Monday, September 13, 2010

I was dressed as meat before Lady Gaga!

I've read so much about Lady Gaga... I've definitely read more articles about her than I've heard her songs. I don't care if she's better than Madonna, or if she's more likeDavid Bowie or like Marilyn Manson. My problem is: Could an anti-consumerist be Lady Gaga? The answer is no! Here are some reasons why:

1. She needs a lot of accessories. Even her dresses serve as accessories to her accessories, which means that Lady Gaga wears meta accessories!

2. Even if she wears garbage, she seems to need a lot of it. Much more than an anti-consumerist can produce. I think she must buy it somewhere.

3. She needs a lot of meat!

So, what if an anti-consumerist wants to look fabulous like Lady Gaga but doesn't really have any meta accessories, nor enough money to buy garbage or expensive meat?

Here are some of my ideas for low-budget costumes:

1. Meat

I had the idea back in 2006 and it's much deeper than Gaga's. The costume is also much more vegetarian and animal friendly. And it's reusable and recyclable.

Since I was very little, I hated the thought of dressing up as a lovable, beautiful, romantic or sexy character, such as a princess. But that's what people expect, I think. With the meat costume, I wanted to deconstruct (mentally and materially) the expected/imagined character so I wrapped myself into a plastic foil, like they sometimes do it with meat, and put stickers on to label different body parts, such as thighs, breasts, etc. Just like they do it with the meat.

Unfortunately, the costume did not make people think and reconsider their expectations of Halloween-style sexiness. In fact, it was the exact opposite: One year later, I realized that some men thought I was naked under the foil. They must have fantasized about it so much that the fantasy has clouded their memories.

2. Sausage terrorist

In 2007, again, I didn't have much money. I also didn't have much time to think about my Halloween costume so I went for my favourite, well-tested item: meat (in a foil). And a computer mouse. I don't think anyone fantasized about the sausage terrorist but people still liked it. Mostly, they enjoyed touching the sausages.

3. Homo consumiens

In 2009, I came up with another excellent idea. I only needed a plastic bag from a specific store and some garbage to represent shopping.

You might have wondered at the motto of DM drug store: It's something like, "Here I'm a human. Here I shop." ( That philosophy poses some serious challenge to the old "to have or to be" problem suggesting that one IS human when they shop.

I took the first part of the motto on the bag literally: If it says that that's where I'm being human, that's where I need to be, so I got inside the bag. And I realized that it is a perfect solution for a consumerist as it protects your back and it let's you get into intimate contact with your shopping. You can feel what it's like to be a product instead of to have the product.

Although, I really hope Lady Gaga will have enough decency not to steal this one from me, I will understand if the next time she receives an MTV award, she will come wrapped in a plastic bag and claiming she is not a product! From my experience, people get the idea more easily than when you come dressed as a meat claiming you're "not a piece of meat."

(Here's another bag model saying: "The best for me.")

Warning: You could get really sweaty in a plastic foil or a plastic bag.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nintendo Wii is cool to play with... in a shop

Fashion is also about accessories. Some of the coolest accessories today are the inaccessible ones. They include new technologies, such as smart phones (mainly Nexus One), video game consoles, especially Nintento Wii and Guitar Hero, etc.

The good thing is that you don't need to own any of these and you still get to play and even take a picture of you playing, which you can post online for all your friends to see. You just have to find your local store and sneak in with a camera.

Why waste time playing expensive video games anyway? Especially if you can play games that are free! Like Decide for yourself, who is cooler, Heidi playing the guitar or Yvette playing the keyboard?




Before and After: a photo story

I love winter coats. They're the only piece of clothing that you're allowed to wear every single day for many weeks without having to feel bad, cheap, or disgusting about it. You don't have to spend precious minutes every morning deciding which coat to wear because you only have one. Maybe two. If you have three or more, get out!

I've had my winter coat for 6 years. The colour has faded out, the pockets have stretched, a few holes have appeared... A guy vomitted on the coat once. It has been through a lot but even though it was one size too small when I bought it on sale (75% off), and still is, it resists every attempt to replace it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sales are finally over!

