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Fashion March, 27 2013

The Shopping Addiction of Friday Night Lights Author Buzz Bissinger

Known for writing the original book Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And a Dream which detailed a high school football team in Odessa, Texas – a football-obsessed town whose single-minded devotion to the team shaped the community and inspired – and sometimes shattered – the teenagers who wore the Panthers’ uniforms, Friday Night Lights was a masterclass in embedding oneself in a time and place. Recently, Bissinger penned an enlightening essay for GQ in which the once stiff and ridged writer reveals his shopping addiction to brands like Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Balmain, Band of Outsiders, Belstaff, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and more. What makes this so fascinating, is that prior to this brand renaissance, Bissinger admittedly wore “schlumpy suits” and “khakis from J.Crew and blazers and shirts from Brooks Brothers and Hickey Freeman and Jos. A. Bank.” Recalling how he has spent nearly $700,000 USD since 2010, the narrative weaves between his admission of addiction as well as his time spent in Milan where he’s treated to specialized products from Gucci. While choice excerpts appear below, head to GQ to read the piece in its entirety.

I have an addiction. It isn’t drugs or gambling: I get to keep what I use after I use it. But there are similarities: the futile feeding of the bottomless beast and the unavoidable psychological implications, the immediate hit of the new that feels like an orgasm and the inevitable coming-down.

It started three years ago. I have never fully revealed it, and am only revealing it now in the hopes that my confession will incite a remission and perhaps help others of similar compulsion. If all I buy is Gucci, I will be fine. It has taken a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, but Gucci men’s clothing best represents who I want to be and have become—rocker, edgy, tight, bad boy, hip, stylish, flamboyant, unafraid, raging against the conformity that submerges us into boredom and blandness and the sexless saggy sackcloths that most men walk around in like zombies without the cinematic excitement of engorging flesh.

I own eighty-one leather jackets, seventy-five pairs of boots, forty-one pairs of leather pants, thirty-two pairs of haute couture jeans, ten evening jackets, and 115 pairs of leather gloves. Those who conclude from this that I have a leather fetish, an extreme leather fetish, get a grand prize of zero. And those who are familiar with my choices will sign affidavits attesting to the fact that I wear leather every day. The self-expression feels glorious, an indispensable part of me. As a stranger said after admiring my look in a Gucci burgundy jacquard velvet jacket and a Burberry black patent leather trench, “You don’t give a fuck.”

The most expensive leather jacket I own, a Gucci ostrich skin, cost $13,900. The most expensive evening jacket I own, also from Gucci, black napa leather with gold threading, cost $9,800. The most expensive leather pants, $5,600. The most expensive jeans, $2,500. The most expensive pair of boots, $2,600. The most expensive pair of gloves, $1,015. Gucci by far makes up the highest percentage of my collection. The Gucci brand has always held special power for me, ever since the 1960s, when the Gucci loafer with the horsebit hardware was the rage, and my father, who fancied himself as being anti-status when he secretly loved it, broke down and bought a pair. Followed by my mother’s purchase of the famous Jackie O. shoulder bag. As a 13-year-old, I circled the old store on Fifth Avenue several times before getting up the courage to go in and buy a Gucci wallet covered  with the insignia.

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