My experience at F21 was delicious/concerning in the way that most scandalous things are: I was high on the moment with a niggling sense of doubt about consequence.
Let me start by cataloguing the purchases:
- A butter yellow, thin, deep-V cardi with pleated shoulders. Proviso: It's thin - not for the gauge of the wool but for the cheapness of its construction. Nonetheless, for the season it will last, that won't be particularly observable.
- A slate-grey shell with interesting knit detail at the shoulder / on the back. Also thin. Proviso, above, applies. A really smart, shrunken knit vest in black. This one, while cheap, has staying power.
- A rip-off version of the short shorts we've seen everywhere this season.
- True, super high-waisted skinny jeans - Given my age and stage, these are stylistically analogous to drag-racing while completely smashed on cocaine. I sense rehab is in my future :-)
Note that pictures will appear over the next few posts.
The damage for these 5 rather substantive garments was a shocking $110.00 - and yes, that includes tax. Herein lies the skeeviness. I'd like to tell you that I'm the kind of consumer who always saves to purchase only the designs of designers who charge a lot of money, not simply for their creativity, but for their ethical manufacturing practices. In truth, I do care, and because I'm usually getting really expensive, diffusion and designer things for less (based on my ability to bargain shop), I imagine that the retailer is taking the hit. (Note: This is something - based on the overwhelming success of those companies - I'm prepared to live with.)
However, when one purchases half a new wardrobe for 90 bucks plus tax, one cannot deny on whose back the profit is being made.
Look, I'm very much in favour of the democratization of fashion - on the creation of popular-trend garments which are affordable at most price-points. But seriously, I'm disturbed by the sheer disposability of it all. I mean, F21 makes Zara look like YSL. It makes me wonder: Where does it end?
Having said all this, I was kookily thrilled at the thought of getting some crazy-ass denim I might only have the nerve to wear 3 times for $34.00. And I know I'll wear the black knit vest into the ground, making it the best 12 bucks I'm likely to spend this year. And, for sooth, the stuff fit rather stylishly, which is to say not cheaply.
Here's my take: Over the years, I've bought 2 things at H&M, 3 things at Zara and had this little spree at F21. I'm not principaled enough to return the loot, but I'm not proud. Can't say I'll never visit these places again - can't say, either, that the places I frequent don't harm vulnerable workers the world over. But I won't be going back soon. At least that's what I tell myself.