Sales give us an opportunity to buy all the things we didn't buy before because they were too expensive and because we didn't need them. The second reason is usually more relevant. When things are finally half the original price, you have a chance to buy twice the amount of useless things. Well, this would be the ideal case. What happens more often is that you buy MORE than twice the amount of useless things and spend a lot more money than you had intended.

But these are just a few aspects of a very complicated psychology of sales.

1. Hunt
Simone de Beauvoir wrote that through shopping, women compensated for their mundane domestic lives. She thought that marketplace was a woman's battleground where the winner was whoever bought the best article for the lowest price.

This winter, I hunted for a winter coat. I didn't buy any because I didn't like any. It seems to me that companies such as Zara, Mango, even Benetton, etc. do not invest much creative effort into designing coats. The one below was one of the most interesting coats I've tried on.

2. Pressure
Times have changed and when you have to make a decision these days, you can't expect that a little angel and a little devil will appear around your head chatting. No. Instead, you can expect a skilled saleperson and a cheap-looking rich investor debating the pros and cons of buying... whatever you're buying.

The overall below cost less than 5€ which was cheap enough to be worn just once in a life-time. But on the other hand, it would be worn exactly once in a life-time. Or maybe not... If I allowed the two homunkuluses (homunkuli?) having their debate, I would still be in the shop.

3. To wait or not to wait?
The first time I saw the dress was in the summer 2009 and I liked it but I thought I didn't need it and it seemed too expensive. This winter, it was half the price but I'm glad it was also twice my size, so I didn't even feel tempted to buy it. Also, after all those months, it seemed kind of boring.

4. Thinking about the future?
Sometimes, I feel that buying a summer dress in the winter is thinking about the future. In fact, it's more like living in the past. The dress below must have survived two sales and still, noone wants it.

5. This doesn't fit
Many things we've bought on sales or at secondhands just don't fit, right? Let's not buy them then.

6. What is this?
This shirt was interesting, but it required me to think too much about its possible uses, advantages and disadvantages. Instead of solving my problems, this shirt would have made my mind busy for weeks and would probably end up as a one-night stand anyway.

However, despite of what some anti-consumerists think, even anti-consumerists should look stunning so once in a while, they should buy something nice. I thought I found that something.

But then I realized that this particular blazer wasn't on sale. So I didn't buy it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shopping, Psychoanalysis and Man Chairs

"Man chair" - defined by Urban Dictionary as "the chair that men sit in while their partner is shopping for long periods of time. They can be found in almost any clothing or shoe store." Right, so what if a woman goes shopping with men who want to buy a suit? I don't know. There aren't any woman chairs so I had to try some cross-dressing in order to survive that odyssey.

I realized an important thing: men's bags look really good on women. They might also be more practical than those designed for women but I don't know that for sure because, naturally, I didn't buy any.

Hat is a phallic symbol (at least in a freudian dream) so a woman's hat doesn't really make sense. A woman wearing a hat could be considered as a strong evidence of penis envy, so no thanks!

A blazer is what makes a gentleman. I hope that any gentleman who buys this particular blazer will never see this picture as it might make him feel emasculated. The fear of a woman looking good in man's blazer is the same as the fear of castration.

What's the future of unisex? Should I wear more men's clothes?

Should there be more woman chairs in shops and more man chairs in buses?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Through the lying looking-glass

If an anti-consumerist goes shopping, they must be aware of the dangers of mirrors and lights.

You might find yourself looking surprisingly stunning - slimmer and kind of "photoshopped" - in that lying piece of looking-glass and might not think twice before you buy something you don't want. But you can always exploit the flattering reflection to take a lying picture of yourself. These high-waist tight pants would look really bad in real life. I'm glad I didn't buy them.

What's also dangerous are these special postures that you (or at least I) unintentionally make when you look at yourself... trying to look naturally or what?

I'm not going to buy this...

... but I like it! It's a good idea for a X-mas gift, right?