Please view the full letter as well.
Dear Mr. Jacobs,
It is with a heavy (and yes, self-loathing) heart that I write this note to you, but the time has come. I simply no longer have any choice if I wish to retain what feeble grasp I still have on my mind. I am hoping that in composing these lines I will somehow exorcise the demons for which we are both responsible and that I will be able to return to a life of normalcy.
At first, I simply admired your work from afar. I would encounter one of those perfectly cropped denim jackets, trimmed in the fabrics of my girlhood (oh, how endlessly clever you are at this!) and I would respond, predictably, with the interest of Pavlov's canine subjects. You knew this, of course, knew precisely what those articles would do to me. But I remained strong, and was able, in those early years at least, to move on to other outposts. Slowly, though, I began to see the flash of your presence in more religious terms. An epaulet secured with those oversize buttons, a delicate floral pattern on the lining of a twill trench coat--these pedestrian sightings on the train, on the sidewalk, became episodes not of pleasure, but of obsession. Like the children of Fatima, I saw you again and again, and with each episode I became more and more unhinged. In time I found myself going directly to the MJ section at Bloomingdale's, eschewing all others. (What need could I possibly have for imitators and charlatans, for false icons?) I would load my arms with a dozen items or more, try them on in the private, confessional space of the dressing room, and imagine the life I might lead if only I could afford these blouses, these skirts, these patchworks of ingeniously updated nostalgia.
Let me be clear: I am not, nor have I ever been, one of those girls. I was punk rock! I took my father's Wranglers for my own; I mail-ordered hand silkscreened t-shirts from the bands of southern California. Even when I grew old enough to have to look presentable, I never built my life around such concerns. But this, Mr. Jacobs, this is true covetousness! I want those shoes with the hearts all over them, those two-hundred-and-eighteen-dollar tops. I want them all, and I hate you for it. I hate you for having made (or at least envisioned) them, for sourcing those prints, for putting them in concert on the same skirt, for turning me into such a freakshow of consumptive desire. And while I know the bankruptcy of soul is mine alone, surely you bear some culpability for toying with the emotions of young women everywhere, knowing, as you must, that when we see your work, we see summers at the beach, and our mothers at their best, and the smocked jumpers and corduroy pants and terrycloth cover-ups and rainbow-striped sweaters of our youth. We see friendship bracelets and hear "Dreamboat Annie" and remember the barrettes and fairisles lost along the way. I know you're perfectly aware of this, and my, how good you are at it, at conjuring these moments for us under the fluorescent lights of better department stores nationwide.
What eludes me, though, is just how you do this. And that is why I will return, why we will all return, salmon-like, to the racks of your label, again and again. I know you can't help yourself, and neither can we, so I suppose I will have to accept it all. But with God as my witness, I will try to start thinking about other things. Perhaps you will consider doing the same.
In confusion and heartbreak,
Heather L. Samples