Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Credit Crisis

Yesterday I went shopping in Soho for the first time in 8 months. Studying designer clothing is both a blessing and a curse of working in the fashion industry. It is a large part of my job to know what is going on with fabrics and trends and construction. So I got to spend a beautiful summer afternoon leisurely perusing the stores as a student of the latest developments, iced coffee in hand. As I was checking out the incredible jacquards and the Japanese heat-set paper appliqu├ęs at Marni, I noticed a pair of platform shoes displayed so prominently and so beautifully in their mirrored white cubby in the wall. I tried these five-inch-high works of art on, and they couldn’t have fit more perfectly nor made my legs look longer. I was towering over no one at 5’4” in these beauties. All of a sudden, the sun shone a little brighter.

As I worked out the math in my head, “Ok, so if I put these on my credit card, I can pay them off in three paychecks… but wait, I need to make sure I can pay rent…” The battle began and got heated up quickly, with the halo-wearing me on my right shoulder loudly proclaiming, “You could buy a brand new and very nice surfboard for the cost of these shoes. Or a plane ticket and an entire trip to Nicaragua for a month.”

But that sultry tiny me in a red sequin dress, sitting atop my left shoulder whispered ever so quietly, “But you wouldn’t be able to do those things for months. If you get these shoes, you’ll probably win the lottery and meet the love of your life all in the same day. Maybe tomorrow if you wear your new shoes.”

Ultimately, angelic me won, as I am of the thought that yelling louder always yields better results. But in truth, I’m still thinking about those shoes, and thinking about how to finance footwear that I can’t afford, and that I probably wouldn’t even wear that often. I just want to own them. Surely they will improve my life and my health and my personality just by possessing them.

This incident isn’t the first of its kind, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Our whole lives and in all aspects of our day-to-day existence, we are bombarded with images of things we should want to need. It is unavoidable, especially living in the city. I suppose that is why the average credit card debt in the US is $15,000 a person. I hope I can avoid being a part of that statistic, even if it means not having designer kicks.

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