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Why does fashion love being pointless so much?

Dogs, cats, goldfish and even horses, we are all fashion addicts

Why does fashion love being pointless so much?  Dogs, cats, goldfish and even horses, we are all fashion addicts

Forget the expression 'when pigs fly because from now on we can talk about horses with trainers. Unlike the first expression, the second case is reality, even if it sounds absurd. Marcus Floyd, the designer of the Horse Kicks brand that makes customized shoes just for horses, has repurposed some of the most famous sneakers, such as the Air Jordan 1 Court Purple, the New Balance 550 or the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Dazzling Blue, transforming them into comfortable horse clogs. In this way, the sneakerhead jockey-horse pair can perhaps engage in a race with a style that is down to the last detail, thanks to the latest model fresh off the drop, perfectly matched. The brand's website refers to Lexington, Kentucky as the home of horseback riding, inviting all patrons to replace 'boring horseshoes' with these creations designed specifically for animals. Since the orthopedic-veterinary skills to fully understand the benefits of these surreal proposals are not possessed by many, perhaps one should simply accept the product of this unusual creative flair and its equally unusual recipient, without too many questions.

But leaving aside any evaluations of comfort and practicality, the real and central point of this 'innovation' relates more to why anyone would consider this kind of product usage. Certainly, fashion is not based on usefulness: one does not buy thousands of euros' worth of fashion show pieces because one appreciates their incredible advantage in terms of simplifying everyday tasks. Rather, fashion is an inevitable fascination exerted by a mix of skillful brand storytelling, presentation methods bordering on hypnosis, and the desire to belong to a certain circle. But, again, what circle would one want to enter by ordering a pair of customized trainers for a horse? If it is true that the game played by clever (and manipulative) marketing techniques has by now totally ensnared the public - does the fact that we continue to buy identical smartphones that differ only by the addition of a final zero to the price tell you something? - It is also true that this game is perhaps leading fashion away a little too much from the concept of utility, which, even if only hinted at, should still be present. The opposite concept, futility, is increasingly taking over, without anyone realizing it. It is important to insist on this: we are not talking about utility in the absolute sense, but at least that touch that is enough to bring the purchase within the sphere of rationality, or decency.

There are surely countless examples of Pet Fashion: Gucci has recently launched the Gucci Pet collection that aligns perfectly with the mood between vintage and bizarre that now characterizes the brand led by Alessandro Michele. Among the pieces in the collection, in addition to collars, harnesses, and leashes (all branded with GG Supreme fabric) that one would rather expect in a release of this type, there is also a cot in the "Radura" pattern, available in just fourteen weeks, reminiscent of a sofa with a Chester pattern - also available in a version studded with three-dimensional Gs - and a bowl with a regal bowl cover that recalls a cloche with fruit as a handle. With a decidedly more ironic tone that (perhaps) makes this exploration of the useless more in line with the humorous tones of the brand that created it, Moschino's Pet collection, launched a few months ago, is instead an example of "aesthetic transfer" in which a series of puppies have the opportunity to become faithful replicas of their master's thanks to bomber jackets, hoodies and biker jackets as true healthy bearers of maxi logos, albeit on all fours. The dose of irony that Jeremy Scott's line suggests is perhaps the right key to approach this wunderkammer of the superfluous because it helps to remember that, although fashion is always lived, at least internally, with the same attitude as one who has the responsibility of saving the world, after all, it is better to lie down on your brocaded sofa, to match the dog's, and not take yourself so seriously.

One of the most fascinating aspects of fashion is undoubtedly the creative freedom that allows everything that modern technology has come to permit. This creativity has certainly always been appreciated when it is supported by a message and a narrative that are the result of social analysis, thus making the possible futility of a garment or accessory irrelevant in itself because it serves a purpose. Absolute futility, which might have been regarded as a limit beyond which it might have been better not to go, is however no longer regarded as such. But here we are forgetting one of the main motivations that drive so many brands to make their choices, especially for the resulting earned media, which is the limitless power of memes. The advent of the internet and especially social media has generated this phenomenon that could now be classified as a social reaction to any kind of event and news. The meme version of a photo or video, whether it be of a fashion show or a TV appearance doesn't matter, it accompanies everyone's lives whether we want it to or not. All this has enormous communicative power, and Pet Fashion, with its proposals close to the theatre of the absurd, certainly qualifies - like everything else - to be part of this tourbillon of references between the trashy, the comic, and the grotesque.  

At the end of this report, I would like to make one last thought: perhaps thinking about how fashion is careful to create something that does not lose its connection with utility has far excessively romantic connotations, because, in this case, what characterizes Pet Fashion more appropriately are the big profits. As of 2020, the sector has generated revenues of over eight billion euros and experts estimate that these figures could exceed fourteen billion in 2028. Another fact that confirms this growing trend is social media: on Instagram alone, for example, the hashtag 'dog fashion has over two million posts. Come to think of it, then, we should perhaps put aside any kind of romanticism and start investing in a brand of coats and accessories for dogs - not such an odd choice, after all, is it?