Staring in to my closet. A pastime, a hobby, and the glorious start to every day. It's one of those days when I'm going to need a bigger work tote to go with today's bag. Scanning the top shelf where they all live, I consider some favorites; Maybe 'Maurice' by Jérôme Dreyfuss, an understated nubuck staple that's starting to look just as lived in as I've always wanted it to. Maybe the 2020 Lunar New Year tote From Coach with a cartoon rat in a hoodie against a backdrop of metallic roses. Or, for the first time in years, maybe my Alexander Wang 'Prisma Soft Emile' tote in gloriously squishy pebbled leather with oversized, geometric/architectural rose gold hardware- the biggest love-hate relationship in my entire wardrobe.
The Emile tote is inarguably cool. Architectural, practical, with just the right balance of demure and bold features, mixing unique hardware with simple, squeezable leather. Alexander Wang, however, is very arguably not cool. After the idea that actions have consequences caught up with him in 2020, The great divide between the quality of his work and the quality of his actions ran through the fashion world, shrinking his fanbase and sending him into a year long hiatus. It also invited everyone to think a little harder about what kind of person is behind the name printed on the labels in and on the clothes and bags they wear. To learn more about the original story of Wang's consequential actions, read one of the original reports here. (TW: assault).
This question, "What kind of conscious matters?" has always been on my mind, but hit me harder after Wang became undeniably problematic. I asked myself if I wanted to noticeably wear the name of a person whose actions I would never condone, and settled on an answer I acknowledged begrudgingly; the answer was no. Four bags needed to be sold, but I didn't want to part with any of them. 3 pieces from the 'Prisma' Collection, and the infamous yet gorgeous 'Chastity' bag. I sold the structured 'Emile XL' in gorgeous grey embossed alligator, with smooth black calfskin and signature metal corners (that once put a nice deep scratch in one of my car doors), my all black 'Prisma Sling' crossbody (the PERFECT crossbody, until I found my dream Givenchy Pandora), and the star of them all- my black calfskin 'Chastity' top handle, a super structured Kelly style bag with a curved bottom that rested on two huge gold brackets. I loved and used each one, but when another bag in my collection can get the same job done (guilt-free, too) they've got to go.
Only my 'Soft Emile' is left, for sale on Poshmark because Wang's reputation goes against the grain of thoughtfulness I use to curate the Chicologie shop. It taunts me, always. light hits that extraordinary rose gold hardware and it flashes at me, "Take me out today, you know you love me and no one will know". I know, but I also know that I'm just not one to easily separate art from the artist, especially if that art is part of how I'd be presenting myself to the world.
Now, I'd never be the one to judge another for being on the other side of this argument- but I'm offering it up for you to think about, because it's an idea that I've seen and considered in fashion more than once, first in 2018. Dolce & Gabbana set the fashion world on fire after a scandal so big that the brand was thrown out of China, one of the largest luxury markets in the world (read the basics here). My research on the matter showed me every bad thing Dolce & Gabbana has done (read an all-encompassing article by that title here), and prompted me to reflect on the argument 'should you separate the art from the artist'? Now, although they've contributed quite a bit to fashion history, I can easily live without maximalist Sicilian couture (demi-couture, IMHO) in my life, or on my radar. Others are quite the opposite; a famous example in this argument being one of the Elton John AIDS Foundation's biggest supporters, who has regularly worn D&G to foundation events, even after D&G expressed distain for Elton, his husband, and their choice to have children. Either way, this debacle was a perfect situation to spark consideration over choosing to separate or connect what one creates and who they are.
This spectrum of opinion fascinates me, and again, I'd never be the one to judge another for being on the other side of this argument. In fashion, we're increasingly conscious. As a Chicologie supporter, you're part of this consciousness movement by supporting the expanded lifespan of vintage bags and accessories (which you can do here in the shop). We're also conscious of making green choices, respecting individuality, respecting designers, and fighting to make the production of affordable clothing more ethical. Do we also want to be conscious of the kind of people who live with the names we proudly wear? Take this post as an invitation to think about it; in fashion, in the arts, in your own closet.