Being extremely young and naive has its perks. Your idealism and affinity for the dream in its purest sense gets you off more than money does out of the gate. To us, fashion was like music because it set you free in some kind of transitory, here-and-now expression of yourself that lives and dies for that one day only. It was the most accessible way to feel new, and getting dressed every day is essentially the progression and evolution of one’s swag. We didn’t (and still don’t) give a fuck about labels. We shopped at Goodwill when we were broke, and we rigged up literal scraps of fabric and wore the weirdest (albeit inspired) shit. And then we discovered the spat: a shoe cover from the early 20th century, basically a shoe accessory that transforms your shoe into a boot. We couldn’t afford fancy, expensive shoes, but we liked spats because they were a great way to accessorize our feet and make our look chic, in a different way. At the time everyone and her mom had a jewelry line or a T-shirt line and we weren’t interested in that. If we were gonna contribute something to the fashion world, it was gonna be new and weird. It was gonna inspire someone’s personal style, an investment for someone like us, who might not be able to drop a G on shoes, but also wanted people to know that her style was smarter than that.
We took the classic idea of the spat and expanded upon it: Made it Italian leather embossed with crocodile print, put a bendable wire structure in the seams so you could shape it to your leg, took it up under the knee and even over the knee in patent leather. It was aggressive and unapologetic.
Riri wore them when she performed at the Grammys; Gaga was spotted in them; and Victoria and David Beckham ordered matching pairs for themselves from us—hot. Victoria even wrote us a thank-you note on their monogrammed stationery (couldn’t help but imagine them fornicating in their spats; not sorry).
Thinking back to the days before social media was bigger than God, doing something different was the only way to really get noticed. Has genuine creativity been superseded by the power of the “like”? Does something gain popularity because it’s good or because a celebrity with 2 million Instagram followers has an endorsement deal? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We will never talk shit on hard work or playing the game, but the rules have certainly changed. Has our highly visual culture, now accessible in the palm of your hand, made us numb to things that would have once shocked us or sparked our imagination? Or is there just so much to look at in a landscape where everyone has been forced to make themselves a brand so they don’t get lost in the shuffle? The real question here might be: Does the allure of popularity get us off more than something that truly inspires us?
Photos: The Selby; Getty Images