Every so often something in life confuses the hell out of me, and it's not unusual for that something to involve some sort of trend - especially if that trend relates to fashion.
As far as I'm concerned, fashion is something that happens to other people. Clothes serve two purposes - keeping me warm and preventing me from being arrested. Granted I have enough dress sense to stop people pointing and staring; I just blend in with the general masses and don't draw attention to myself. But when it comes to what may or may not currently be fashionable, I'm happily clueless; content to ignore any passing fad and regarding anyone who succumbs to such things with a calculated mixture of pity and mirth.
While some fashions may admittedly be accompanied by quiet approval, particularly if they include such key features as short hems or low necklines, most simply leave me bemused.
The most noticeable item of clothing that has recently become strangely popular with women is trousers or jeans with the knees ripped. Why? Anything that becomes trendy automatically gets its price tag multiplied by Pi, and for this inflated price tag people are buying clothes that I would automatically assume are due for the garbage.
To me, if an item of clothing is ripped, faded or got splodges of paint on, its next stop (depending on the absorbency of the fabric) will be either the bin or the shed for use as oily rags.
So in what sort of world does clothing that appears to have had a very hard life get put on a hanger in a High Street boutique to be flogged to a gullible fashion victim for twice as much as something that actually looks new by a very bored teenager with far too much makeup on.
I can't think of anything else offered for sale where the purveyor would actually get away with this sort of marketing ploy. This is a shame because if enough people could be convinced to be open-minded enough about it, it would open up virtually limitless opportunities for cashing in on those with more money than sense.
If clothes can be sold pre-damaged, then why not cars? Could your local Ford dealer charge extra for a Mondeo that has already had an array of car park dents put in and the alloys scuffed against a kerb?
Would a Rolex fetch more if the glass was already scratched? What about a pre-drunk bottle of scotch or half-smoked cigarettes?
There's a whole world of things to choose from, with the possible exception of condoms, but to be honest I suspect most people do have at least two brain cells to rub together and wouldn't be taken in by such obvious attempts to rip them off.
So how is it that the fashion industry is able to get away with it time after time without falling foul of Trading Standards?