Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tiger Tem's Been Bitten...but smitten?

So as you might have noticed I'm something of a Sarah Jessica Parker fan. She was very involved in the creation and development of Sex & The City which is probably my favourite TV show. Ever. And yes I can say that with such confidence as I really don't watch that much TV.

I remember being beside myself with excitement when I heard she was launching a clothing line. I love her style, her personal style is more conservative than Carrie Bradshaw's but she still knows how to work it. She's not classically beautiful but the way she dresses and comes across makes her seem damn attractive. Which is why I think women like her so much, she shows us all how to be attractive when you're not classically beautiful. Rather handy.

For the most part, I'm not a fan of these celebrity faux collections. We love your acting/singing but that doesn't make you a designer. Kate Moss was smart enough to just hand over the keys to her wardrobe and instruct TopShop to 'copy' whatever she'd been photographed in most. That's why her line is one of the very few that has designing involved. (But really, why did brand director Jane Shepherd leave so soon after Kate arrived?)

So when I was set to go to America, checking out Bitten was definitely on my list of priorities. Had a look at the website.
Not bad.

I found out it was carried by a store called Steve & Barry. Never heard of them before (and I know my shops, I make a point of researching shops). And their store was a little out of the way in the city I was in but off with my map I went.

Everything in her line is under $20. Yes UNDER $20. Now that does sound like a good thing but I'm growing a little more wary with time of this cheaper and cheaper trend with retailers. Somebody somewhere is always paying the price...aren't they?

But with a tagline like "Fashion is not a luxury. Its a right". I was all set to be smitten by Bitten.

Steve and Barry's looks like a giant loft/warehouse. Kinda like the Urban Outfitters in Kensington but not as nice. I made a beeline straight for the Bitten collection.

Oh my. Hmmm. Er. Well. Hmmm. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Ok, sizing issues abound was my first observation. I'm a US 2 and I could barely find anything in my size. But that's just luck of the draw. (I do think its good that the collection is from a Size 2 - 22.) The place was a little haphazard and disorganised looking. Hate that. But I love SJP so onwards I went. Distinct lack of quality, and nothing that looked especially reminiscent of SJP's style. It was just a selection of very ordinary basics. With astoundingly low prices yet, but with such poor quality...what's the point?

light blue puff sleeve ruffle top $9.98, heather gray hoodie $14.98, chino shorts $9.98 with lace up red sneakers $9.98

double vneck tank dress $19.98 & purple t-shirt $7.98

strapless black dress $19.98 with henley $9.98

I've seen Bitten and I definitely wasn't smitten. I understand that she wanted to go cheap and cheerful but its tooo cheap and not at all cheerful. Being as much of a SJP fan as I am, I was very disappointed but got a tshirt as I'd really gone out of my way to find the stuff. I think it would have worked a lot better if she'd gone for a more Kate Moss line and maybe collaborated with Forever 21 or someone with a bit more presence than Steve and flippin Barry.

I understand that being cheap makes your range accessible to a much wider range of shoppers but a balance needs to be struck. And I'm hating this cheap cack that retailers keep churning out thinking a low price tag is enough to seduce shoppers. You have to work a little harder than that for my love.

So I've decided that I'm going to shop BETTER. You can either buy 6 $20 dresses that will probably do a bit of shape shifting and colour bleeding in the wash, or you can hold out for a much nicer dress for $120 that's bound to stick around a lot longer.

I don't like Primark. There. I said it. Provocative statement I know. But I intrigued by the launch in the UK and the low prices, but the one jumper I bought the one time I went was itchy and scratchy and then after one wash never looked the same. What do you expect when you pay £7. Not a lot. Reminds me of the time I bought some no frills chicken from Tesco, and I was sick for days. No joke. Gimme Sainsbury's Taste The Difference any day.

