Monday, April 20, 2009
Louis Vuitton, the economic crisis, and the environment
The current economic crisis is straining more than just banks, the auto industry, and small businesses--it's hitting Saks and Barneys as well. Louis Vuitton had been a stranger to my inbox, but given the current financial climate, I've been receiving emails at least once a week (not to mention Louis Vuitton cut prices in Japan in 2008 in response to fluctuating markets). For the love of couture, Chanel actually had a sale in January 2009.
Here's the thing, high-end brands aren't booming because they sell items hot off the runway. It's the conventional relatively cheaper monogram trinkets that keep the ball rolling (LV key chain or papillion anyone?)
So I ask you, what will amp up shopping again? Enter Earth Day. 15% of online sales helping the environment will definitely get some action for Vuitton. And is there really a problem with that? Sure, well all win. You win with your class statement, the green movement wins with a hot donation, and LV wins with some more profit. But what remains unchallenged is the buy-buy-buy mentality and hyper-consumer culture at large.
I realize that we cannot buy a green revolution--it is something that needs to happen from the bottom up. Don't get me wrong, I am not a minimalist. The best thing that happened to vegan fashion is Stella McCartney. However, it's a question of how much over-priced stuff does a person really need? How many black shoes are actually necessary? Can you wait until you kill the old pair before adding a new pair?
For now, I have to say that campaigns cost money, and the climate can't represent itself for free. The conflation of consumerism and the green movement is a neccesary middle step in raising funds to advocate for and achieve minimal standards of efficiency. I do not favor communism whatsoever, but this mirrors the Marxist idea that capitalism is a positive and neccesary step in the process of class consciousness. Similarly, green consumerism is a positive and necessary step in cultivating green consciousness and renewable lifestyles.
So, while we're transitioning, if you're going to splurge a bit, spend it where it counts, and where the environment can stand to benefit.