure = art + design cultivated.

superior design, superior quality for all? shall we thwart the economic cycle?

so, uh, let's see that happen more.


andrea said...

yeah! i think things like this whenever i pull out a pair of french slacks that cost $xxx in los angeles.. we live in a ridiculous place.

Anonymous said...

Or look at Apple's (sorry to bring up your former employer) new MacBook. The black one costs $150 more than an identically equipped white one. Conspicuous consumption, thy name is black MacBook.


jean said...

i heard they were marketing the black towards the female demographic.

i might have to give up my black thinkpad and get the black macbook to match my black ipod, my black acrylic jewelry and my all-black vinyl wardrobe.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? It's making all the boys drool though. As would an all-black vinyl wardrobe.