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Watching Advertising Work On You
On being a willing victim of the fashion machine.
As the weather has started to get colder and I’ve started shopping for warmer clothing, I’ve found myself drawn to camel and cream colorings. I haven’t stopped to ask why, I have just started thinking that they would be good colors to have. Maybe I’ve seen them more around the city, or maybe it’s something that I’ve grown into. At the very least, it seemed like a self-determined choice.
Then the other day I walked into J. Crew for the first time in about a year and a half. Their store on West Broadway is in a beautiful two-story building and they had it decorated nicely for the holidays. Unfortunately, what greeted me when I walked in was an overly cheery sales guy named Jonathan… and shelves and shelves full of camel and cream. Now it all made sense.
There’s a scene in Devil wears Prada where Meryl Streep dresses down Anne Hathaway for thinking the fashion industry a ridiculous endeavor. After a minute and a half of explaining how a Cerulean blue sweater made it into the wardrobe of a self-professed fashion agnostic, she ends with this:
“It's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room”.
My camel and cream adventure was both infuriating and comforting.
Infuriating because I, the intelligent, autonomous, and self-governed curator of my own life and closet, was in fact at the end of a rat maze constructed by other people.
Comforting because the cheese at the end of the maze was in fact exactly what I wanted.
Isn’t that just the perfect cycle, being the source of desire creation and fulfilment?
Of course I didn’t buy a thing because it was all full priced and J.Crew turned into a discounter long ago, but you can bet that on Black Friday...