I have a new friend and his name is Fresh, Joe Fresh.

Joe Fresh is the new clothing line at Superstore (or Loblaw’s if you prefer) designed by Joseph Mimran of Club Monaco fame. The clothes are sharp and stylish. Superstore has priced these new brand killers in line with the cost-conscious image their stores exude. This also makes them yet another surprising addition to this millennium’s “new arbiters of cool.”

Look at what’s occurred over the last few years. Status used to be so defined. If you wanted a designer anything you were required to steer clear of any store that didn’t sport minimalist decor and nose-in-the-air clerks. Cachet knew its place and it was not in a flyer.

Now? Isaac Mizrahi is designing for Fairweather, Mossimo Giannulli did the same for Zellers while Costco sells Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci. Even Target had Mizrahi for a while, along with Phillipe Starck and Michael Graves. What’s next? Emeril Lagasse teaching the masses how to cook? Wolfgang Puck starting a chain of restaurants? Hey, wait a minute……

What is going on? How can anyone be a big shot when all the designers start creating for the plebs? Is this something we should fear? Could fashion cease to exist once everyone has access to it? We all knew the main appeal of Air Jordan’s (back in the day, of course) was that everyone couldn’t afford them. If they could have, the shoes wouldn’t have been special or exclusive. Superstore is but one of many doing their part to eliminate this one-time reality from our ever sunnier futures.

Without fail, the gurus of design (critics) are taking the time to warn us that the quality inherent and understood in designer labels is nowhere to be found in the supermarket brands. Please, forgive me for wondering why longevity even matters in a designer anything. If you have to have the latest and the best I’m betting that you are tossing out way more than you’re wearing out. The devil doesn’t wear Prada, he designs it. How can anyone charge that much for a handbag you can only be seen with for one season?

I think the rise of Joe Fresh has a lot to do with age. The designers I mentioned are getting on in their careers. I’m sure they are doing their best to valiantly battle the next crop of avant gard youngsters attempting to redefine how we look and feel. They fight the good fight. But I bet they have mortgages too. Sell one shirt for $650 and feel like an artist. Sell six million shirts for $10 each and “the artist” gets to upgrade the Cessna to a Lear. If you ask me, there’s a lot more pie in that pan.

Joe Fresh clothing looks great, and I can browse the entire line with a cart filled full with bladder busting buckets of cranberry juice, cheese, flatware and generic prescriptions. I would call that very convenient indeed. If only I could do my banking at Superstore……hey, wait a minute. Are you seeing the pattern here?

Let’s all agree that fashion has a place. There will always be the ridiculously overpriced and impossible to wear items that grace magazine covers and runways the world over. But now, thanks to folks like Joe Fresh, George and even Tommy, fashion can now co-exist peacefully with the designer-lite choices they provide for the people.

I wonder what else Superstore is planning for us? I know funerals have gotten out of hand price-wise. Maybe they could make those reusable grocery bins of theirs a tad larger…..

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