I drive past the building almost every day. I walk right past almost as often. I knew it was there, I just didn’t know it was a clothing store.
I left the place with my socks still on without buying any new ones.
Now this is not to say I didn’t like it, a lot, but rather that I found no one item that I looked at, swooned, and walked away wishing the sticker price was lower. It was strangely a large collection of “meh” that when pulled together is both fantastic, but still… meh.
Now Mettlers does not just do clothing, they do design. Which makes more sense. They do great design with well informed clothing. The fact that I’m “meh” on Mettlers means it is probably well worth a visit.
But after some reflection I have decided what stole this visit’s fire, why I was underwhelmed. It was not the clothes or the building. Both were better than most. It was not the design, which was a sporting masculinity that I enjoyed, but it was something I like a lot, that disappointed me.
I once took an art class in college.
I was not an art major but having some artistic tendencies, I saw Drawing/Painting on the course list and decided to enroll. Besides, I had some electives to burn. I was foolish enough not to check those little numbers next to the course name, 5200.
It was for graduate students in art, not Sophomore business majors. The prof claimed I was fine and told me to stay. I’m glad I did because he made one statement that has stuck with me more than any other art lesson in my life.
When I submitted my project proposal he looked it over, shook his head, and said, “I can see what you are trying to do but you are simply not good enough to do it.”
A little stunned, I was speechless as he continued, “This is not to say you can’t produce great art, just don’t try to do things you aren’t capable of.”
I kid myself, no I believe, that I could learn to do what I originally proposed, but this was not the purpose of this class. That would be the purpose of getting a bachelors in art. But the utilitarian pragmatism of “do what you are good at” opened up unseen doors for me.
Now back to Mettlers.
I love Eakins’ artwork, especially the painting of a boxer being fanned in his corner. Mettlers had a fine hand painted imitation of that very painting. This was exactly my taste! But whoever the artist was that produced the imitation they were no Eakins. I could see what the artist was trying to do but they were not good enough to do it.
For me it cheapened everything else in place.