16 July 2010

On A Budget

As much as I would love to wear Ann Demeulemeester, Number (N)ine and Rick Owens on a daily basis (to name a few), I am alas but a struggling student. Realistically speaking mine is an appreciation of high fashion from a distance, although I do frequently window shop and try on clothing more expensive than I could possibly afford, but then you need those little moments of escapism. Designer pieces are the rarest of luxuries rather than the norm.

Rick Owens
Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Light Twill TrouserMaison Martin Margiela
Replica German Army Sneaker

Your average glossy magazine will usually picture celebrities in couture dresses and then rather lamely suggest how you could emulate their look from the high street (more often than not entirely missing the style of the original dress). Yet rather than trying to emulate a celebrity (there are actually few celebrity men whose style I look up to anyhow), or emulating an entire look from the catwalk, I tend to look for specific pieces that captured my attention in collections. The skill is hunting down a piece that fits both the inspiration and your own style and body.

COS/Asos/Uniqlo/UO Renewal

Produced in the late 1970s the Bundeswehr Sportschuhe, otherwise known as the German Army Trainer, was a combination of brute functionality and elegant minimalist design. Featuring a leather upper, with suede toe box and gum soles, these distinctive sneakers served as uniform for the enlisted during physical training. Its life span ran from the later 1970s to the late 1980s, essentially serving the last decade of a divided Germany. Even as a piece of design history they are a remarkable design to behold.

Uniform is used to create a sense of unity, with the individual only really standing out in the absence of the correct uniform. It is therefore curious to think that such a functional and mass produced design has served as inspiration for a number of high end designers. Mass manufacture turns into high end exclusivity through the use of high end materials and manufacturing methods. Hedi Slimane famously used the German Army Trainer as the model for the sneakers he designed at Dior Homme.

However the most notable use of the German Army Trainer would have to be under the Replica division of Maison Martin Margiela. Released every season with both hi top and low cut versions, the sneaker has become iconic of Margiela, undergoing a variety of coloured and textured offerings. Indeed the use of the design by Margiela stands at the level that observers are more likely to comment that one wearing an original German Army Trainer is wearing Margiela. As such it is curious to think that the price difference between the two is so incredibly vast.

The Margiela version is high end luxury, the original is mass produced functionality. They stand apart not only in terms of construction, but also ideals, and yet to wear either provides a similar aesthetic. Maybe removed from context they are so not different after all.


  1. that's a really nice outfit, i think i have the trousers too. been wearing them a lot lately. the trainers too look super, reminds me of 70s footballers off duty. a great little find at a snip of the price. i say pahh to £300!

  2. ever since you posted that thing about the mcqueen cape/coat pictures, that oki-ni model makes me laugh!!

  3. awesome. so love the shoes too.

  4. Oh those trainers are so clean! I can so tell you're an art history student with all the postcards around your mirror! I do exactly the same haha!

    Also thanks for that comment, writing my dissertation has definitely puts blogging in a different perspective!

  5. That was quite amazing what you did there. It was truly inspiring to see how a real budget would translate to a high street look.


  6. You look absolutely wonderful darling - the long sleeved shirt looks absolutely wonderful on you - that color is brilliant!
    Ugh, being a student is awful for a fashion budget, but I think it teaches that you can still look absolutely brilliant, and save a TON of money! You seem to pull off chic and fashionable on a budget, so well done, darling!

  7. Awesome tee and kicks, DK!

    Have a fab weekend!


  8. I very much like this outfit! There's something in the simplicity that really makes it stand out.

  9. A lot of fashion lovers can probably relate to your conundrum of loving beautiful things and not being able to afford them (myself included). I really like these sneakers, and knowing the history behind them makes them even more interesting.

    Have a great weekend. :-)

  10. I agree with you, we should focus on a piece and then try to make it work for us. That's what you did...
    Love the shoes.

    Hope you'll have a nice weekend


  11. that's a lovely look!
    love it!


  12. You look better than the model.

  13. that's a good way to translate an inspiration. i like the simplicity of the outfit. good job.


  14. yup that sums it up for me too, not being able to afford some nice stuff. But you got to work with what you got and you sir do it well.

  15. You look great. I really like what you are wearing. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Thanks for your comment on my George Lazenby/OHMSS post. I appreciate your thoughts.

  16. Cool kicks! I like the neutral tones and so funny that everyone think it's couture when it's not!

  17. love the shoes! you always look so stylish, yet comfortable. love the idea of trying on the clothes.