I am becoming increasingly frustrated by punk fashion, and where it is going. It is Disney's Robin Hood for Modern Youth, the rich are stealing from the poor. Or in this case, the execs up in Hot Topic Inc are stealing from the minds of unassuming fourteen year olds who discovered grandma's sewing machine and are proudly displaying their handiwork on sites like craftster or livejourmal's t-shirt surgery. We played another acoustic set at Hot Topic this weekend (the fourth this summer) and I was distraught by the obvious similarities of the dresses up on the wall, and the made-with-love custom work of beloved online DIY phenomenons like Smarmy (www.smarmyclothes.com). And i wonder, are these guys literally ripping the clothes off our DIY backs and rehashing them out in bulk? I know there's got to be some woman somewhere whose sole bread-winning existence is scouring the internet for creative little pieces that their boss may be interested in hearing about.
It is a threat to me, it is a threat to the DIY Fashion community, and I wish there was something i could do about it. No legalities can be set in place for something like garment design on this scale, so I feel helpless. And it does affect me, more then just "Oh wow, that looks a whole freaking lot like what we were sewing up two years ago. Cute." No, it feels like they get so close to catching up behind me that I need to think of new ways to change my style, or I'm afraid I'll see my exact style plastered on hot topic's site next month. Tell me, why do I have to change? Not only did I do the hard work of actually designing and making the garment, thus saving you the precious work of creating your own style for your own store, but now I need to change again, in reaction to your theft. How inconvenient.
Frankly, I am tired of trying to stay one step ahead. It wasnt always like this, there was a time when I was making and designing clothes for my personal pleasure and to have a unique wardrobe, not to do anything I could to not look like I shopped at Hot Topic. But now, I hate to say it but I do need to go out of my way to not make clothes that look like that. Because the store's style evolved, obviously inspired by underground clothing made by Us. And now we are left scratching our heads wondering why our 11 year old neighbor is wearing a corset that looks like the one we made last year. It is wrong, and it tires me.
And now to briefly touch on the psychology of this, there remains no question in my mind that once the current trend gets to close to what I was wearing (an anti-trend, something I had specifically designed to be better and to be something I like better then the current traditional non-conforming clothes I saw for sale), a change needs to be made. I would love to just "Be Myself" and keep it up and wait for the current trends to change and ride it out. But that could take years, and that take away an important element of why I wanted to design my own garments in the first place. So I do need to change. But i'm running out! I can safely say that I genuinely like a lot of the clothes that are currently in Hot Topic, i would never have said that three or five years ago, because I didnt like the style then, and so it was convenient I could make my own style, that I liked. But now for some reason everything in there looks like what has been in my closet for years (I am in no way implying that I personally had a thing to do with that, but I do wholeheartedly believe the current mass-produced punk style was extremely if not exclusively influenced by underground diyers and diy sites. This transition from the underground to mainstream is found in the majority of trends.)
I am Ruined. They are stripping me, and I am not approaching this as an exciting creative challenge where i get to reinvent my wardrobe. Why should I need to do that when they are the thieves? But i do need to. And i'm tired of fighting and trying to think of something better. And i shouldn't have to, and so my bad attitude leads to me ranting in a blog instead of turning on my sewing machine and taking out my frustrations the good old fashioned way and sew myself a skirt. Sigh.