Friday, August 24, 2007

The Luxury of disagreement

So I went to Dana Thomas' book signing yesterday at Politics and Prose for her book Deluxe, even though I haven't read the book. Hey, I was hoping for some good discussion! Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. While I appreciate Thomas trying to expose the secrets of the luxury industry and re-examine the economic implications of everyone wanting a LV bag, she rallies for reforming luxury instead of reforming consumerism. She calls out counterfitters for using child labor/sweatshops, funding terrorism and hurting designer sales (yeah right), she scolds luxury goods makers for buying each other out and she shit talks hedge fund investors for ruining designers left and right.

Yet, she didn't mention in her rants (maybe it's in her book) about luxury goods that are produced in sweatshops. She doesn't mention how supporting huge conglomerate "luxury" brands that steal ideas from smaller designers destroys creativity and artistry. While she praised the craftsmanship of the Louis Vuitton custom workshop, she failed to hail the craftsmanship of small, independent companies or producers. What I am getting at is that she provided no alternatives...she didn't tell you how to fight the man. I guess that's not her role, but I was looking for a call to micro-patronage and a move away from corporate hegemony. Instead of asking Gucci to become a better corporation, why can't we encourage the growth of local artisans, craftsman, designers in our own communities. I'm talking about buying small, buying locally and buying less. But buying less is pointedly not luxurious, so how would a Newsweek reporter sporting Louboutins (whose authentic soles she insisted on flashing to the audience) know about that?

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