With three more Australian fashion designers hitting the headlines this week paying their workers half the minimum wage for making designer clothing, my mind has been turned to fashion, and in particular how bloody expensive it can be. It’s not gonna shock you to know that the label on many products costs more than the article itself, but it might shock you how much more it costs, particularly if you’re like me and don’t generally go anywhere near brand names.
My $15 Target sunnies snapped the other day. Up until the point where they went wonky on my head they actually looked pretty good and, more importantly, they protected my eyes from UV rays and harsh sunlight. When you think about it, that’s all your sunglasses need to do – stop you from squinting, cut out the UV and not make you look like a knob. Australian standards mean that you get UV protection and the mirror on the sunnies stand is there to protect you against looking like an idiot. In theory.
Because it had been about 2 decades since I’d entered a Sunglass Hut shop, I had a look at their collection yesterday and noticed that their entire range was behind glass, you know, like all the gold stuff at a jewelers. At first I thought this was the case so that you had to ask a staff member to give you the ones you wanted to try on, then they had to stand next to you and lie about how good they look on your face. Similar to that fibbing experience when I try on clothing and there is no mirror in the change rooms – “Oh that shirt looks great on you!” is what I hear from the female shop attendant when I’m thinking “Yeah, this shirt, designed for the clubbing teenager, really matches my bald spot.”
But as I got closer to the locked display cabinets I realized that the number 430 on the tag stuck to the arm of the sunnies was not the first three numbers of the barcode. It was at that point I remembered our superglue and left the store to apply some to my 15 buck specials.
When I got home I needed to sit down in the smallest room in the house, and picked up my wife’s baby magazine (normally I read the money section of the newspaper at such times, but I’d finished it at a previous visit). In it there was a picture of Victoria Beckham carrying her baby daughter, both of them dressed for the Logies. Surrounding the photo were a bunch of lookalike products you could buy so that you too could look just like Posh and her kid (minus the ski jump nose – I reckon that’d be extra). The price for the dress and boots came to $205. For the toddler.
Lucky I was sitting where I was, ‘cause I was somewhat shocked. It’s pretty sad that that this particular magazine is targeting new mums who are probably not looking the same as they did pre-kids. Add to that the fact that having kids tightens the purse strings and you have the perfect storm for insecurity.
Something the fashion industry thrives on I guess.