Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I had never heard of Missoni until today. Undoubtedly, you have since I posses not an ounce of fashion sense. I am fine with jeans and a pullover shirt of some kind. I live in a place that has no fashion sense either and I am ok with that. So, I was intrigued to read that Target's online store was shut down yesterday by the overwhelming demand for a new Missoni line specially made for Target shoppers which I think means upscale but cheap, cheap chic, may the be phrase I am looking for. Even celebrities who can afford the real Missoni stuff that sells for thousands are into cheap chic. I looked this stuff up online. Today the Target website is up and running although unfortunately much of the Missoni stuff is out of stock already. Not that I was going to buy any but lots of people other than me must have. It is nice looking stuff. It's mostly women's wear as far as I could tell and if my wife bought a dress or something from there I would be happy with her choice. It didn't seem any more expensive than JC Penney. So I guess I am wondering why pay thousands for expensive Missoni instead of $40. I know it's the name. I know it's the company Missoni keeps. I know about brand identification. Still I can't quite get my mind around paying so much money for an outfit just because of the name, or a pair of sneakers, or a hat or tshirt. Yet, that is what we do. Makes no sense whatsoever. We do it with cars and appliances and restaurants and just about everything. You can't watch a sports event of any kind on tv without being constantly assaulted with brand names and that's not even during the commercials. You can't read the news on any website without being distracted by ads all around the borders, sometimes popping up right in the text and other times blinking in the margin. I guess we need to sell more stuff. The economy, we are told, needs us to buy more stuff. Missoni wants to sell more stuff so they partner with Target. More people hear about their brand like I did. Target wants to upgrade their image so they partner with Missoni. They want to put some space between themselves and Walmart. People who shop at Target wouldn't think of shopping at Walmart, I guess is the thinking. I know we are all affected by this brand business. Hard not to be. As I survey my apparel today I have on: Adidas socks, Levi jeans, Merrell shoes and a Mountain Wear pullover fleece. I probably paid a couple hundred for the whole outfit. I could have paid less shopping at Walmart and buying their brands. I cannot say that I did not think about the brands I was buying and what it said about me, the wearer. Somewhere in my heart of hearts I must want people to know that I am a cool, ex-jock who loves the outdoors. So while I can cast a critical eye at those who go gaga over Missoni and pay for it, I need to ask myself why it is so hard to live an unbranded life?