Thursday 1 December 2016

A Beastie Of A Shoe. At Least It's For A Good Cause.

There are fascinating examples of fans buying products designed or promoted by their favourite brands or celebrities with little thought given to whether it's worth it. You could argue this goes all the way up to the week-long queues we used to see outside Apple stores for the latest iProduct. When I used to work in London's trendy Soho, I regularly witnessed block-long lines at cult streetwear store Supreme. Famously, once people queued for a Supreme-branded brick. Yep, a regulation-sized house brick stamped with the Supreme logo.

You do have to wonder if there's some sort of bet in place amongst certain well-placed designers as to what people will fork out on, and how ugly a design has to be before they will walk away. Case in point: the new sneaker endorsed by Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, which is now available for pre-order. Created in conjunction with vegan footwear company Keep, net profits from the sale of the shoe going to Planned Parenthood. Ad-Rock says:

“Given the outcome of our current election, it’s gonna get a lot colder before we can feel that summer sun again. So I collaborated with my friend, [Keep Shoes founder] Una [Kim], not just because I wanted warm sneaks, but because I support small business. I support women-run business. I support Asian-American-run business. Net proceeds of this shoe will be donated to Planned Parenthood because I support a woman’s right to choose and feel that women should not be punished for making decisions about their own lives and bodies.”  
All very admirable. Keep are well-known as a highly ethical, worker-supporting company, and Planned Parenthood are an exceptionally worthy cause. However, the problem is in the shoes themselves. They are pretty darn ugly. Made of nylon and cordura, with bungees instead of laces, they look more like nan-shoes than anything you'd want to be seen in on the street.

Here's the issue, then. Should you buy the shoe, or others like it, if you support a cause or like the endorsing artist, regardless of whether the item itself is unpleasing to the eye? Is this just a matter of taste, and I'm sneering at the Keep X Ad-Rock Ramos simply because they aren't to my taste? I mean, I'm hardly an exemplar of street style. But I fail to see how anyone would want those within safe minimum distance of their feet. 

Fashion and causes and celebrity endorsements have always been bedfellows, and the resultant offspring have frequently been a bit odd-looking. The Keep X Ad-Rock Ramos is just the latest example of that trend, and they're at least born out of the noblest of intentions. I just hope they're more comfortable than they look. 

No comments:

Post a Comment