Salla Kuhmo & Martin Sigmund
Fashion ID, 2011/12
While mass consumption is gloating about how hip miserliness is, highbrow consumption is leading us into temptation with smug unattainability. The sculptural clothing and accessories of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior and Co. do not certify the close-fistedness of their customers but elevate them to an icon of style. In this seemingly religious aura of miraculous dignity which radiates designers’ products like a marketing-generated gloriole, the fashion followers hope for a deliverance from their self-doubts by purchasing these products.
„I shop, therefore I am“ is today’s credo, and this is manifested most obviously on the world’s large shopping streets in the countless shopping bags which, bearing trademarks and proudly carried on their arm trophy-like, define the consumer’s feeling of belonging. The distinguished coloration, the high-quality material and above all, the trade name single out the carrier of a luxury brand shopping bag from the mass of H&M-shoppers, and this already provides the carrier with an identity completely constructed by a reliable sense of style.
Salla Kuhmo and Martin Sigmund look into this devotional cult of fashion bags in their photo series. How much identity can you actually retrieve from an empty bag? And doesn’t it verge on polytheism when apart from Louis Vuitton we also have Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana? These and other questions are raised within the classical genres of photography which, all in all, sometimes more and sometimes less, serve advertising, which is thus challenged by means of its own strategies.
Text: Vivien Sigmund, 2012