Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Paradox of Value and Art

We’ve all heard long drawn debates on the price demanded by designers for their clothes. In my opinion it is unfair to single out this genre of creativity on its financial countenance.
The other day in a television interview Delhi based fashion designer, Rina Dhaka was volleying questions on why her prices are as high as they are. What I do not understand is, why does she need to justify this to a populist media man who does not understand any fashion and is lousier at doing some research on it?(not that I think she’s any good, I really don understand fashion dat well). That is another topic of debate. What I’m trying to focus on is the concept of “value and art”.

In management education we are made familiar with the concept of customer delivered value. In a nutshell, customer delivered value is the sum total of value that the customer derives out of buying a product .Product offering carries Financial, social, self esteem value. Financial value is the price that the customer pays for the item in terms of money.
Social and self esteem values are more abstract concepts which are difficult to quantify but are more often than not the ones that differentiate one product offering from another.

When we talk of paintings, sculptures, ornate stones etc. questions about their prices are not raised. Common perception about these things is that they are artistic and so the premium on price is justified. This perception is what makes them seem different from a designer garb. This is simply because clothing is a daily use item and a painting buy is more occasional.

We are so used to haggling for clothes in India that a rather complex but open mind would be the only exclusion from this non-acknowledging social order, pronounced insane by us to indulge in designer clothing. This, I feel is the reason why our fashion industry stumbles every time an international leap is close at hand. Paradox of an Indian artist that is, maybe someone could explain all this better.


manu said...

Fashion designing is an art in itself and requires lot of creativity from styles, colors, fabrics to detailing such as patterns... demanding a price for creativity is totally justified according to me ... same as in case of painters and sculptors.
If you argue about the value then it lies in the eyes of the buyer... the connoisseur.
My views apart, I like the well written content and the 'customer delivered value' approach :)

Kuber said...

i guess in India very few values except fr religous are passed frm one generation to another..worse still most connoisseurs are jus fake opportunists..a passion fr liberal thinking and appreciation of creativity is what we could do wit..

Anonymous said...

how do u identify a true connoisseur anywayz...
everyonewillhave their own definitons