New sneakers are a luxury not frequently afforded to many people living below the poverty line. As a result, taping, stitching, and wearing old, holey shoes is an unfortunate norm, not a fashion statement, for those struggling to make ends meet and afford basic life necessities. While poverty is an epidemic that many try to escape, it also appears to be a source of inspiration for some fashion designers selling high-end derelict-looking items.
Social media users blasted Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, an Italian high fashion sneaker brand, for its new $530 “Superstar Taped” sneakers, which are covered with duct tape across the toe and heel. Nordstrom’s website describes the “distressed leather sneaker” as having “crumply, hold-it-all-together tape” and a “grungy rubber cupsole.” Twitter users, however, said the scuffed, battered-looking shoes are offensive and make a mockery of the poor.
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, one person wrote in a profanity-laced tweet that’s been liked more than 49,000 times.
Others tweeted that the shoes are distasteful and represent the epitome of capitalism.
okay maybe i’m being dramatic but i remember seeing kids getting harassed and made fun of endlessly in school for having shoes that looked like this. this is extremely distasteful. https://t.co/h3RAKmiY5d
— brooke (@broookedanielle) September 19, 2018
i think peak capitalism is selling shoes characteristic of those who can’t afford new ones for $530 https://t.co/CJuKEQSpgO
— JACB (@jacbmoore) September 19, 2018
One user said paying hundreds of dollars for worn-looking shoes is a waste of money.
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
Another user said that the sneaker, which is part of Golden Goose’s new fall ’18 collection, is glorifying poverty.
— Sandra K Eckersley (@SandraEckersley) September 20, 2018
On the other hand, some defended Golden Goose, noting that the Venice-based brand is known for selling vintage clothing since its launch in 2000. “Why are people acting like Golden Goose making beat-up sneakers is new? They’ve BEEN around. People in Italy actually enjoy that distressed look in everything,” wrote a private Twitter account user, according to The Independent.
Profiting Off The Poor
This is not the first time that Golden Goose has come under fire for its shabby-looking merchandise—nor is it the only luxury designer selling products like this. Back in 2016, the brand was blasted for a similar style shoe that included ripped laces and silver duct tape. In response to critics, Golden released a statement, calling itself a pioneer in pre-distressed footwear and clothing.
“[Our] company is proud to highlight its pioneering role in the booming of the distressed look, one of the current biggest trends in fashion,” the Venetian label said in a statement to Us magazine. “The duct-tape reinforcements appearing on the [Superstar sneaker] style pay homage to the West Coast’s skater culture — professional skaters, who have inspired the brand’s shoe collections from the beginning, repair their shoes with the same kind of tape,” reads the statement, reports FootwearNews.com.
Maison Margiela, a French luxury fashion house, also currently has scruffy-styled sneakers on the market. The brands leather “Fusion Sneakers” are decorated with glue, duct tape, and stitches. They’re being sold for over $1,600.
Likewise, hip-hop star and fashion designer Kanye West caught a lot of flak with the release of Yeezy fashion collection, which featured dilapidated merch that he, himself, described as “ripped homeless sweaters.” It was priced at over $2,000.
— VISCA BARCA (@BaggioM10) February 18, 2016
Meanwhile, a Canadian restaurant owner was slammed last summer for opening a bar in Brooklyn, New York, that featured a wall decorated with bullet holes. Critics accused the owner of glamorizing the violence and poverty that existed in the Crown Heights neighborhood back when it was largely populated by working-class people of color, before being gentrified.