There is something distinctly phony about wearing a pair of shoes named after a man whose name you have heretofore never heard. And frankly, if it weren’t for my mother, who has been unapologetically wearing her Stan Smiths since I have been old enough to advise that she take them off, I may have found myself subject to fall into this contemptible category of spurious asshole.
But that is not the case. Like I said, my mom spent the greater portion of the 90s not playing tennis but wearing the tennis sneakers, named after the famed tennis player, with effectively everything. Jeans, Dolce suits, Moschino mini skirts — there was nothing she wouldn’t obliterate with the unironic, outdated white rubber soles. To this day she keeps them in a closet on the ground floor of her home and I am certain that when she sees this post, she’ll call to remind me, in a particularly cruel inflection, that “Mom knows best.”
So to save myself the trouble of doing this later, let me publicly apologize now, mom, for verbally shitting on your favorite sneakers when here I am, dubbing them my favorite, too. At some point in the last three months, in either a bout of nostalgia or my really liking how this girl looks, I developed an urgency to obtain the sneakers. I just don’t get why.
Cathy Horyn touched upon an interesting point in a recent story she wrote for The New York Times called “That Positive Feeling and Why it’s Shared.” Citing a New Yorker piece by Maria Konnikova on what makes a story go viral, she questioned what makes a fashion trend go viral drawing examples from the mens shows in Milan and Paris.
She surmised that the magic potion is in collections that are devoid of complex references and that lay out ideas for easy ingestion — kind of like a top-ten list. But it got me thinking about rehashes that go viral because last week, seemingly over night, every fashion show-goer in New York had Stan Smith fastened to their feet.
Elle‘s Danielle Prescod wrote about the shoes earlier this week. In her story, she explained the process of a trend’s genesis (and purportedly too, its ability to go viral) as runway to retailer to real girl. Phoebe Philo wore the sneakers in 2011 when she came out from backstage at the end of her show for Céline. Then they were placed on the sales floor at J. Crew. Simultaneous with that, a white sneaker movement befell the denizens of fashion and though most participators may not have realized that their accessory choice was one manipulated by Philo, such is the power of invisibility.
So now I stand in my Stans, contemplating virality while emulating one little rogue dancer who’s proven she defines it.
But what do you think?