Giselle Bundchen, supermodel and breastfeeding dictator, has come up with another way to limit women's choices. She has launched an app with C&A, absent from our shores since 2001, to prevent that most awkward of situations; turning up somewhere wearing the same as someone else. It's called "Look Block" and it works by preventing your Facebook friends from buying the same as you from C&A's online store. This allegedly brings "a sense of uniqueness to the fast-fashion experience" according to the blurb. It also stops those evil copycat friends from going out and buying the same item you fought so hard to find.
When I have been faced with the possibly awkward situation of wearing the same get up as someone else, it can normally be brushed off with a simple "Clearly we both have good taste!" comment and made into a bonding experience as opposed to a polarising effect, with both fearing you will feature on "B*tch Stole My Look" on Joan River's Fashion Police. I can see why turning up on the red carpet in the same frock as someone else is a tad irritating (sack the stylist!) but those legitimately on the red carpet will not, I suspect, be donning anything from C&A.
I think the aspect that bothers me the most about this app is this idea that your friends should not be allowed to buy what you have and vice versa. I don't know about you but much of my style inspiration emanates from my friends. It's a sign of flattery to imitate, and I know I'm not the first person to say something like that. If I see anything I like, be it in a magazine, on TV or on my friend, I would like to have the opportunity to buy it myself. Surely a phone call/text/email/tweet/status update should eliminate any chance of you turning up in the same clobber, if you are that concerned.
Teenage girls, possibly those more likely to shop at C&A, often like wearing the same. It gives them a sense of belonging and can even be quite tribal. There's a safety and a comfort in wearing the same as your peers. At least that was what it was like when I was that age. We all had those flat pointy pumps from Faith, tube skirts that we made ourselves, large paisley shirts from Dorothy Perkins, button earrings, perms and Sun-In fringes. I can't remember ever getting upset if someone copied me as I would have, more than likely, copied someone myself.
I would say rather than "Look Block" a more useful app would be "Recommend a Friend Fashion". You choose those people whose style you admire and reveal what you have just bought to them. If they subsequently buy it, then you get a discount off your next purchase, a scheme that may already be in place for some retailers. Why blocking someone from buying something is seen as good business sense by C&A, I don't know. Imagine if Ugg, Hollister, Crocs or Levis had adopted this approach. Their sales would have surely plummeted. I'm all for individuality but the fashion industry's lifeblood is trends and trends don't just catch on automatically. They have to be tried and tested and who better to look to than a trusted friend.
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