$1400 and a New World Order


What Faustine Steinmetz is proposing with $1400 couture jeans, is, I believe, quite radical. What she is proposing is in fact quite in opposition to how our visual culture works today. Although fast fashion came to prominence before the social media and photo saturated landscape of today, at this point it sometimes seems like the two go hand-in-hand. Because what’s the point of a new outfit if no one sees it? Conversely, if thousands of people see it, it becomes all the more meaningful. And with that positive reinforcement comes the need to perform new outfits over, and over, and over again.

But if you buy a pair of $1400 Faustine Steinmetz jeans, you might not be able to buy anything else for quite some time. And if you want to be in photographs, you will likely be pictured wearing the same pieces multiple times. She said herself, “I want to work on jeans for three months if I want to – it’s about the jeans, not the look.” Of course, there are already women buying and wearing couture, and they are likely unfazed by a $1400 price tag. But I got the impression that she would like to expand her brand to people who aren’t necessarily used to buying couture.

Personally, I would like to see a transition from quantity of clothes being valued over quality of clothes; although to be honest, I’m not sure I see myself ever paying $1400 for jeans. Faustine did mention that her brand plans to expand to less expensive items that will still be produced with the same underlying values as the 100% handmade items. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

One other thing I noted from her talk:
– Faustine mentioned (in passing) a union for designers. Heck yeah! The general population probably doesn’t believe that designers need to organize, but when you hear about the pressures to produce and the difficulties negotiating with stores, it makes more sense.

3 responses to “$1400 and a New World Order

  1. I agree that the fashion industry, and our culture in general needs to value quality over quantity. I think that this should be applied just not to the fashion industry but to industries such as food and health. Although it is problematic, to advise your average middle class person to buy a pair of pants for $1400. The problem with this is that though the pants may be high quality they may not be suitable for every occasion. The consumer might find not only the price impractical but also the amount of usage impractical.

  2. I definitely agree that we need to appreciate quality over quantity in today’s consumer driven society. One thing that struck me most about Faustine Steinmetz’s lecture was her idea of “collecting” clothing and only buying pieces that she really loves even if it means having to save for years in order for her to find it or be able to buy it at the price point she wants. However, I think one of the issues we’ve encountered a lot over the course of our class this year is figuring out how to make quality clothing at a price point that is accessible to most consumers and still maintaining sustainable business practices. When the minimum wage is $8.75 in New York (which, is not a living wage) – I am not sure how people working under those conditions can afford to shop at Forever 21 let alone buy a pair of quality handmade $1400 “jeans.” This is a question I don’t have the answer too but I think your post asks a lot of insightful questions about Steinmetz’s philosophy

  3. Faustine’s work ethic goes hand in hand with her dislike of “look” driven fashion, as you have pointed out. This look-based economy is fueled by the consumption of new clothing. Because how else will an outfit stand out among the visual overload on social media? Who cares a recycled combination of clothes? Well, clearly people like Faustine, and I feel like some of us as well. As you mentioned, there is a lot of positive reinforcement out there from social media etc when it comes to buying clothing that likely falls under the umbrella of “fast fashion” (or is just straight up shitty). I think one of the many reasons for this is likely the visual medium. When taking pictures of ourselves in clothing, the viewer (whoever it may be) never gets firsthand insight on as to the construction and quality of garments. All they get is the visual, the “look.” Then, it doesn’t really matter what the garments are made of, or how. Just the way they look when worn at that specific moment by that person posed in just the right way. Faustine seems to try and disrupt this fast paced process of gazing by asking people to take their thoughts to a literal deeper level, that of the garment and its construction. Its a worthwhile endeavor, but one that needs to be ready for an uphill battle. Because really, how many people will pay $1400 for that one instagram look? And how can we as fashion students stop people from thinking in those terms?

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