Be Fine, and not Fast: On Fashion & Food

There will be a lot of F-words in this post.

Fashion and Food – Oh my two loves, and I know if it didn’t tickle your fancy it wouldn’t have caught your attention too. They are so different but really the same – frenemies so to speak. Just as food can now be fashionably fancy, fashion is also ferociously delicious. Quintessentially the finest necessities in life, both are highly persuasive and driven by sensory motives – sight, smell, touch and/or taste. Both are basic human needs, driven to sin (what happened to Eve, the leaf and the apple again?) as you need clothing to keep you warm and food to keep you fueled for the day. But how has the industry grown so large, from fine to fast, fast back to fine – both of which we are often willing to spend large sums of money on?

Experience delivery is key. Both construct a lifestyle that extends beyond basic needs towards conspicuous luxe consumption. It thus becomes easy to get mixed up with what you need and what you want. Since both tangible items started out as basic needs for survival, we tend to be easily talked into whatever ‘add-on’ we can purchase on top of that that creates a more secure and comfortable lifestyle. From the point of comfort, it’s easy to feel discontent and want something more – whether the motive is status or pleasure. It is then sexified: Why does Paris Hilton have to eat a burger in order to wash a car? And Madonna/Gaga? ‘nough said. On top of that, the haute factor of the industry is enhanced by F&F’s association and cross-platform collaborations with art and architecture; the retail and dining space with coated with interior decadence is the real luxury treatment that denotes appreciation of the arts and ‘good taste’ – what you’re really paying the pricey premium for.

As noted by Seth Godin, “Scarcity creates value. By limiting choice, you can create value”. Exclusivity is oven underrated, but the ‘fine’ end of the F&F (Fashion and Food) industry (most ironically consumed most decadently by the F nation – the French) have worked this incredibly well – creating VIP invites, exclusive previews, waiting lists, hard-booking or even no booking policies – they have eliminated many but in the process invited the curiosity of more, creating the drive and demand for both industries. Think of that $11,000+ Birkin/Kelly, that monogram clutch, that slice of foie gras, caviar, truffle oil, even the fusioned banh mi or the glorified pork belly, not to say the months or even years of waiting to get into the $250-500 degustation at Noma, El Bulli, Per Se, Tetsuya’s (has the premium become more so about the chef than the food?) – all of which, are somehow transformed from objects to aspirational models.

Frankly my dears, F&Fs are no longer things – they’re the whole mode of life.

To consume fashion and/or food in its space – I am not talking about web-buys or takeaways in this context – means something that goes beyond its deliciousness or visual value, the ooh-ahhs and the mmm-yums. You feel as if you’ve travelled somewhere beyond time and space, via the differentiated experience and service offered. Democratic luxury then creates issues beyond mass indulgence – it is possible that you end up rejecting your social and economic standing, wearing more than you can afford.

And really, Sex and the City hasn’t helped one bit, has it? Fine food and fashion otherwise known as cuisine and couture feeds to the fickleness of our generation, and Carrie Bradshaw and Carson Kressley (click here to see him interfere fashion with food) from the Fab Five has really nudged a global tribe beyond American reality shows to over-saturate every street corner with a exclamation of  “ooohhh…fabulous!”

Okay and I admit it – I am a walking contradiction as I am a complete sucker for both, and this post had not started out how it was going to end (I really was just going to draw a parallel on the two things). It was in no way meant to be a criticism although it really has skewed that way somehow, and I’m too lazy to go back and edit it because I wrote an awful lot. There is often a pro to every con in each situation however, and in this case both fashion and food have – like Duchamp‘s urinal installation and Picasso‘s collage of viola and newsprints – created expressive means of art and communication via every day needs and objects. After all, what do the most of us do when hanging out with friends, if not spending large chunks of our time shopping and eating? F&F is a mode of conversation andintersecting objects that create a dialogue – between people, between cities.

I am going to stop because this could go on forever, so here’s a final point, which I am going to leave open for discussion:

Is the fine (and not fast) F&F, or more appropriately the C&C (Couture and Cuisine) industry today, still maintained as new narrative forms of art? Is being fine and haute really worth the value over being fast and mass? What is the role of democratic luxury in this, if it means we can now all afford a slice of it (think your Chanel lipstick, Armani Parfum)? Can we shift away from status-driven culture towards simple self-fulfillment and pleasure, if we haven’t started to do so already?

Think about it.

Images Sources: Eat Me Daily, Pravda, Luxury-Insider, Scout-Holiday, FoodFashionistaAdsoftheWorld and FashionIndie

5 Responses to “Be Fine, and not Fast: On Fashion & Food”
  1. Ray says:

    Gia, freakin’ love your blog. Mouthwatering pics, food, fashion; you write what I think. Frick, blogging takes a lot of time. Keep it up. ❤

  2. Soph says:

    This is great sis! i bet you’re really loving the big apple. miss you xox.

  3. Candice says:

    Food + Fashion = my life! At least the life I’ve been trying to live! LOVE IT!

  4. jocelyn says:

    Hi there!

    Just letting you know that I read your blog while researching about fashion and food and would like to say that you have completely inspired me to create my project based on your thoughts and ideas! I do graphic design and photography and hopefully my project will reflect upon the idea of going back to basics in terms of both food and fashion.

    I would love to get anymore of your thoughts! Feel free to email me 🙂

    From Jocelyn

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  1. […] a message to you hunger-striken fashionistas to eat your breakfast? The dichotomy served between Food + Fashion continues to serve as a subject of intrigue it seems. So cheers – here’s for a healthy […]

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