TEXT BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKKO PUTTONEN
We weigh in the pro’s and con’s of caving in to love at first sight.
We’ve all been there.
You spot a new pair of shoes, it looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before, it’s fresh off the runway, your favorite influencer is showing it off on Instagram, Bella Hadid & co have it in all the different colorways – and naturally you want in on the action. This tends to be the journey of buying a cult shoe: It’s everywhere or at least on all the right people and all over your Instagram feed, it has a new, of-the-moment look and you become desperate to have it because who doesn’t want to be part of the cool, trendy girls’ club?
The thrill of the chase makes everything even more exciting: These shoes are so quick to sell out, you most likely need to scour several boutiques in various countries or contact a personal shopper to get your hands on your size.
That might resonate with anyone who has been buying anything by Bottega Veneta recently or trying to hunt down Amina Muaddi’s PVC Begum pumps – just two examples of shoes gone viral in the last year. Before there were Louis Vuitton’s ‘Archlight’ sneakers, Balenciaga’s sock boots or Triple S sneakers, Miu Miu’s cat print Mary Janes or even the Balenciaga chunky buckled ‘Ceinture’ boots during the brand’s Alexander Wang era. Talk about blast from the past. Hunting down and investing – at times heavily – in viral, of-the-moment items is part of the joy of the game for any shoe lover.
What’s fashion without a little trend experimentation after all?
You’d think that influencers or fashion editors, who have the pressure of showing up on the front row or shooting the right images to keep their audiences engaged with all that’s new and exciting, are really the ones under pressure to spot the viral items and get their hands on them first. That’s partly true, but in the age of Instagram, where insider information is accessible with the click of a button, anyone with a phone and an interest in fashion can gain expert knowledge, become part of virtual or real-life fashion communities and get into the game of keeping up with trends and all the season’s most buzz-worthy pieces.
But what happens as the buzz dies down and the shoe goes a little too viral, meaning it’s so overexposed and over worn it no longer feels special? Most likely, you fall out of love just as quickly as you fell in love and the shoes end up unworn and hidden somewhere in the depths of your closet or at best, on Vestiaire Collective. That could very well be next year’s reality for all those Bottega Veneta ‘Intreciato’ sell-outs, which have been a little too over distributed in all colors of the rainbow. Insiders are already starting to pose the question of when will the bubble burst?
Does that make purchases of seasonal, trend pieces bad? At a time when sustainability is top of the agenda and we all need to reconsider our shopping habits and the waste they can generate, is it also time to rethink purchasing viral items in favor of wardrobe classics?
It really boils down to personal style and if you can see yourself wearing the items in numerous ways in the future. Buying with the thought of only wearing the shoes for the season is an option if you can sell it forward.
– says Sandra Hagelstam, founder of this site, who advices keeping the box and the receipt to make sure you can re-sell them for the best price.
It’s a little bit like deciding between a short-term, adventurous fling and a long-term committed relationship. There’s a time for everything – depending on your current mood and life circumstances – and nothing wrong with either choice. If you have a little extra disposable income, you’re looking to make a statement and push your style boundaries a little bit, by all means have a fling with the trendy, viral shoe that stole your heart. You might even fall deeper in love and decide it’s a keeper, no matter what trend cycles say.
“I love the idea of wearing a piece that is no longer available. It’s a sign of confidence,” added Hagelstam, explaining that inspiration on Instagram shouldn’t be taken “so literally.” “We have to remember that the reason why we don’t see influencers wearing previous season items a lot is because promoting an items that is nowhere to be found does not work in their advantage to drive sales nor does it promote the brands or new collections that they might be affiliated with.”
That’s why, if you find yourself thinking that Bottega’s square toes are plain weird or you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in boots as chunky as Prada’s ‘Monolith,’ even if everyone else around you seems to think otherwise, stick to your guns and don’t fall for the trap.
We’re shoe experts here not life consultants, but it seems like getting to known your wants and needs and staying authentic is the key to making happy purchases – and probably happy life decisions too.
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