Ms. Fen, a wholesaler, has glossy black hair and nails. She is twenty-eight years old. When we meet, she pulls up in a white Aston Martin, pristine except for a crack on the right rearview mirror. She is wearing an assortment of beautiful clothes: distressed jeans, a négligée tank, a forest-green Chanel bag. She’s aware of what this all conveys. ‘People see me and feel envy. But they don’t know what I went through to get here.’
Even while the current zeitgeist relentlessly schills artisanal, organic, authentic, handmade, crafted, made-with-love, ethical products to clothe ourselves and our lives, and even as we rejoice, repost and embrace these values, they are in the majority in contradistinction to our actual lived existence. There is a disconnect between what we post and what we are, between what we say and what we do. Adler’s positivist theories of reinvention were genuine in their quest for socialist cohesion; millennial social justice mediated from behind the isolating glow of a personal screen can never match up. We are counterfeit selves, but not always because of what we wear.