Real New Vintage

April 30, 2023

Ye gave me an idea. Or rather, an article in a Dutch newspaper about Kanye West and his fashion deals gave me an idea. It’s cruel. It’s mean. Hear me out.

I’ve always been somewhat baffled by the sale of new clothes (jeans, shoes) that have been artificially aged (cracked, torn, faded, worn). This ageing process uses machines or chemical processes, or manually damaging the garments using simpler means like stones or knifes. In any case, the current ageing process is fast, a mere additional step in the clothes production chain.

And then I thought about the virtual gaming sweatshops where thousands of people in poorer countries play video games to groom a certain gaming character with particular skills, strengths and tools, to then sell it some rich kid in the West.

And I wondered: how long would it take for some sick perverted capitalist to apply this modern form of slavery to the artificially aged clothing business? That is: give poor people new garments to wear for a year or so, so they age naturally. And then sell those cloths as “Real New Vintage” to rich kids across the world. (It’s not like the clothing business is totally unfamiliar with such business practices.)

One could even give the garments a distinctive and uniquely personal touch, adding a brief note like: ‘These sneakers have been worn by Leila, a girl from Myanmar’. Perhaps it could be handwritten by the wearer. A more daring enterprise that wishes to ‘greenwash’ their brand to look more socially responsible could even turn it into a more political message: ‘These sneakers have been worn by Leila, a Rohingya orphan girl from Myanmar, where she lives with her brothers and sisters in a refugee camp because her parents were killed in the brutal violence targeting the Muslim minority in that county.’ A donation to an appropriate charity is of course included in the price.

Perhaps the clothes could even come with a brief documentary, starring the person wearing the clothes while ageing them. Of course the price of the garment increases as the personal story becomes more ripping and more extensively documented.

Wouldn’t that be the perfect gift for Gen Z kids whose social involvement is mostly performative in nature, restricted to snide social media posts (like this one)?

Hell, I guess Balenciaga could make a fortune with this.

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