These days, consumers are no longer certain if the fashion industry is advocating environmental awareness, making a desperate attempt to be cool, or mocking us for our insatiable need to fit in. In another ridiculous wave of avant garde fashion, it was recently revealed on Neiman Marcus’ official website that its “Future Destroyed High-Top Sneaker,” which was designed by controversial fashion designer, Maison Margiela is now on sale for only $1,425. That’s a whole lot of peanuts for a shoe that basically looks like someone took a boxcutter to it and played slash-as-much-as-you-can while intoxicated. However, the luxury department store describes the shoe as one that “challenge[s] the boundaries of convention, turning out extreme proportions, deconstructed designs, and conceptual pieces made from found objects like trash bags and seat belts.”
This comes only a few weeks after Nordstrom launched their new line of mud-stained denim clothing. The label, called Prps Jeans, featured distressed denims in different washes, artfully stained with what looks like mud. The goal was, of course, to look rugged and sexy without actually having to roll around on the ground. The store’s website copy, as reported on NYTimes.com described the collection as one that “embod[ies] rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action.” But it wasn’t the description that turned people off from the product, it was the price-tag. A pair of mud-stained jeans would set you back $425.
Distressed denim is not something new — many retail brands carry several items with the product — but what was worrisome was that this new trend of “manual-labor chic” would need hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to support. Mike Rowe, a former host of Discovery’s Channel’s TV show, “Dirty Jobs” had this to say about the product: “They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic — not iconic.”
Neiman Marcus’ new shoe, however, is not meant to be anything else but a piece of art. According to an article on Yahoo.com, “these shoes are not pre-dirtied to approximate blue-collar style, however; they are gleaming throwbacks to Martin Margiela’s deconstructionist work of the 1980s, inspired in part by the work of Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons.” Supposedly, the high tops were designed after many people became fascinated with Kanye West’s Maison Margiela-designed wardrobe during his 2013 Yeezus tour.
FootwearNews.com praised the new design, writing, “It’s a far more edgy answer to Golden Goose’s ‘Distressed Superstar Sneakers’ ($585) that featured scuff marks, ripped laces and duct-tape reinforcements.”
When is art, art?
A consolidated effort must be made by all industries to promote environmental awareness and the importance of manual laborers. Too often, these topics are placed on the back burner and we are only made aware of these desperate situations when things get really bad. That being said, there is a thin but distinct line that separates awareness and ridiculousness.
But let’s take things in context: We are talking about avant garde fashion, a branch that is arguably the most adventurous of style types. Those who classify their style as avant garde typically see their wardrobe as “wearable art” rather than just clothing. Fashion experts define the style as unique with “various different shapes, asymmetrical hemlines, and pieces with lots of volume,” as described by Visual-Therapy.com.
Avant garde fashion designers consistently describe their work as one that pushes the boundaries between what is acceptable and what should be talked about. Indeed, as an art form, this branch of fashion can be an excellent conversation topic. Questions such as “what,” “when,” and “how” are great things to discuss. Nonetheless, perhaps the more important question to ask is “why.”
Why do fashion designers create items that serve no other function but to draw in controversy? As with these new high tops, these shoes are not visually appealing but are “cool” because the designers (and those “in the know”) say they are. (Related: Do you really do things because you want to or because you are told to? Learn more when you read the articles on Sheeple.news.)
It is still too early to see if these new “destroyed” sneakers will draw as much ire as the mud-stained jeans but already fashion experts say that similar such projects will be released in the near future.