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I remember the day when I started making enough money that I could replace my old, taped-up work shoes. The thick, black shoes had split in multiple places, held together with duct tape on the inside so I wouldn’t look unprofessional at my $2.25-an-hour server job. The thunk of the shoes in the garbage bin sounded like closing the door on that painful, exhausting period of my life. The shoes were not memorabilia I wanted to hold onto.
Poverty is not fun, but to some, it apparently is fashionable. Worn clothing is hardly new to fashion—distressed jeans have been popular for decades—but some high fashion brands, like Golden Goose, take it to a new level.
Say hello to Golden Goose’s Superstar Taped Sneaker, a pair of $500-plus sneakers that are made to look so worn, they are barely held together with tape. This has obviously caused a backlash from those who recognize this making a mockery of poverty.
The shoes have since been removed from the brand’s site (the original viral tweet about the sneakers has also been deleted). The Daily Dot reached out to Golden Goose about the controversy but hasn’t heard back as of this posting. The shoes are, however, still available for $530 on Nordstrom’s site.
we’ve already got a problem if any clothing description says “crumply, hold-it-all tape details a sneaker” but it’s even bigger when that sneaker costs $530!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!111!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/yngTTyVVQ2— joon (@joonlee) September 19, 2018
The description for the sad, beige shoes sounds more like a piece of memorabilia than a thing you pay to put on your actual body: “Crumply, hold-it-all-together tape details a distressed leather sneaker in a retro low profile with a signature sidewall star and a grungy rubber cupsole.”
Twitter users criticized Golden Goose for imitating poverty at such a high cost. Some saw it as yet another way the rich glorify hardship they will never experience.
there are people in the world wearing plastic bags as shoes because they can’t afford any but these HIDEOUS things are selling for $500 the fashion industry is truly so fucking stupid it pisses me off like what the actual hell ??????! https://t.co/8kOB37zyMJ— Christine Sydelko (@csydelko) September 19, 2018
Distressed fashion has its roots in halcyon days of punk when punks would purposefully destroy their clothes and other products of capitalism. For many, buying pre-destroyed clothes is just comically lazy.
when u wanna be edgy w worn down sneakers but don’t have the patience to wear them out https://t.co/6rVcjenCbb— Vivian Sanchez (@vivvsanchez) September 19, 2018
I will never, in my entire life, understand the "distressed" trend/style. I could go to Target, buy a pair of Keds/Keds knock-offs, and wreck them like this for less than a quarter of the price of those things. Why does anyone waste their money like this?— Kaija 📖 (@mother_fickle) September 19, 2018
Golden Goose may be hiding away their taped sneakers, but many fashionably dirty shoes remain, leaving the poorer among us to dream of a day when a rich dude hands us $500 for our “retro,” “grungy” sneakers.
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.