Sunday, June 7, 2009

these pants are made for standing

These boots are made for walking
and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these boots
are gonna walk all over you.
- Nancy Sinatra

i have not been able to get that stupid song out of my head for the last couple of days. here's why.

it all started when i purchased a pair of Issey Miyake pleated pants. i was planning a trip that involved a 3-hour plane ride from austin to new jersey, and the pants (if not the wearer) had to look good at the end of the ride. i figured they'd be comfortable, too.

now, i didn't know that issey miyake was into apparel. call me fashion-backward ... i guess somehow i'd missed that issue of instyle. but i've worn the cologne for years and love it, so i was willing to give the guy some brand largesse in an adjacent category. plus, they were on sale, which was good 'coz they're typically not ... shall we say... value-priced.

the pants are pleated in hundreds (i'm guessing) of tiny, 1/16" pleats, which is what gives them their unique look. pleats reportedly have been with us since the time of the egyptians, who apparently had enough free time on their hands to do this sort of thing when they weren't trying to get the philistines to look the other way. but i wasn't really thinking about this when i bought them. i needed a good-looking, good quality, comfortable, well-wearing pair of pants, and that's what i thought i was getting.

so i wore them on the trip, and it was all good. the pants held up fabulously well, even when my return flight was cancelled and forced me to go through cleveland to get to milwaukee. i have nothing in particular against cleveland, but suffice it to say that 5pm on a day that started at 4am, i was more interested in my pants coming off and being replaced by pajamas as quickly as possible.

it was only later, when i was assembling clothing for a trip to the dry cleaner, that i actually got a look at the pants' labels. ordinarily, i check the care instructions when i buy a garment, just to see whether or not i'll be putting my dry cleaners' kids through post-doc studies (their undergraduate work has already been well covered). but i was in a hurry at purchase time and didn't see this -- because i guarantee you, if i had, the pants would still be on a hanger in the store and i would be in the hospital recovering from whatever injury you get when you can't stop laughing hysterically.

here is what the tag says (and i could not make this up if i tried):

minimum machine wash
do not bleach
do not iron
do not dry clean
do not tumble dry

so i'm thinking ... well, ok, i have some hand-washing ahead of me. not the worst thing in the world. but wait, there's more!

in order to preserve the shape, please observe the following. pleats are easily marred by heat and pressure. avoid sitting and applying other types of pressure for long periods of time.

avoid sitting? they're pants! i can't tell you how much my sensibilities as a marketer are offended by this type of total disregard for product-in-use. it reminds me of when motorola in its early days made a cell phone where you had to press the "on" button to turn the phone off, or the kind of phone voicemail systems that are supposed to get you to a relevant contact more easily but have exactly the opposite effect. it's just plain silly... and annoying.

good product design, in my view, starts with ethnographic research so you can actually understand in a very specific way how your customer behaves and how the product is, or is not, likely to meet his/her needs and expectations. in an ideal world, you uncover some bit of something that enables you to create a product that offers surprise and delight, or at least one that doesn't work to offend your target.

i still can't get the tune out of my head, except now it goes:

These pants are made for standing
and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these pants
are gonna go to Goodwill, too.


Anonymous said...

Okay Monica, this is pretty funny!
Don't bring these pants to Goodwill; that's just insult on top of injury for us resale shoppers.

Erin Brandt said...

This is sooooooooooo funny. But, the pants look great on!

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