I know I’m grinding my teeth. My eyes are darting about like panicked flies. I can’t stand still. My head is boggling with mental arithmetic. I want to boot up the HSBC app, but I can’t. Not here.
I’m in a small but expensive shop and I’ve been strolling around for a while. A while turns into a dawdle, then a linger and it now feels like a loiter. A loiter with intent? How did I let this happen? I now feel obliged to buy something. I don’t want to buy anything. But I know it’s going to happen.
Does this sound familiar? The shop is always tiny. The prices stratospheric. The assistants omnipresent. You came in for a noncommittal browse, but now the air feels like yogurt. Condensation hangs so heavy on the windows you can’t see outside. The shop stereo has gone silent as you thrum the same unaffordable rack of clothes again. You accidentally catch the eye of an assistant again. Again she returns a weak smile. It’s like there are a 1000 eyes on you. You can’t just walk out now. Can you?
Of course retail leverages the push and pull between your rational and irrational brain. Rationally I know it’s a shop, they’d like me to buy something, but I could just walk out. Irrationally I’m so strangled by the vibe I’m already totting up how to survive the month minus the cost of something I don’t need and barely want.
This happened to me twice last week. A quick pop into Hamiltons gallery to check out the Gavin Bond: Being There exhibition resulted in an unanticipated chat with the photographer. The chat became a conversation so lengthy that with every passing minute, the idea of leaving without a signed copy of the accompanying book became increasingly improbable. Cha-ching!
Similarly, a quick trip to Simone Rocha to pick up an £18 copy of her Girls girls girls catalogue developed into so much extraneous browsing that we left with the catalogue, and a pair of earrings. Was it the heat-lamp-like gaze of the immaculate shop assistants that reduced my willpower to that of a battered sausage? Or perhaps I was just shamed by the idea of running a paltry 18 quid on my card in a shop that sells two grand dresses?
I can tell you that upon leaving, when the cruel cool air of outdoors slaps you about the face, the enormity of your foolishness swallows you whole. A pitch black tornado. HSBC apps on flying bicycles. Numbers walking off a cliff like lemmings. A prisoner of war camp, giant shop assistant heads swivelling in place of searchlights. Somewhere in the dark my girl is saying, “thank you, thank you, thank you…”
People forget that consumption is also a wasting disease.
Respite from my own idiocy came with these Hi-Tec HTS ELITE RGS sneakers. They are not, as you might assume, the result of me conceding to yet another boutique’s cultural thumb-screws. Nope, these kicks were gifted. (I always knew there was a market for God-level stylistic insight and endless moaning.)
So yeah, they’re gifted, but as you can see, I’m fully digging them. According to Highsnobiety, Hi-Tec are having a ‘low key revival’ and as far as I’m concerned, if there’s any revivaling going on, the lower the key the better. These are so off-grid, they’re perfect.
You can get all the technical Vibram-dipped detail over here. I’m more interested in what they work with and, as you can see, I decided to go full Caramac bar. Somewhere between Hooper from Jaws and an inappropriately tactile drama teacher. It’s a look is all I’m saying.
I reckon my sandy corduroy Eastlogue suit works pretty well with the extremely specific Applecinnamon, Mellowbuff, Pistachioshell and Lark tones in the sneakers. Ideal for the time of the year don’t you think? I would happily wear this while raking leaves. Or bobbing for apples. Or while sacrificing a lamb to Xarpo the Greek god of Autumn. Anything to keep me out of Simone Rocha.