Slow Shopping

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 13.16.51One topic that was addressed in our recitation after the lecture by Faustine Steinmetz was our personal experience with shopping.   Some of my fellow classmates stated that they prefer to use the Internet and buy their clothing online. I, however, feel like shopping is an act that should be done physically. As the interaction with the materials and the process of picking out clothing through touching it and trying it on is a quintessential aspect of the activity of consuming.

Faustine stated in her talk that her aim was to re-create the bond between consumer and the clothing. She herself shops and collects clothes in the same manner—seeing each garment as an element that becomes important to you and should result in happiness over frustration. Therefore, I understand Faustine’s lack of social media and e-commerce development. Each of her pieces takes days to weeks to create, and, moreover, she said that she wanted to educate her consumers on the process and history of each piece of clothing. By having to shop in person, the process of consuming is slowed down. Time to appreciate the effort and quality of her product is allowed. If Faustine’s jeans and purses were available to purchase with a single click, would that conflict with the underlying message of her brand?

Each individual consumes clothes differently, as observed in our recitation. Some chose online stores to avoid the congestion or the fitting room, while some enjoy the leisurely practice of shopping. This debate is relatable to Veblen Thorstein’s Idea of the Leisure Class—if those with more money have the time to shop whenever and for an unlimited amount of time, it would make sense that Faustine, the creator of luxury denim, would prefer physical stores and retailers over e-commerce. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with online shopping, I feel like Faustine’s niche market is a consumer who has the time and resources to leisurely shop.  These shoppers are going to buy just a few pieces at a time (versus shopping via the Internet allows for an intangible connection to what you are buying and the lack of realization of the amount).  Shopping becomes an activity, a memory. And it seemed to me that that connection with the clothing was what she wanted for her products.

One response to “Slow Shopping

  1. Following up the question with which you closed your second paragraph, I believe the answer is “no”. I don’t think that online transactions are inherently cold and completely automatic. There are immense possibilities to foster close relationship to garments and responsible consumer patterns through the Internet. And I believe that our reaction to Wednesday lecture is a proof of that. None of us had ever had these garments in front of us, we had never touched them, but our response to the objects was of astonishment and admiration. The great dichotomy between the physical and the digital, I would suggest, is not longer so relevant. Nowadays, identities are fluidly constructed and negotiated between both spheres. Even Faustine, when describing her shopping experience, that sometimes had her chasing garments for years, describes how she uses Ebay to find objects that are not longer available anywhere else. The Internet doesn’t have to be inherently fast and chaotic. It is, ultimately, what we make of it.

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