In my own sense of fashion, I have always grappled with the idea of utility versus the idea of fashionability. This is why when I became a light weight sneaker collector during my high school days I had to question myself on why I purchased a specific pair of sneakers. In the article Sneaker Freaker by Hans D.C. he mentions that "the shoes are actually currency and a game is played to see who can hustle the other into thinking which is worth more" (Hans, Sneaker Freaker). For many "sneaker heads," I would say that one very influential person was Michael Jordan and his use of basketball to boost his international sales of sneakers, and successful creation of his own brand of sneakers. In fact, his impact was internationally far-reaching thanks to the expansion of advertisement through television and the internet and according to Walter LeFeber in his book Michael Jordan and the new Global Capitalism "basketball was a minor sport in Japan, but thanks to television ads, Air Jordan Nike sneakers sold for as much as $1,000 a pair and were collected like jewels" (LeFeber Jordan and the New global Capitalism p. 24). However, the main difference is that someone like Michael Jordan used his sneakers in everyday use as he played basketball. I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel wearing $1,000 sneakers on my feet every day.
Often times, the issues I see with Fashion are that folks end up spending thousands and thousands of dollars on material goods, sneakers in this instance, and many of these collectors do not get their money's worth because they never actually use the shoes that they purchase. However, I wonder when it became popular to not use shoes, but to actually collect them. Another question that comes to mind is whether or not the designers of Air Jordan shoes are actually designing them to be used or if they are designing them specifically for aesthetics and mass appeal? What started off as purely a basketball shoe has evolved into a fashion statement and has caused Michael Jordan to evolve into a Fashion icon in some circles.
I have attached a video of Michael Jordan of one of the commercials which was played around the world and in the United States to promote the Michael Jordan shoes, and the catch phrase is "It's gotta be the shoes." These advertisements were very clever and exploited Michael Jordan's global success through the game of basketball.
Much like his basketball talent, Michael Jordan's shoes have transcended just being basketball shoes. In Hans D.C.'s article he discuss how it is nice to see "when the shoes are treated with respect and worn properly with according attire and style" (Hans D.C. Sneaker Freaker). These shoes are no longer only correctly worn when they are on the basketball court, but they can also be worn with casual, semi formal, and formal attire and still be considered proper attire. Sneakers have quickly become a culture of their own which goes beyond just comfort, or practical usage and have become a statement of fashion and fashion currency.
For the record, I have owned 5 or 6 pairs of Air Jordans in my time and I have kept about 4 of them in great condition.
In terms of the compact challenge, I have been doing a great job because I do not have enough money to afford rent, bills and new clothes. I have not been able to visit any thrift stores and have not made any sort of purchases of new clothes. It is interesting to think that I keep wearing the same clothes every week because I only own a small amount of bottoms, so I continue to mix them up with my shirts and sweaters which I have a lot more of.
Hans D. C. Sneaker Freaker Ed. Simon Wood. New York: Penguin group, 2005
LaFeber, Walter. Michael Jordan and the new Global Capitalism. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company Inc., 2002. Print.
Michael Jordan commercial: