Campus Fashion Trends: Are Golden Goose Sneakers Glorifying Poverty?


The Italian luxury sneaker brand Golden Goose is incredibly well-known through their distinct roughened look and apparent star label. Recently, the brand became especially known for their shoe collection. In spite of the shoes being looked as if they have been run over by a car and avidly chewed up by my dog multiple times, they are casually being retailed at a price range between €300 – €700. Nevertheless, the appalling price of these sneakers is no red light for consumers, including multiple IE students, to be purchasing them.

Now, as with any distinguishable and trendy goods entering the market, controversy must follow. Therefore, despite their profoundly increasing sales, there has been much criticism aimed at Golden Goose for the release of these sneakers. Many have spoken, claiming that the scuffed presentation of the shoe gives praise to poverty which is reflected as a source of insensitivity for those who do not have the option of wearing roughened clothing. Nonetheless, every individual should acquire their own ability to wear what they desire without receiving any sort of criticism for it.

Although some may scrutinise the brand for its doing, many have varying opinions on this controversy. Taya Elhamy, a second-year PPLE student said, “They´re comfy, stylish and in my opinion, a statement shoe. I was never really into heels so those did the job. After I destroyed my first pair and it was time for me to buy a new pair of shoes, I looked everywhere, but I always went back to Golden Goose.” When asked whether Taya believes that Golden Goose may have the tendency to glorify poverty she stated, “No, it’s more like it wants to stand out from other designer shoes, because usually the stance is you wear Valentino or Dior shoes and they´re only cute and stylish when they’re clean, but with Golden Goose you already buy them looking ratchet.”

On the opposing side of Taya´s argument, Denise Goyheneix, a second-year BBSS student said, “It’s the first sign that I notice people that know nothing about fashion, but I don’t know about the poverty thing. I think most people hate and are cringed out about fresh, new, white sneakers. They like that they don’t have to go through that phase, but regardless it is so ridiculous. You are paying hundreds of dollars for a shoe that is half ruined. I don’t think it’s about glorifying poverty, but it’s almost a joke to the rich.”

It appears that some prefer to naturally wear out their shoes, whilst others believe that shoes becoming dirty over time is inevitable, which is where Golden Goose tackles this idea in an interesting manner. Allegedly, other retailers have been seen to adopt this new take on shoe fashion, as Gucci retailed a pair of shoes with a purposefully dirty appearance for £615. This prompted backlash as critics believed the luxury brand was “commercialising poverty”. Moreover, in 2020, Converse released an impoverished looking pair of shoes stating that customers could now “skip the break-in period” with these sneakers.

The hypocrisy that lives within this controversy is the blindness that occurs when less fortunate people wear more worn-down and affordable clothing and receive backlash for it, while others who are more financially capable and purchase shoes with a similar worn-down appearance are viewed as fashionable. In spite of the spiralling negativity that continues to exist around the luxury brand, the resulting scrutiny is unnecessary. Every individual acquires the natural right to wear what they desire. Therefore, wear what makes you feel most confident, as that is a personal freedom that no one should interfere with or be able to take away from you.

Featured image: Golden Goose

Hana Abulkheir
Hana Abulkheir
Second year behaviour and social science student from Egypt but primarily lived abroad. Interested in mental health in well-being.

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