"Limited Edition" Mania: From One-Off Chocolate Nike "Vandal" Sneakers to "Mass-Customized" Saleen Cars, $500 Cocktails & 3-Figure Pizzas, & $2150/ounce Perfume - Is the Customization Trend Played Out? FASHIONTRIBES POP CULTURE BLOG & PODCAST - MP3 File
HUH? A LIMITED EDITION, NOT-FOR-SALE PAIR OF NIKES MADE FROM CHOCOLATE? OH YES. Ever since forecasters like FaithPopcorn brought the trend to our attention with catchy soundbite-labels like EGOnomics - the CUSTOMIZATION trend has continued unabated. This trend is primarily driven by a widespread feeling that society has become so depersonalized, we are all longing to stand apart from the masses, according to a piece in the Arizona Reporter AZReporter.com. Although the trend itself is old news, what is new is the most recent form it's taken: widespread mania for anything "Limited Edition."
Limited Edition is everywhere, from clothes, to food, to cars, home decor, gadgets, sneakers - and shows no sign of abating. MTV Style recently featured the a pair of Nike Vandals at Colette in Paris that were designed by "sneaker enthusiast/journalist/personality" Al Cabino (Cabino@gmail.com). Crafted from chocolate in Switzerland, they are so exclusive, only a single pair was made. The kicker? They're not even for sale! "There is the whole Limited Edition that's EVERYWHERE right now from cars (I believe were the original limited edition products) to sneakers to absolutely everything (every imaginable consumer product, t-shirts, watches, etc.)," comments pop culture & sneaker enthusiast Alain H. about the Al Cabino & the Chocolate Factory kicks. "The Limited Edition element is pushed to the extreme here because there is only ONE sneaker chocolate made, a bit how they do it in Italy when they make Ferraris, they make very very few of them. The chocolate is rarer than a Ferrari :)."
LIMITED EDITION THAT'S STILL PART OF THE MASSES - BUT IN A NOTICEABLE WAY Interestingly, the Limited Edition Trend is not really about those ultra-exclusive luxuries available only to celebs and the super-wealthy. "Massclusivity is NOT about exclusively opening up Harrods or Macy's late Sunday night for a Hollywood super-celeb looking for a last-minute party dress, but rather about setting up special in-store coffee lounges or luxurious fitting rooms for members only," explains Trendwatching.com. The fact is, most of us will never be part of the Page Six set, able to get stores opened in off-hours, have free designer gowns showered upon us on Oscar night, or even score a coveted appointment to design custom sneakers at the Nike iD space in New York. However, we will be able to watch movies on the same model DVD that Madonna or Prince William uses, pony up for a ticket on Singapore Airline first- and business-class only flights, or even possibly score one of the rare Puma & Karmaloop "Freedom Trail" sneaks. The Limited Edition trend is partly about tweaking widely available goods & services to create an air of what Trendwatching calls "exclusivity and status of a different order."
AND NOT JUST ANY MASSES, MIND YOU, WE'RE TALKING THE "TREND-SAVVY" MASSES HERE These days, our world is awash in consumer goods which were, until relatively recently, quite unaffordable. Today, the market for almost all goods is saturated with options, colors, models, bell & whistles & price points. "Customization is a direct reaction to the saturation of the market," confirms an Armani Atelier spokesman to Pierce Mattie - PierceMattie.com.
But customizing still isn't enough. Why? Because of the speed of information: designer looks are knocked off almost immediately and sold at a mass-market price point, making them available to everyone - and removing the exclusivity that made them desirable in the first place. "If you upgraded your jeans form Levis to Rogan, and your sneakers from Nike to Bathing Ape to set your style apart," it won't be long...in today's instant-info world before the rest of us are wearing Rogans and Bathing Apes (or very good rip-offs of them)," explains Mattie. So rather than wanting to stand out from "the masses" in general, it's actually the "latest trend-following masses" that we want to stand out from, explains Mattie. (Apparently even "the masses" are subject to a foodchain.) And yes, standing out from the "trend-following" masses has of course received its own nifty soundbite label, courtesy of PSFK: IDividualism
IDividualism is a result of a combination of two things:
- how saturated the market is with options - which leads people to want to customize things
- the speed at which high end items like designer goods can be copied, mass produced & sold for low prices - which means that the only way to really stand out is with a limited edition.
