People are paying over £300 for pairs of Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Superstar Sneakers. These are the latest fashion trend and although you may think they’re just like any other overpriced designer trainer, they are not. You won’t have seen anything like these from Nike or even Yeezy before…
These trainers are essentially dirty, worn-down shoes at pitched up prices. I’m not joking. They’re generally suede with distressed detailing like deliberate staining, frayed laces, and strategically placed duct tape. They’re being described as ‘urban’, but others just see it as a ridiculous new trend, and more importantly an example of poverty appropriation.
Their value as an example of poverty appropriation comes through the fact that their distressed, run-down and worthless look is exactly the same legitimately distressed, legitimately run-down, and legitimately worthless look that so many working class children are forced to wear and quietly try to conceal. I say this from personal experience.
The trainers of working class children are either cheaply bought, unbranded trainers from wherever sells them at the lowest price, or from a cheaper, ‘chavvy’ fashion house as a present at a slightly higher price, with every penny scrimped and saved in order to get them. They reach the state that the Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Superstar Sneakers are sold in through months of wear and when they do reach this state, working class children won’t get to claim their trainers as proof of how edgy they are; they’ll endure spiteful comments about how much they cost, and how long they’ve been wearing them.
These children will grow up, and those exact, more privileged, peers who demeaned them for their footwear and social standing, thanks to the cyclical nature of both poverty and wealth in our country, are the same people who will be privileged enough to afford the Golden Goose trainers.
The exact aspects of working class life that poor children are tormented over become commercialised, with prices set so high it excludes them from the trend that their own hardship inspired.
These shoes simply promote this ‘I-bought-it-because-I-can’ nature residing in arrogant wealthy people, it’s just another way for the rich to rub the poor’s face in their fortune.
Poverty appropriation doesn’t just come in fashion though. It comes in music, we’ve all met that one denim-clad fresher who won’t stop talking about how he feels that he just ‘gets’ the lyrics of some obscure, working class band from the North despite mummy and daddy paying him right through each semester. Poverty appropriation comes in cuisine, with beans on toast being sold for £10 as ‘vegan, haricot beans in a pureed tomato sauce a la flour, water, and yeast’, and it can even come in architecture…
The ‘minimal living’ movement is continually gaining popularity, and basically involves living how individuals oblivious to the actual lifestyles of the poor, think poor people live. It’s a ‘less is more’ approach that involves only living with the essentials, but it’s offensive because actual poor people are often the last to give away the clutter that ‘minimal living’ requires them to. Do you know what actual poor people live like? They live like Grenfell tower residents. They live in cramped, dangerous, homes of multiple occupancy, where their concerns about their safety are met with, silence until disaster strikes.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with being middle/upper class, there is something wrong with being middle/upper class and pretending not to be. You don’t get to play-act as a poor person because it’s suddenly fashionable, when you’ve not had to hear thousands of songs about expensive, decadent lifestyles you know you’ll never achieve, when you’ve not had to eat bread and rice for all three meals because they’ll fill you up and they’re all that you can afford, and when you’ve not had to deal with your loved ones being burned alive as a result of substandard accommodation.
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