There’s a common, debasing shared fantasy among my generation that feels symptomatic of the times. It’s a fantasy involving being hit by a car (not to the point of death, just serious, recoverable injury), with someone ludicrously wealthy behind the wheel. Like all humiliating and depraved acts, dreaming of mortal peril is done for one thing: money. Lives orbit around access to capital, and the majority has very little access to it, so it’s hard to be judgemental of such an outlandish and dangerous desire.
Green is a prosperous color, one of growth and life. It makes sense that U.S. currency is various shades of sage, jade, and olive — when used for good, money allows for growth to occur. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and (spoiler alert) most acquisition of wealth comes from nefarious acts. There’s much to say about how rampant consumerism and capitalism promulgates destruction, but I’ll save that for a card-carrying DSA member. Personally, I hate that money is a necessary evil and the fact that I don’t have mountains of it. But it’s everywhere I see: in my standard of living, in everyday costs, and most recently, in clothing.
Since money rules our lives and accumulating it is a herculean task, being financially stable feels like a pipedream. Fantasizing, however, is still free. I’m a big advocate of fashion being transportive rather than functional, and the rise of the money-inspired pieces is taking the grim necessity of capital and turning it into a spectacle of fantasy. In the past year alone, Planet i, the Brooklyn-based, cult-approved sunglasses line, updated its signature mega-sparkle lenses with a money-green shade. If looking through rose-colored glasses brings positivity, maybe a cash-colored lens is a new-agey law of attraction opportunity. Japanese designer Kota Okuda personified commodification during his Parsons MFA showcase, sending models down the runway in full-bodied skirt silhouettes made to look like cash, strung together wallets with billowing dollars, and (the cheekiest) a literal money clip. NYC handbag line Kara shredded demonetized bills and laminated between two pieces of PVC, forming a literal barrier between a person and money, which feels the most true to real life.
Even the monied themselves, indulge in the fantasy. Kim Kardashian threw a Wall Street themed party and went all out, dressing in a head-to-toe currency look from Balenciaga and Jeremy Scott’s past collections. YG’s Benjamin Franklin two-piece fit from his “Big Bank” video is custom made in silk, a fabric traditionally associated with wealth. It’s sybaritism for sure, but the thing about money is that apparently you can never have enough of it.
Just like politicians and pundits blaming something as asinine as avocado toast or owning an iPhone for a generation in poverty, being drawn to currency-emblazoned pieces will have no effect on financial instability. My peers generally have no savings and will never actually own anything of traditional value, be it a home or otherwise. GoFundMe is simultaneously a healthcare system, a student loan service, and an insurance provider. If we want to wear money because we’ll never be able to own enough of it, let us fucking live.