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October 25, 2006

Only in America!

If it starts raining brimstone, this obscenity described by Gregg Easterbrook in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback at ESPN.com is probably why:

Jeans in Poor Condition Cost More Than Jeans in Good Condition -- Only in America! Last February, TMQ marveled at $198 "premium destroyed" jeans from Abercrombie. Imagine, I wrote, trying to explain to someone in Bangladesh who is impoverished partly by lack of fair-trade laws that Americans pay extra to have their pants damaged. Consider now that an Italian company called Martelli Lavorazioni Tessilli had $140 million in revenue in 2005 -- all from smashing up expensive jeans and other fashion wear to make the items look misused. "Careful attention to vintage forms the basis of Martelli's artistic path," the company declares of its work shredding and discoloring jeans, showing a pair of jeans that appear to have been found at the bottom of a collapsed mine shaft. Imagine trying to explain to someone in Bangladesh that destroying perfectly good jeans has proven a boom business for a company.

Free market fetishists no doubt believe that this market, and the desires that make it possible, don't need justifying. They're probably right and that's the real outrage.

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Roberto, irony is, from what I know at least anecdotally, there is "jean hole snobbery" -- that is, pre-fab holes and other destruction in jeans, regardless of price tag, is looked down on, in favor of "naturally occurring" holes and wear-and-tear. Personally, if I'm to spend big bucks on jeans, I'll get Edun's (http://www.edun.ie/). But for now, Target and Lord and Taylor's clearance rack will do.

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