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Thursday , March 26, 2009
"HONEST"-Y IS THE BEST POLICY: A Laura Jane Fashion Challenge
If you are not from Toronto, you have never heard of Ed Mirvish, which is unbelievable to me. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to live an Ed Mirvish-free life, and I can only assume the same is true for every native Torontonian. For us, imagining a life without Ed Mirvish is like imagining a life without Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, Dr. Dre, or Jack Nicholson (to name merely a few).
Edwin "Honest Ed" Mirvish is a Toronto-based impresario who (before kicking the bucket a few years back) owned, like, fifty billion theaters, a hundred trillion restaurants, and, most importantly, Honest Ed's, a simultaneously flashy and crappy expanse selling majorly-discounted goods ranging from food to furniture to clothing to VHS tapes (no DVDs yet!) to $30 ceramic Elvis busts. It is as big as an entire city block, and is one of the coolest/creepiest places in the world (I'm sure the H.E cool/creepy dichotomy is perfectly illustrated by the photomontage pictured at left).
Nearly a year has passed since I participated in my first-ever Laura Jane Fashion Challenge, wherein I forced myself to make ugly crap from Wal-Mart look cool. The crux of "HONEST"-Y IS THE BEST POLICY is for all intents and purposes identical to my Wal-Mart challenge, only Honest Ed's is way weirder, and so the challenge was way harder. As much as Wal-Mart clearly blows, anyone taking stock of their clothing dept. can intuit that legions of ad execs have been paid trillions-upon-trillions of bones to make their cheapo child-laborific product mix seem sort of appealing to people who might be sort of cool (they hope).
Honest Ed's pays nobody no bones to make their haphazard assortment of "purchased at bankruptcy prices"-quality sportswear appealing to nobody. Honest Ed's' merchandising strategy is: dump shit willy-nilly on broken tables inside a decrepit block-wide warehouse space with no rhyme or reason; the rest, my friends, is up to you. I had a blast scavenging at Honest Ed's because it's more akin to thrifting than anything else. Shopping at Honest Ed's is experiential in a way that a store actively striving to be experiential could never hit: it is unpleasant, disorienting, discordant, messy, and entirely unique. You can't cultivate that kind of atmosphere- not that any other store would want to, but still- I'm just trying to make the point that an identity formed organically/accidentally is necessarily stronger than one created, no matter how esteemed your Madison Avenue advertising firm may be.
Being at Honest Ed's makes you feel like you don't exist. It is like a cross between Ikea and a dog pound. Seen below is a composite image of my findings; let's just call this shit Swedish Meatball Humane Society Bargain Bin Mirvishian Chic- no other appellation could sum it up so damn straight. "Honest"-ly.
LOOK #1 (above, at left): HOLY GHOST LANGUAGE STUDENT, INSTALLMENT THREE HUNDRED AND TEN-
I am 100% confident that whoever does the "buying" for Honest Ed's has absolutely no idea that Le Tigre is a high-end brand blessed with a fair amount of social cache. Honest Ed's is the most democratic retail outlet in the world; my red Le Tigre polo shirt cost a scant $4.99, the exact same price that Ed's would charge for a polo manufactured by a scuzzy, bottom-of-the-barrel no-name brand. The skirt I've paired it with is actually not a skirt at all (!!!); it's a skort, bitches! I never woulda thunk I (or anybody) could pull off a skort (in my experience, they even make four-year-olds look like losers), but this bad brother is so drapey and frumpelstiltskin that you can barely tell. Or perhaps you can. Either way is fine. There was only one of this skort in the entire store; that's how Honest Ed's rolls. They take what they can get. "Beggars can't be choosers," says Ed Mirvish, possibly. My polo/skort combo is capped, I mean shoed, off with a pair of brown dude's Oxfords (they can be seen in greater detail at the lower righthand corner of the image above), which, at $14.99, were kinda steep by Honest Ed's' standards, but totes magotes worth it. I wore them all day yesterday, and they were mad comfy, since seventy-year-old men like to be comfortable. Nice high arches, super-bouncy.
This is the thirty billionth outfit I've worn on nogoodforme.com that I think should be what school uniforms look like. Actually, this outfit basically is what school uniforms look like, only with a Le Tigre polo instead of a polo advertising the school. A large part of why this outfit looks like a school uniform is because the skort is part of a school uniform. Do you know how I know this? Because it is size "Grade Six," which is how you say "sixth grade" in Canadian.
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