I’ve been meaning for weeks to put together a rebuttal to the Style Coalition’s video “Don’t Shop” but haven’t been able to come up with words sufficient enough to make my feelings and ideas clear. As I read Anabela’s observations today on fieldguided, I was reminded of the main message I wanted to get across, and that is how IMPORTANT it is to support the designers we love.
My knee jerk reaction to the “Don’t Shop” video was that the designers mentioned in the video are not the ones who need our support – and don’t even get me started on should we be concerned about “saving” NY Fashion Week (I’ve written before about my general distaste for “Fashion Week” and belief that especially NY’s fashion week is generally un-necessary, a colossal waste of money and self-serving). I would also argue that Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabanna don’t “need” our financial support as much as smaller designers do, but in the end of the day if their designs are where your heart lies, then I believe that’s where you should spend your VERY hard-earned money. I’ll reserve mine for independent designers (and James Perse, and Splendid – just being honest).
I cannot even begin to paraphrase Anabela’s brilliant words in her two articles (read this one first, then this one), so I won’t. Please please please read them if you care at all about independent design. I was particularly affected by this quote by Alyson Fox:
I am still not self supporting, but I think I am getting closer. Hopefully. I have a great month and then a really slow month. It is really scary, but also self rewarding. I nanny three times a week to pay the grueling student loan, car insurance, gas and health insurance. Then with what I make from selling my art or from my small clothing line, I save 50 percent of it right off the bat. Then I reinvest the other half back into my work. More so into the clothes since that involves the most overhead. It takes a lot of hard work, sometime tears and a lot of support.
I will never carry or look at my Fox in Mociun tote bag the same way again. I have treasured that bag since the second I got it, I appreciate the design, the pattern and the work that went into it, now more than ever. I guess I have had a very nieve view of independent designers in that I feel like if they’re getting a lot of attention, they’re making money. Anabela negates that in a second with this quote:
I don’t want to sound bitter, but it reminds me (ever so slightly) of the embroidery hoop I made for Baker’s Dozen. I keep seeing its image on blogs. People send me links saying they saw it posted here or there. Others seem to enjoy it. How many have sold? Two. 1, 2.
Wow. That reminds me of how often I post about Necklush and say I’m going to buy one and don’t…I know a lot goes into a decision whether to buy something or not, but I also know that the next time I’m thinking about spending $60 on James Perse, I could spend half that much on a necklush and know that I’m directly impacting someone’s life. I also need to shut up already and buy a Moop bag – or should I go for the quilted loche by SWANclothing instead?
I know how scary it is to be completely dependent on your own business, living day-to-day thinking about when you’ll get your next payment, and then deciding how to use that money to grow your business AND support yourself. At the same time, though, it’s the best feeling in the world – and I want to know that my money, no matter how little, can help another small entrepreneur achieve her dreams of self-sufficiency.
That’s why I will choose to support independent design & designers.
What about you? What are your thoughts on independent design? do you support the designers you write about? Tell me some of your favorite independent designers.