Saturday, November 14, 2009

H&M Partners with Jimmy Choo... really?

The consequences of refusing to pay a monthly cable bill and only getting media through the internet have finally caught up with me. Today, on a whim, I moseyed down to my local H&M on 5th Ave. and 51st St. in search of some cheap knits and possibly a cute new pair of flats— completely emotionally unprepared for what I was about to walk into.

Today is the launch of the apparently long awaited Jimmy Choo for H&M clothing line. And everyone in New York City but me knew about it and was out for blood.

My first thought when I walked in, “Is that a spotlight?” It was. A theater style spotlight circled the room erratically, and I’m sure it was meant to make the launch that much more glam, but when it fell on me I couldn’t help but feel like a prisoner caught trying to escape.

The first floor looked as if someone had vomited black and purple all over it, a person who had also eaten a ton of sequins (probably the cause of all the vomiting). The world was all leather, suede, zippers, sequins, and studs. And people. People everywhere grabbing sequined tops and dresses like they might never see clothes again.

It only took me a moment to realize that I was in some bizarre, alternate universe where my tried and true provider of cheap clothing merchandise, H&M, had partnered with the impossibly expensive, completely inaccessible, hopelessly coveted designer brand Jimmy Choo. In short, this was hell.

I could have walked right out the door, and almost did. But my curiosity got the better of me. I also couldn’t shake a nagging sense of indignation. I had come to this store in the expectation of inexpensive winter wear and I was going to leave with said inexpensive winter wear! This influx of designer junkies looking for a cheap (by their standards) fix would not stop me from shopping in my store previously marketed to people like me who couldn’t afford to blow $100 on a coin purse.

So I browsed. The Jimmy Choo merchandise was everywhere. I quickly assessed that none of it was under $80 and most of it was over $150. I did not even look at the shoes. Ok, I tried, but it was impossible. The entire area was roped off like a mine field and women were lined up to the front of the store to wait for an opportunity to enter the restricted area for a maximum of 20 minutes to shop. Every few minutes or so I could hear someone yell over the music blasting on the speakers, “8 more minutes ladies!”

Accepting the reality that I could not afford a single item displayed on the first floor for the line launch, I went up the escalator to the next floor where they’d shoved their regular merchandise. As usual, H&M’s ability to provide cute clothing for ridiculously low prices did not disappoint.

At the checkout my total came to less than $45 for two sweaters and a bra. A feat in purchasing women’s wear by anybody’s standards. But the victory was not as sweet as I’d remembered in the past.

I’d come to H&M with a goal, and left more than accomplishing it, so why did I feel so unsatisfied clutching my plastic H&M bag next to those suckers with their bright purple Jimmy Choo by H&M eco-friendly paper bags?

In truth, I didn’t even like any of the Jimmy Choo merch they were selling. I thought it was a little ugly, never having been a fan of see-through silk, leather with studs, and too-large zippers that serve no real purpose.

Ok, I’m not being fair. From what I could see over the eager line of women, the shoes, true to their reputation, were lovely.

They were also clearly spring and summer shoes. No winter boots or booties. No close toed pumps. Nothing I could wear for at least six months.

So in short, there was nothing there for me to even covet. I wouldn’t have wanted to buy anything even if I had the money. I knew this, and yet the nagging, undefined disappointment persisted.

I pinpointed what was bothering me on my walk home in the rain (it’s really been raining all day, I’m not just adding this for dramatic effect… although it kind of works, right?)

H&M is a place I come to shop when I want basic staples. Sweaters. Shirts. Sweatpants. It’s not where I go when I want designer jeans, or a good purse. Then I go to a consignment shop or Fileman’s Basement or Marshall’s or Century 21 or any number of discount stores.

But anywhere I go, I avoid the source of these designer duds like the plague. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than walking around in a nearly empty store looking at clothes I can’t afford while the sales person glares at me like I’m about to take a $300 dress and stuff it in my pocket. For me, entering a designer store is a little like subjecting myself to emotional assault.

And today, H&M lured me in like the wolf in grandma’s clothing and ate me whole!

Ok, overly dramatic strange fairy tale metaphors aside, I went to H&M and was confronted with exactly the lifestyle I shop there to avoid. And this Jimmy Choo madness seems there to stay.

Now where will I go to shop comfortably in my poverty?

Tsk tsk, H&M. Tsk tsk.

1 comment:

  1. So...I didn't really know you at all while you were at Centenary, but I really like your blog. :-) Just wanted to let you know!