I spent part of my childhood circling images on my American Girl catalogs. The red sharpie marked the clothes I wanted my parents to buy for my doll, wishing that I had a reason for my American Girl doll Josefina™ to have a ski suit. I wanted long winter weekends in chalets, drinking hot chocolate between trips skiing down the hills, but my family never spent our winters on the slopes. I manifested the life I wanted through Josefina outfits and her complementary imaginary life.
Over time, I outgrew my American Girl catalogs and have switched to red carpet events. Some people make vision boards, but I scroll through Instagram fashion accounts after award shows and make wish lists, manifesting to one day own those items.
When fashion week, the Met Gala or any other glamorous event rolls around, I'm glued to my phone or computer. While celebrities spend their evenings giving interviews to E! News about who they’re wearing or taking group selfies in the Met bathroom, I spend my evenings waiting for celebrities to drop their outfit pictures. Naturally, I send them to my sister, and we think, “How cute, we need to get it!” Then we look at the price tag and think, “We need to find something similar but cheaper!”
Even under my "broke college student” financial circumstances – I can wear what I see on the runway, thanks to fast fashion. In a few short days or weeks, the fast fashion industry produces drastically cheaper dupe versions of expensive, high fashion items. When Miu Miu released its Spring-Summer 2022 looks, I became obsessed with the color palette and the low-waisted khaki midi skirts. The internet became equally obsessed with the show's take on the micro mini. Dupes cropped up almost immediately after.
Yet, these dupes are not hanging in my closet. I can’t bring myself to buy them because I don’t have a need to. I think the craftsmanship of the original items – which, in my opinion, are works of art (sometimes) – cannot be recreated by a dupe.
Clicking “Buy Now” doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have anywhere special to wear the clothes. Should I wear a micro mini to my 9 a.m. Spanish class? While some people might, that's just not the right choice for me. I want to buy these couture clothes, but how can I when I’m on my couch instead of on the red carpet?
When I see celebrities wearing other-worldly outfits, I get the strongest sense of fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.) combined with the feeling people have when they are getting ready and realize they hate all of their clothes. Until I can have my red-carpet moment in designer clothing, I shall continue scrolling and manifesting my future of being a Pinterest fashion celebrity.
Thumbnail graphic by Iliana Garner / North by Northwestern.