Ed Hardy: Modern-Day Nostradamus

Ed Hardys Black Rose of Death

by Cheri Sundra

Clearly, Ed Hardy was the harbinger of doom.    An adage says that nothing has the power to tell the truth about an age quite like fashion, and still so many Americans missed the walking billboards that were advertising the end of our consumer spending culture as we know it. 

Not that a skull motif on clothing was anything original, but in spring of 2009,  in every venue from mainstream department stores and big box retailers, to knock-off boardwalk vendors, Ed Hardy’s skull inspired influence could not be overlooked.  Didn’t we see anything more sinister lurking beneath the rhinestone studded, tattoo-esque designs beyond the New York Times proclaiming the skull as the smiley face of the 2000’s?  Smiley face?! I think not.  Somehow, American consumers (and “the newspaper of historic record”) failed to recognize these designs for what they really were—American consumer culture memento mori. 

Throughout history, the skull has always been used to communicate “Danger!” and ruin.   Obviously, skull inspired fashions were the result of our own consumer products mocking the youth obsessed culture that led so many Americans to borrow against their homes and their pensions just so they could rent a lifestyle that almost dares them to grow old.    

Now times are tough, even at the top– that is if you believe Paris Hilton’s statement that she was using a BORROWED handbag when cocaine fell out of her purse while being questioned by police.  Even (P) Diddy had to give up his private jet to save on gas.  With people complaining about inflation, high  gas prices and young  hipster boys sporting hair almost as long as Shaun Cassidy’s , it’s beginning to  feel like 70s déjà vu  with a new millennium twist.

Our aging society, health spending and global warming all hinder economic growth.  In the near future, Americans are going to suffer from what some are calling “affluence deprivation”—collectively as a nation we will still be wealthy, but we are going to feel poorer because more individual income will be spent on necessities like energy and health care costs.   The rising cost of necessities is not the only issue siphoning our sluggish income gains,  another factor that is redefining American spending habits is that many American families overspent their way through the beginning of the decade.

According to Experian, total credit card debt has increased by more than 50% since 2000 while personal savings has been zilch for the last several years.  Many consumers have no choice but to be more frugal, but that does not mean that they are going to stop shopping.

Chris Farrell, author of  “The New Frugality : How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better” says that people will stop spending to acquire “stuff” and will start spending money on “fulfillment”.  This means that consumers will want to use their spending power to buy experiences or to enhance their lives or the lives of others.  We will be looking for more environmentally friendly products and patronizing corporations that practice green initiatives.  Green will undoubtedly be the new black!

Fashion is already in the process of defining this new age of consumerism with offerings such as clothing made with organic cotton, recycled or up-cycled materials and renewable, environmentally friendly resources such as bamboo.  While fashionable skulls ushered in the end of one consumer era, the American shopper will still find a way to give consumerism a second chance at life

Cheri Sundra © 2010
All Rights Reserved

Did you think I wouldn’t?!   😉



Is Green the New Black?

Don’t just invest in your wardrobe…invest socially!
by Cheri Sundra

We all know that style is about self-expression, but did you know that ethical fashion is increasingly becoming the way to get your personal chic on?    Great designers are always aware of what is going on around them.  The global warming issue has been a part of our collective consciousness for about a decade.  In terms of fashion trends, this has translated into seasonal collections of floral prints, linens and material manufactured from raffia and bamboo. 
Obviously, global warming is not just a seasonal trend and neither is ethical fashion.  It’s not a secret that sweatshop labor, where workers are often exploited, harassed and underpaid, is behind the majority of the clothing sold in the United States today. Synthetic material may seem miraculous because ironing is never required, but it also will not decompose anytime soon once it reaches the landfill, much like plastic bags or bottles and disposable diapers.  And natural is not always the way to go since pesticides often used to grow cotton are harmful to the eco-structure.

So what are those of us who love clothing and love shopping supposed to do?  We can start directing our spending power to those businesses that produce clothing in an ethical and environmentally friendly fashion.    We can all begin to balance the pleasures associated with shopping and those nasty ethical dilemmas by considering a few questions before making clothing purchase:

What is the item made of?

 If it is cotton, is the cotton organic?

 Why is the item so cheap?

 Is it fair trade?  What were the people making it paid? 

 Has the material been recycled?

 Can the material be recycled?

 None of us can have a completely Green Wardrobe overnight.  “Greening” our purchases is a process that requires consumer and manufacturer education.  But each of us, through awareness, can start taking baby-steps towards that goal.  Are you ready to be eco-fabulous?

Cheri Sundra © 2010
All Rights Reserved