How Are $600 “Distressed Sneakers” an Actual Thing?

On the considerable idiocy behind the new luxury economy

September 1, 2016 9:00 am

You probably wouldn’t pay $600 for a pair of sneakers pre-scuffed and duct-taped.

But Barneys thinks you will.

The department store has come under fire this week for hawking footwear from Italian brand Golden Goose — a brand known for faux pre-worn kicks that sell beyond any kind of reasonable price point. And Barneys isn’t alone. Other luxury retailers like Mr. Porter are right there on that pedestal with them.

Golden Goose sneakers are ugly. They’re dirty. They’re ironic. They’re for the kind of consumer who’ll pay Gucci prices for skate park garbage. The kind of person who has everything he could ever need so WTF, why not try some derelicte?

Which is problematic, of course. “Poverty appropriation” is how the internet is describing it. And they’re correct. To argue Golden Goose sneakers as an anti-fashion statement, or a subversive plot against the economy of high-fashion, is to miss the uncanny obsession the rich carry with being ordinary. The reality is it’s novelty fashion at its worst.

Either way, I wouldn’t wear any of these sneakers. Even if I scuffed ‘em myself.

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