It's been another weird week in retail.
Ralph Lauren is raising the price on patriotism with an expensive Olympics collection, Balenciaga got slammed for moving manufacturing of $800 shoes to China and IBM's Watson is now judging Grammy-goers' outfits.
This, and more, in this week's Retail Therapy.
Land of the free, home of the Ralph Lauren markup
The Olympics is a time when national pride and unity take center stage, so naturally Ralph Lauren designed an Olympic collection that out-prices anyone who thought Tiffany's Everyday Objects line was a bit too steep.
It's arguably a better misstep than last year, when the company put together uniforms that seemed more suited to Tsar Nicholas II than Abraham Lincoln, but Ralph Lauren seems to have taken things to the total opposite side of the spectrum this year, Teen Vogue reports. The collection sports so many stars and stripes that the athletes might as well be wearing a flag and, since nothing says America quite like capitalism, pretty much anything you'd want is over $100.
Team USA sweater? $495. USA-branded jeans? $295. Winter hat? $195. Alright, well maybe just a bandana — oh wait. That, too, is $125. Losing hope? Don't, because there is one huge bargain among the catalog of overpriced America-loving memorabilia: A team USA waxed cord bracelet for just $95 (noticeably cheaper than Balenciaga's $195 scrunchie, which sets the standard for overpriced accessories).
We can only imagine Ralph Lauren is digging deep for the capitalist drive that resides in every American, hoping a pair of $200 mittens is just what we need to show Kurt Russell how sick and tired we are of what a great team the Soviets have.
It is finally time to ban Ralph Lauren from the Olympics.— wintour olympics (@nbcsportz) January 23, 2018
Balenciaga ships luxury fashion to China
As the old adage states: Don't judge a book by its cover. So, when you think you've bought a high-quality luxury product, you should check the tag just to make sure you haven't actually bought something that was manufactured in China.
Remember those $800 dad sneakers Balenciaga was selling back in September?
Buyers have discovered that the high-priced sneaks have shifted manufacturing from Italy to China, according to D'Marge. It shouldn't matter if the quality is the same, right? Except, for some reason, "manufactured in China" just doesn't have the same "this is worth spending my whole paycheck on" ring to it.
But, being a major luxury fashion player, Balenciaga has the solution: a $2,488 "Italian-made" shoelace tote to go with your disappointingly "made in China" sneaks, HypeBae reports. Added to the list of qualities that shouldn't really be assets, the shoelace tote is "left unfinished on the inside, with laces hanging down at the interior," because who doesn't want to pay $2,000 for a half-finished product?
Possible moves to complete the ensemble include: a Balenciaga fanny pack made from plastic water bottles or a pair of $800 headphones manufactured in China.
Fake sneakers got so good that Balenciaga moved production to China for $800 shoes pic.twitter.com/G2YYB5x7qZ— Kunaal Arya (@kunaalarya) January 25, 2018
Dem Balenciaga trainers made in China lmfao I don't know wat to think nomore— 1Doc (@_1Doc_) January 25, 2018
Balenciaga Triple S jonts are made in China instead of Europe. So y'all spending over $750 for a shoe that costs less than $50 to make. pic.twitter.com/YHenz2uFMC— V-Way (@VWayyyyyyyy) January 25, 2018
Judging outfits is elementary, Watson
Maybe we're not at "2001: A Space Odyssey" yet, but artificial intelligence has come so far that it is now, officially, judging our outfits.
According to an article by Fortune, IBM's Watson will be analyzing our favorite celebrities at the Grammy Awards Show this weekend and providing commentary on the "emotional tone of Grammy-nominated song lyrics" for anyone scrolling through social media during the event.
Maybe it seems unnatural for a machine to be picking up on the emotional tone of an event, but according to IBM all it takes is data — that, and the capacity to search through "decades of songs," "hours of video and close to 125,000 photographs."
Did we ask for your opinion on Rihanna's clothing choices? No, we have Watson's, thanks.
Start spreading the news...the 60th annual #GRAMMYs is coming back to New York City on January 28th and @IBM is proud to announce our partnership as the Official AI Partner of the GRAMMY Awards pic.twitter.com/R8wUbGlJ75— IBM Sports (@IBMSports) January 19, 2018
Asos is bringing baggy back
Asos has done the honors and given everyone what nobody wanted — a pair of baggy double-layered jeans that look more like they belong to a 5th grade bully than a fashion-savvy adult, the Sun reports.
Since they're double the jeans, it's only fair that the "Reclaimed Vintage Revived Stack Jeans" are also double the price… which means that, yes, you'll be coughing up $92 for something that no one should have to pay money to purchase.