But with time I've started to pay less attention to disposable fashion as my closet is slowly but surely gasping for air, I refuse to stuff it any fuller with stuff that doesn't last. The lazy man and the stingy man walk the same road twice so instead of constantly updating my wardrobe at the speed of knots with the cheap stuff, I'm going to slow my roll and focus on the slightly nicer stuff. Shops like Massimo Dutti, Zara, and a whole heap of independent collections now tickle my fancy a whole lot more. And I love to cruise the sale racks. Especially the department store shoe sections. You'd be surprised at how much the fancy stores want your money come sale time. Meeting me halfway? That's much more my kind of love.


Oyinkan said...

Aaah i see! So it wasnt great? It's kind of the same situation with the Lauren Conrad collection except for the fact that her stuff is seriously overpriced for what it is. I do agree that she should have infused a lot more of her style into her line ( i mean isnt that what we love about SJP?.

In terms of primark and other disposable fashion, i have seen the error of my ways. Quality is much more important. It all adds up in the end even when you buy primark and co. I'd rather spend £40 on a dress that will survive more than one wash!

Anonymous said...

I love SJP too, I think she was trying to go for something simpler so people felt more comfortable in it. I bet she'll work her edgier influence in over time... Love this blog, by the way! Have you heard about Toyota's event in NYC tonight? I work with them and think you might be into it since you obviously know style! There are these thrilling new webisodes called If Looks Could Kill, which follow an aspiring fashion designer, Bianca, who's involved in international espionage by night. If you're familiar with the BMW shorts from a couple of years ago (Guy Ritchie, Madonna), these webisodes definitely have a similar production level.


Interactive: Toyota has gone one step further, the viewer can interact with Bianca to help her unravel the mystery that has suddenly become her life. I really enjoy the multiple levels; it adds a dimension of reality to the story and builds a unique relationship between the main character and viewer.

Launch party: We have our official launch party tonight (6/11) @ Eyebeam in NYC— with performances by Ashanti, Janelle Monae and Anthony Hamilton. Tyra Banks is also on the guest list!

I'd really love your take on the first episode—Haute Pursuit—and discuss more as the other episodes roll-out. Myself, I'm still trying to figure out who the bad guy is—the ex, the boyfriend, the boss? Or maybe it's Nana? lol

Again, would love your take because bloggers like yourself definitely have a good eye about what's cool, hot and current. I would have contacted you via email but I didn't know which the best way to reach you was. I hope I didn't overstep my bounds by directly contacting you.

Don't be shy! :)

Whitney Maiers
ILCK Ambassador

Uzo said...

Hmm...and i was really looking forward to getting a few things from the collection...Disappointed.

Dislike Primark as well after i copped a pair of black trousers and later found out one leg was longer than the other...LOL...its funny now but not so much back then

shop liquorice said...

funny you should blog about this. i walked past s&b yesterday & made a mental note to @ least check bitten out. sigh. oh well, LOL. speaking of shopping smarter, i'm with you all the way. after spending an entire week cleaning my closet and stuffing about 7 huge black bags with things i haven't worn in forever, i decided that it's not so much the price as the longevity...and i've since converted. i still wear clothes i bought from topshop when i lived in london...but most of the stuff i've bought in america (@ forever21 and co) have since fallen apart. quality over quantity is my new mantra. it's not original...but hey, it works :)

hope you're well!


Tiger Tem said...

@oyinkan...very good point about Lauren's collection. Was all excited then a bit disappointed. The difference is she's supposed to be a designer!

@whitney...lets hope so. Love your site, what a great idea.

@uzo...that's RIDICULOUS!

@shop should stop by anyway and see what you think. Interesting point you made about cheap London vs cheap America!

Fatymah said...

Hey Tem,

I completely agree with you. I work in Juba, Southern Sudan and here there are no washing machines and the detergent sucks. Stores like Bitten should target this kind of place (just out of war, no retail) as thier target market. Id rather do cheap london than cheap america because the british standards are just much higher.

I recently sent a friend a thousand dollars to the US to buy me a whole bunch of tee shirts ..5 months later, there is none i can wear with my head up .. they all look like crap.

Pretty Sad a glamour puss like SJP would put her name with less than inspiring stuff thou.