13 March 2010

Keeping It Fresh

Simple, clean and fresh.
Fall/Winter 2010

I actually had my first experience of Velour through the online retailers ASOS. The clothing looks rather basic (and even boring?) when viewed in strict isolation. To be honest I always find photographs of trousers rather misleading on retail websites. The model is invariably standing with their legs unusually apart, as if they have a balloon held between their thighs in order to give a true representation of the full leg of the garment. It can often be rather awkward and a touch confusing. Similar to labels such as Acne or APC, it is something which lends itself well to being viewed within an entire outfit.

I have always had issue with the representation of clothing in online stores, and indeed it is quite the concern. Retail display is an art form of its own (check out Haute World if it interests you as it does me) and I suppose once removed from the actual real world experience there are questions of how to carry that forward. Although internet shopping is now mainstream, I feel that issues of representation are still as problematic as ever and have yet to be fully worked out. Can clothing ever truly be represented in its actual absence? It does after all need a human body with which to communicate and act on.

How does one choose to present clothing for sale online? The options are just as numerous as in the real retail environment, although with the additional option of a live model (albeit still a photographic representation regardless of the option). Whether you are a fan of seeing the garments in flat profile with additional detail shots, seeing it with other garments, seeing it on a model, or seeing it with a ghost model, it is the aim of the retailer to provide an accurate and enticing view. Of course they can fall short...sometimes rather painfully (check out this thread on oki-ni's infamously bemusing choice of model/creative director Daniel).

This is perhaps where the lookbook comes in. Indeed I have often found myself excited by clothing far more within the context of a lookbook or editorial than when viewed on a retail website, or even on the hanger in person. Clothing is after all meant to be worn, and it is only when you try something on and see how it interacts with your body that you find out how well it works for you. Jeans are the most obvious example and actually where I find the most problematic representation issue online to be.

How do you feel about product photographs when shopping online?
Ever been misled or put off?


  1. oh..I do like the coat. Definitely looks crisp which I don't see that much of. Usually, if my guy is gonna find anything introduced new to him..won't be online..just at Target, close by the electronics. If he sees it there..you'll see him wearing it. His favorite spring thing..the thin black pull over hoodie that will go with everything.

  2. Definitely, the fabric and practical part of fashion is a big deal. But usually, I get my stuff thrifting..so I'm probably out of the loop on getting anything fashionable.

  3. I know what you mean, and it's really put me off internet shopping.
    It's so hard to judge the fit from just a few pictures of a 6ft model wearing something(and let's face it, how often do shops seem unable to work out measurements anyway?)
    The wort thing I think is when the pictures are simply of the item on a white mannequin (yes Topshop, I'm looking at you), because there's no way to judge what it would look like on a real person! You can't tell how sheer the material is either when it's on a white background, so you end up buying something that you think is opaque, getting it home, then trying it on and then realising that you probably shouldn't wear it in public.
    Wow, that was a long comment!

  4. I ordered some stuff online from Forever 21 (jade nail polish, a simple black dress, and a peach-colored feather hair clip). I got the package yesterday and what I thought was a cute little feather was a ginormous one (let's say 15-20 cm). Now, it's still adorable and I still plan on wearing it. And I guess it's my fault for not checking the dimensions on the product description. However, it would be nice if they showed at least one photograph of a model wearing hair accesories. I've been experimenting with ways to wear it, and while I quite like some of them, I would like some guidance as to styling options, especially with such a... loud... hair clip.

  5. every time i see plaid, striped sweaters, and solid color cardigans in current menswear i smile :)