Vanguard Fed Up with Fashion Stealing Proles

I'm not going to pretend like I know a whole ton about fashion, but since this is the DR's culture blog, away we go...

There is now a slow clothes movement. The liberal elite have had it with stores like H&M and Forever21 that take the trends of high end fashion, remove the designer label mark-up, farm out the manufacturing to third world countries, use cheaper materials, and allow all the hoi polli in Flyover to resemble their cultural betters, at least in garb.

I'll pull from a conservative rag, the Daily Mail, who's style expert Liz Jones spits out the following:

Cheap fashion, like cheap, factory-farmed salmon and chicken, has stripped away any notion we had of something being luxurious or in any way special (£8 cashmere sweater, anyone?). It has devalued all our lives, making us ever more dissatisfied, always wanting more.

I am going to go out on a very long and thin limb and guess that the "fashion expert" at the Daily Mail doesn't have a problem getting hold of high end fashion and cashmere sweaters. I'll also go out on a limb and say the folks that can now afford cashmere for the first time don't feel like their lives have been devalued. Jones goes on:

The problem, and it's a big one, is that women (it is particularly women who have fed this trend for ever-cheaper clothes) now think very low-cost but fashionable designs are their 'right' because they are 'worth it'.

That's completely different form the right Jones seems to think she has to keep "fashionable designs" the exclusive property of the upper class. When Jones says special, she means exclusive. In the past, once the hoi polloi got wise and started dressing like their cultural betters, it was time for a new seasonal collection. And time to keep stacking seasonal collection upon seasonal collection in an arms race of snobbery.

Are these folks really going to try to blame the grubby masses for the speed at which trends in high fashion change? The whole point is to keep everything moving fast enough and prohibitively priced so that members of the vanguard don't end up looking like proles. There used to be clear divides in the fashion world. High fashion took time to filter down to the masses. How long it took your clothes to ping back to the source told the fashionistas what your caste was. Make no mistake about the slow clothes movement, the crux of it is that these folks are now royally pissed off that the H&M's and Forever21's of the world are fucking up their radar. What's the point of being upper class sans status signaling?

The upper class left has always despised the sensibilities of the middle class and working class. That the market is now making their fashion one in the same is truly horrifying in their eyes. That the slow clothes movement is yet another chance to dredge up the same old condescension under the guise of environmentalism is perhaps the most predictable element of the movement. Al Gore doesn't want to give up air travel, he wants you to. On a smaller scale, we have Liz Jones and her cashmere sweaters.

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Marketing 101

Marketing now tries to co-opt environmentalism, egalitarianism, fairness, and goodness. Just watch TV ads. You don’t sell a product by say that it is the best product for the money, which is so old fashioned, but by massaging the customer’s fears, guilts and ideals.

The first stage is to induce the fear of not being socially fit if you do not pay big bucks for brand X. When the customer becomes inured to this ploy, they move to other intangibles. But its real concern is obviously the conditioning of commodity production, which it senses escaping it unless it resorts to this new tactics. Then marketers get mad and accuse customers of lower motives when people complete the circle and shop for value. Hilarious! Why not just say “Don’t buy so many cloths. Send your money to the Children’s Fund for Bangladesh.”


Gay marriage

This might be extended to critics of gay marriage who argue that gay marriage devalues marriage. More generally, let us be suspicious when people argue that X "devalues" Y.

But it does

The end of words is to carry information, the more generic the meaning of a word, the less information it conveys, the less value it has. The same is true for an institution. However, since no one legitimately owns marriage as a word or as an institution, no one has a claim against gay marriage.

I didn't say it didn't

Look at the context. I'm responding to a blog post that attacks the argument that quick copying of the latest fashions devalues the latest fashions. Well. It does devalue the latest fashion, since the value of the latest fashion depends on its difference from what the masses are wearing. Kyle's argument is not that it doesn't devalue the latest fashion.

I'm saying: apply this to gay marriage.

You aren't contradicting anything.

Aside from this, the uses of marriage only include the carrying of information - they are not the whole of it. If on day one one couple married and everyone else is single, and on day two everyone on the planet is married, there are aspects of the marriage of the first couple which are not preserved. Marriage is not just about being set apart from the rest. Marriage is like a contract of fidelity, and if one pair of people agree to be faithful, then if the rest of the planet agrees to be faithful that does not erase the first agreement.

Similarly: even if the latest fashion is no longer unique, it still keeps the person as warm, and still looks pleasant.

You aren't contradicting

You aren't contradicting anything.

Did I say I was ? You say "we should be suspicious", I add "but in this case..."

You oppose "one couple married" to "everyone married", but that is not what the devaluation of marriage is. Since marriage describes a relation between two people, the proper range would be "one couple is married" to "everyone is married to everyone". In the later case, marriage would effectively be meaningless.

Call Amnesty International

You guys are both guilty of torture. Torturing logic,and not for the first time.


You oppose "one couple married" to "everyone married", but that is not what the devaluation of marriage is. Since marriage describes a relation between two people, the proper range would be "one couple is married" to "everyone is married to everyone". In the later case, marriage would effectively be meaningless.

You seem to be being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory. Your objection was "but it does" and I replied "I didn't say it didn't". Your comment emphasizes and reinforces my comment, so why are you using the word "but"? Your use of the word "but" is like this:

Me: Doughnuts are like bagels [gays marrying is like the masses wearing high fashion]

You: but doughnuts are round and have holes. [gay marriage devalues marriage]

Your comment emphasizes and reinfoces my comment, so why add the word "but"?

We should be suspicious of

We should be suspicious of the intent BUT we should acknowledge that there is indeed a genuine devaluation. Your comment did not indicate if you believe the devaluation was genuine. Therefore, I didn't agree nor disagree and added a small precision.

Regardless, when you replied, I think you confused the devaluation of "being married" (if everyone is married it doesn't mean anything" and "marriage" (which requires everyone to be married to everyone to be meaningless. We're getting further from the subject.


We should be suspicious of the intent BUT we should acknowledge that there is indeed a genuine devaluation.

It's not intent that I think we should be suspicious of. The other person's intent doesn't ultimately matter. My point is that we should be suspicious of the implied suggestion that the devaluation in question is something people generally ought to (i.e. rationally will) get upset about. "Devalue" sounds bad, since value is good. But if somebody finds a better drug for fighting cancer, that will devalue the current drugs. That it devalues the current crop of drugs is actually a sign of something good, i.e., that it's a better drug. It's perfectly understandable if the makers of the obsolete drugs get upset - their livelihoods are at risk - but as for the rest of us, our lives have been improved by the appearance of the superior drug. So the implied suggestion that devaluation is something we ought to get upset about is something we need to be wary of. I use the word "suspicion" rather than (say) "rejection" because, of course, sometimes a devaluation is something people generally ought to get upset about.