To really be considered unique, you should wear, own or do something that is a limited edition. However, make sure it bears easily recognizable markings of being "limited edition" - so that the members of the trend-following masses that you're trying to impress can recognize the signs...and appreciate your style savvy.
SOME FUN EXAMPLES OF IDividualism:
- PAIR-O-DEEZ MEMORY CARDS OF LIMITED EDITION SNEAKERS CoolHunting's Josh Rubin amassed so many pairs of limited sneakers, he decided to share them with the masses by immortalizing them in a memory card game - you make a match to get pix & details. The Pair-o-deez features 28 of his fave pairs of kicks...which begs the question: how the hell many does he own?! Coolhunting.com
- $2,150/OZ PERFUME Crafted from exotic ingredients & accented with a brilliant-cut diamond, Crown Perfumer Clive Christian's No.1 Pure Perfume may set you back a few bucks, but at least you'll have the comfort of knowing it 's the most expensive perfume in the world. NeimanMarcus.com
- CHANEL VANS STYLE SNEAKERS How about a pair of canvas slip-on sneakers - yes, canvas - that retailed for a cool $500?
- CUSTOM WALL MURALS FOR YOUR CRIB From forest themes, to horses, to orange trees to whatever you can dream up, Decoradar.com lets you spice up your pad with a custom-designed wall treatment. "When you go and see a friend's new apartment, you may find that they no longer decorated it themselves," remarks Pierce Mattie, "they DESIGNED and BUILT it themselves."
- SALEEN'S "MASS-CUSTOMIZED" CARS Using mass-production techniques, limited edition, high end manufacturer Saleen - Saleen.com - was able to offer its 2004 Mustang in a three models, each of which was available as a coupe, a covertible, or a speedster. From Tuninglinx.com
- THE $475 COCKTAIL The ultimate in tasty beverage one-upsmanship, the Hotel Ritz in Paris offers up the world's most expensive cocktail, the Ritz Sidecar. Your 400 Euros will buy you a blend of lemon juice, Cointreau & 150 year old cognac, and according to W Magazine, Kate Moss was spotted drinking one during the couture shows. In New York, Trump fave The World Bar offers its $50 World Cocktail, topped with liquefied 23 carat gold. (Photo from W Magazine, 9/05)
- 100 GBP PIZZA The Independent - Independent.co.uk - reports that chef Gordon Ramsay's 100 GBP pizza, topped with shavings from a precious Umbrian white truffle that retails for 1,400 GBP - is for sale at his restaurant Maze, and has apparently caused quite the a stir. And don't forget about the $99 Burger Royale at New York's DB Bistro Moderne, and the 108 GBP Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup from London's Kai."What is striking about these extraordinary prices is that the dishes themselves are earthy - pizza, burger, soup. It's everyday, run-of-the-mill food, and under normal circumstances, everyone should be able to afford it. So how chic, how metropolitan, to offer such proletarian fare at a price which only the rich can afford."
- Lesley Scott
Fashiontribes Pop Culture Trends Customization Trend Limited Edition Trend Chocolate Nike Vandals Al Cabino Al Cabino & the Chocolate Factory Fashion Colette, Paris Sneaker Journalist Trendwatching.com PSFK Pierce Mattie Josh Rubin Coolhunting Pair-o-Deez Memory Cards Clive Christian Perfume Fashion Expert Decoradar Custom Wall Murals Chanel Vans Sneakers Ritz Sidecar The World Cocktail World's Most Expensive Cocktail Gordon Ramsay Pizza Kai London Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup DB Bistro Moderne Burger Royale Faith Popcorn