Updated: May 10, 2020
One of a kind, a must-have, gruesome, disgusting, revolutionizing, tasteless.
People have used many adjectives to show their fondness or disgust towards the Maison Margiela Tabi shoes. Like it or not, it's safe to say that those shoes became one of the most iconic pieces in the fashion history.
Personally, I was a bit conflicted about what I thought about it. I have always liked conversation-starter pieces but I wasn't sure if the split-toe-animalistic shoes were something that was fit for my taste and quite frankly I didn't see what was the big fuss. A few months later, I started noticing that my liking of Tabi shoes were changing quite drastically after seeing it on my favorite fashion bloggers and influencers. Did it grow on me or did I feel like I had to like it considering that all of the "cool people" I know had it? Was I starting to like the shoes or was it the image that it sold that I liked? Quite self-reflective questions right?
When I was growing up and just starting to get into music, I made sure to check if the albums that I liked had good reviews by critics (at the time it meant cool people on Tumblr who made fan edits to Lorde with flower crowns) to make sure that I like the stuff that was obviously good. If they were not publicly liked, I would listen to them on the school bus with my headphones in the lowest volume possible. As if anyone gave two fucks about what I was into. God knows how many times I told people that I hated Justin Bieber when in reality, I would reenact us meeting in one of his concerts. (I still to this day adore him, and no, it's not a guilty pleasure.)
It was the same with fashion. When I was 14 and starting having an interest in fashion, I would go to Twitter, follow some high fashion accounts and made myself believe that I indeed thought that Anna Wintour ruined Vogue, Magdalena Frackowiak was the greatest model and Kendall Jenner didn't deserve to have success because her parents were rich. Other models had worked so hard to get where they were, how dare they shared the same backstage! These were the generic tweets that every high fashion twitter account tweeted. Two years later, my orientation towards fashion changed and I started to like the things that weren't liked by "locals" but liked by "people who have taste". Simply put, the most annoying type of person to be around. The things that I thought were so cool and unique were Alexander McQueen shows, pieces like Creepers and DocMartens: The most basic things that everybody else obviously liked. Oh the irony.
It took me two years or so to get detached from everybody else's tastes and find my own. I'm 20, and it's only now that I can confidently say that I have a taste of my own and that I don't give any perspective-changing amount of attention to anyone else's. That's why I was particularly happy to stop myself from subconsciously starting to like something just because it was cool. The Tabi boots also came with some type of narration: It's the cool New York girls who are wearing it, it's the stylish people who are not afraid to have daring pieces, it's the people who you aspire to be.
Selling a story is simply having good marketing. It's making people believe that they will be cooler, better, more stylish, or unique when they buy something. It's not like Maison Margiela makes an ad with a catchphrase that says "this is what cool people wear" like the old push-an-image-to-your-face kind of advertisements for cigarettes or beauty products. The message is being created involuntarily based on the people who have the Tabi shoes: the it-girls with style, the precursors, the leaders of opinions when it comes to taste.
Liking a popular piece is not a sin. You're straight-up annoying if you deliberately don't like the things that are liked to seem a certain way. That was me at 16 and trust me it was indeed vexing. It's being able to detach your taste from the taste of others if it doesn't suit your own that counts.
Art: Breanna Keane