Design details, or, why hipsters shouldn’t be allowed to making clothing choices

Raw edges.

A design detail that, apparently, isn’t always recognized for what it is.

An artistic, aesthetic detail.

I was content to let this go.  I was going to drop it, roll with the punches, try to forget about it.  But I just can’t.

This past weekend my friend Rebecca, (aka my stylist, whose blog you should go check out and then pelt her with emails and comments so she gets back to it) graciously offered to go shopping w/me.  Sorry Rebecca, I’m about to seem ungrateful here (I’m not, I swear, I love shopping with you, please shop with me more!) but I need to bash some hipsters.

We went to Buffalo Exchange in my first trip to Brooklyn.  Okay, wait, hold on.  Stop LOOKING at me like that!  I’ve done Brooklyn before but it was always in the Elle car, running to and from the photographers or a photo shoot and carrying 30+ lbs of clothing.  This time we took the subway (we still had the excessive amounts of clothing).  When we walked into the hipster-populated store full of budding fashionistas and thrifters alike we were met with a line.  When we finally made it to the front, the girl at the register explained the process to me:

I’ll go through each item and investigate it for wear and tear, wearability, style, seasonal appropriateness, etc.

Translation: I’ll judge you on all of your fashion choices, eventually rejecting most of what you brought in, including things that you will later find replicas of already on our shelves/things that are in way better condition than things on our shelves, and I will somehow make you feel bad about yourself while I do it even though this is the closest I’ve gotten to brands like Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang and you and your friend worked with those brands extensively–oh, and we’ll give her $28 (which really means $19.60)  for dresses that retail at $500, which we didn’t actually know until we asked you.  (End rant–and run-on sentence).

As she pawed through my potential merch, she came across a tunic with a deep v-neck.  Something that, if you’ve walked around recently and seen, well, any females, you’d know is still quite “in” right now.  They are being paired with leggings, tights and jeans.  Boots and flats.  Short girls and tall girls.  Everyone is rocking the tunic.  Except that my tunic (worn just a few times since I purchased it) seemed to have one fatal flaw.

Hipster: Um, well, okay, so I’m not going to be taking this item because the sleeves appear to have been cut.

Me: They aren’t cut, they are raw edges.  That’s a style detail.  I bought it that way.

Hipster (investigating the garment again): Hm, well, yeah, it just looks badly hand cut to me, and that’s how our customer will see it too.

Me (seething): FINE.

I was irritated to say the least.  Not only had this little “fashionista” wannabe insulted my taste in clothes, she’d also implied that I was lying about cutting the sleeves off my shirt AND that I had done so with shoddy craftsmanship.  ARE YOU FREAKING FOR REAL?!

I was set to just sort of brush the experience off as a, “well, now I can say I’ve been to Brooklyn.  And I’ve mingled with the hip kids.  And now people will stop trying to make me go back.” (NOTE: I have nothing against Brooklyn.  I know lots of cool people in Brooklyn.  My aversion, if you could call it that, to Brooklyn is simply that it’s far.  I have to change trains and I’m on the train for at least 40 minutes.  And it’s not a set up like a grid.  And I don’t do well without grids.  That’s why I have trouble with the Villages, both East and West.  And those are basically the same reasons that I lived less than 30 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh for YEARS and never really ventured into the city).

So, like I was saying, I was about to just forget the whole thing but then a strange thing happened to me at work the other day.  I was going over styles from our new line and I saw raw edges.  On men’s styles, on women’s styles, on sleeves, plackets, and hems.  And it struck me as odd that the same detail that deemed my otherwise still “trendy” garment COMPLETELY UNSELLABLE was the same detail making an appearance on not some, but many, of our current pieces.  As well as (I realized as I thought back on it) many of our past season’s styles.

So I would like to just break it down for you, just point out, if you will, the item rejections that I disagreed with.

Items rejected simply b/c the cashier/”buyer” didn’t immediately consider them items she herself would wear, without regards to their actual retail value:

  • Sweet Pea top (retails at Nordstrom for $96)
  • 2 California boutique tops (retail is approximately $78)
  • 1 Audrey Hepburn top
  • 1 Barbie studded top (Barbie is back.  She had a show at fashion week.  And her line of self-merch is expensive!)
  • 1 tank dress (retail in CA in the mid-50s to mid-60s…oh, and “faded” is a washing technique.  Just so you know.)

Items rejected b/c their styling details didn’t fit this particular hipster’s aesthetic (yet which are details that are seen in upcoming lines (as well as past lines) of a certain company with which I am fairly familiar):

  • 1 dress w/satin sleeves–it was though that the sleeves would pose a problem for the customer…if that’s the case, that customer shouldn’t check out our new line.
  • 1 tunic w/raw edge sleeves–moments later I found a wool top that was totally unraveling, causing me to wonder about who was working register THAT day.

Also, discovered: a leather jacket that was more destroyed than distressed.  Paint/ink stains and holes where the “leather” is scratched away to reveal the lining underneath are apparently in more wearable condition than my sweater that barely needed the sweater shaver on it (oh, and by the way, some yarns have a more fuzzy look–they are called mohair).

So that was my hipster experience.  Do I want to go back?  Not necessarily.  Will that stop me from buying shirts with raw edges, sweaters that are fuzzy and therefore cozy, or boutiquey graphic tees?  Not a chance.  I just know that when I’ve finally gotten all the use I can get out of them they’ll be going to the Salvation Army instead.


5 thoughts on “Design details, or, why hipsters shouldn’t be allowed to making clothing choices

  1. it’s not just hipsters. only people with terrible taste are allowed to work those stations.
    i’ve taken piles of stuff to our local buy back and walked away with similar experiences.
    my RL Ralph stuff was declined because they didn’t like the brand… um, it’s WAY better than the aeropostale & AE crap that fills their store
    i’ve also suffered being accused/insinuated accusation on items that were too trendy… faded was an issue for the bitches here too, she swore to me it had been “washed too many times”… um, bitch it has TAGS!

  2. Yeah, I don’t go to those places just for that reason. Snooty hipsters in skinny leg jeans. Well, and the fact that Brookly is far.

    So, how was Ms. Hipster dressed?

  3. I think you have the right idea — take your old stuff to the Salvation Army.

    I would do that, too, but they don’t take returns.

  4. Oh, your powers of self control are WAY more developed than mine. When said snotty hipster implied that I shoddily snipped my sleeves? Oh no. It wouldn’t have ended with a “fine”, no matter how firmly stated. I’d have walked out with everything.

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