Am I a Celebrity Yet?

I was in front of H&M at Dundas checking out the new line designed by the Queen of pop herself when a CBC reporter asked me if I would be willing to answer a few questions about Madonna's clothing line. The final question she asked was "why do you think there is such an appeal for celeb-endorsed clothing?" It got me thinking.
What is the key difference between the majority of clothing in H&M and the new line that Madonna is fronting? The quality is the same, it's still made in China/Malaysia/ (insert exploited third-world country here). The material is the same, since a drastic switch of cloth would raise the price to a level of unattainability for the average mall shopper. And finally, the style is the same- no arguments here, please. I know her designs may look more "urban" or "clean-cut" or whatever other fashion adjective, but if they weren't branded with her name, a shopper wouldn't be able to tell the difference. So, finally, what makes people go ga-ga for guys and gals from the hollywood set?
When Stella McCartney came out with her line for H&M, I admit I was one of the first people in line. I wanted those silk and wool sweaters! They were cute, affordable, and I knew they were designed by someone I admire. But here's the main difference- whereas Stella McCartney is a designer endorsing this retail giant's line, Madonna is just a celebrity doing the same thing. She simply doesn't have the knowledge, skills, or experience to make a "good" line of clothing. So if we aren't buying for quality when it comes to celeb-endorsed stuff, what are we buying for?
The key issue is more psychological than rational or tangible. It has to do with advertising and our media-driven culture. I don't deny that I have fallen prey to a few agonizing trends simply because Hollywood's flavour of the week was wearing them. Our society's image that celebs are the epitome of beauty, style, and everything else valued by the human race is what makes their lines of goods so attractive. If we wear their clothing and douse on their perfume, we are that much closer to attaining their "perfection". If you are getting the image of millions of moths zipping around a lamp, you aren't too far off. It has been ingrained in our minds that purchasing and collecting more of the latest and greatest goods will make us happier and more attractive. Clothing is something worn everyday and it's the best medium to show people what you've got. That's why those ugly brown Louis Vuitton bags exist- so that chick on the subway can tell the world how much money she has.
In short, by purchasing her clothing, we are purchasing a part of Madonna and the style, popularity- maybe even the botox-injected looks- that come with it. Because, admit it, when your friend asks you where you got that cute bodysuit, you say "Madonna, by H&M", why not add in that star-spangled name? I guess you have to ask yourself whether you're buying something for what it is or for what it's advertised as.

No comments: