Monday, January 24, 2005


I seem to be engaged in an in-print and online debate over the importance of beauty at the U of C. Julie Fredrickson has responded to her critics, with a new article in the Chicago Weekly (not online), and I feel obligated to respond.

First, I'm not so sure about the connection Fredrickson makes between looking good and wearing things like Seven jeans, which appear to be somewhere in the $200 range. Choosing to upgrade on any particular item is fine--I, for one, will pay a bit more for better beer--and I do not deny that sometimes more expensive jeans more expensive jeans. In essence, Fredrickson confuses paying to look conventionally well-off with caring about fashion. I have nothing against the conventionally-well-off look, and have been known to shop at Banana Republic, but when I think fashion, I think agnes b., or that dude who's always in Classics with the motorcycle boots and the perfectly sculpted hair.

Also, Fredrickson notes that "a random survey of girls in Hutch during lunch last Friday showed that every girl asked knew what a pair of Sevens was [sic], indeed two girls were even wearing them." I do not find it remotely bizarre that there exists, in Hutch, a table full of girls who spend a lot on their jeans, or who are at least familiar with the concept. But what Fredrickson fails to say is how many girls she surveyed. (And what with Lawrence Summers's recent remarks about girls and math, the timing could not be worse.)

I have a confession to make: I am guilty of liking that the U of C is a blazer-wearing, self-consciously-disheveled place, one where Abercrombie is tolerated, not celebrated. I don't go for the intellectual style of dress myself, preferring some combination of francophilic nonsense, neon-colored accessories, and solid-colored pastel-pink or black tee shirts, but I like that when I arrive on campus after a vacation, I can tell that I'm back at the first sighting of a just-so worn-out leather satchel, or a slightly torn elbow patch. I do not believe that a student in head-to-toe Abercrombie should be scoffed at by professors, but I'd imagine professors don't much care what we wear, regardless. When we graduate, we'll have to look good by societal standards, but I'm happy I've got another quarter and a half to work at looking good by the U of C's rubric, which means, in effect, dressing as I please.


Anonymous said...

Phoebe darling, now you can link to my columns. At my new blog

Julie Fredrickson

Anonymous said...

Can someone finally put this to bed!! What is it Seven Jeans, Seven 7 Jeans or Seven for All Mankind Jeans? Are they three different companies and three different brands. What’s the official story?

This is the unofficial story plucked from the urban grapevine. Seven for All Mankind Jeans started producing extraordinarily innovative jeans in the USA under the banner Seven for All Mankind and made appropriate trademark arrangements in the USA. However, they neglected to make the same arrangements in Europe. This is where it starts to get messy but the saying goes an entrepreneur with an eye for an opportunity, when he saw the success of Seven for All Mankind Jeans in the USA, started to produce Seven Jeans in Europe since Seven for All Mankind failed to file a Trademark application in Europe.

Upon hearing about this development Seven for All Mankind started long and labourious legal proceedings against Seven Jeans for TM infringement. After much legal debate, it was decided that Seven Jeans in Europe should change their name to Seven 7 so to reduce the confusion with Seven for All Mankind jeans which was and is a far superior jean. So, that’s the story from the urban grapevine. Can anyone confirm or deny this. Does anyone have the definitive story?