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£115 or £278? Why SSENSE makes no sense

Seems like no time at all. You close Slack and force-quit the ‘to-dos’ from your tumbling mind. The tree goes up, the first lager and lime goes down. Then before you know it, it’s over. It’s January 2nd and there’s a back-to-school tension in your tummy. Is it me or was Christmas on fast-forward this year?

At least it’s sale time. If there’s one thing that can raise your mood it’s an inbox full of discount alerts and the growing feeling of guilt as you impulse-purchase your way to poverty. 28 more sleeps to pay day.

As I write, Goodhood and The Bureau are on 30%. Entry-level discounting if you ask me. I only start making rash decisions when things kick up to 40%.

A recent trip to the first day of the Dover Street sale proved hazardous. They don’t mess about down there; day one is 40% minimum, often 50%. Of course, 50% off something insanely expensive is still expensive, but when you combine premium labels, the coolest retail experience in the UK and my boggle-brained enthusiasm, something has got to give. That something is me as I give over my plastic.

I mean, I’m never in the market for a £420 shirt. But make it £210 and I’m grabbing that thing off the rail, clutching it tightly like someone’s going to tear it away from me and dashing round the store to find my girl for a second opinion.

“Babes, seriously, ohmygod, right?”


“I’ve got to have it, right?… Yeah, yeah? 

The sales turn me into a greedy, panicked grotesque and I fucking love it.

And God help me, when I return home with my new stash, I’m back online looking again at the pieces I didn’t buy.

I’ve got a problem for sure. Although (pro-tip) it’s a problem that’s easily justified with the use of just one word: collection. I’m not buying clothes I don’t need, I’m building a collection. I’m a collector. I have an archive. I’m a collector of clothes. Sounds good right? Much less trivial. Just remind yourself of that next time you’re having second thoughts about that tangerine tank-top.

Still, as much as the sales get me hyped, there are good sales and bad sales. I’m not talking about the 30% that will inevitably rise to 40%. Rather I mean the ridiculous (satirical?) pricing policy of sites like SSENSE and Farfetch. I know the arguments about them being ‘online marketplaces’, aggregators of independent boutiques. And I hear the waffle about currency rates and conversion costs. But seriously, who the hell buys from these stores?

This Comme des Garçons Homme t-shirt is currently on Farfetch for £278, reduced from £397. I bought one yesterday from Mr Porter for £115. The shirt’s original price in every normal store (including Dover Street) was £165. Where do Farfetch get £278 from? Let alone £397?

It’s the same story over at SSENSE. It’s a real shame, they boast an enviable selection of Comme des Garçons (Homme Plus, Homme and Deux) yet their prices are professional idiocy.

This Comme des Garçons Homme fleece is over at End for (an as yet unreduced) £349. Here is the same piece on SSENSE for £476, and according to them that’s reduced from £560.

SSENSE and Farfetch appear to exist in a multiverse of madness, presumably populated only by Russian oligarchs, Chinese tech magnates and billionaire sheikhs. Who else would have the financial insouciance to pay twice what something should cost in a sale? Fuck it, what’s another bag of rubies.

Great for window shopping, shit for actual shopping, that’s SSENSE and Farfetch for you. But then you probably knew that already. If I’m honest, I’m struggling to have an original thought. It’s only the 2nd and my brain is still clinging onto the uncluttered calmness that comes with regular fixes of Quality Street and back-to-back Netflix. One more sale shopping day before real life reboots.

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