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by Brittany Matsushita, staff writer


Popular reality television shows such as MTV’s Sweet Sixteen or E’s The Gastineau Girls, which celebrate the art of getting whatever your heart desires, influence young adults to spend like celebrities. It has been reported by Lisa Mulcahy and Karen Bokram, two writers for Girl’s Life magazine, that teens 13-17 years old in 2003/2004, spent 11 percent more on luxury items (electronics, clothes, makeup) than in the previous year. These teens are spending $92 a week giving the economy a boost of about $170 billion a year from young adults. It’s no wonder upscale designers like Tiffany, Ralph Lauren, and Louis Vuitton are moving to shopping districts and malls, making designer duds everyday wear, and raking in more than $12 billion a year.

Today’s youth may think they are forking over their cash just for cashmere sweaters and silk scarves, but they’re actually buying a brand and moving up the social ladder. In today’s society it’s not so much how great a product is, but who made it and where it was purchased. A scarf is just a scarf until it has the Hermes tag in the corner, and then it becomes a “scarf.”

“ I see labels as a status symbol,” said senior business major Franchesca Quevdeo. “Your style is a way to express yourself without words. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress. Life is your runway!”

However, there are those who don’t feel the same way about designers as Quevdeo. “Labels are too over-rated, and there is too much peer pressure on people to buy a label,” said junior psychology major, Steven Gonzales. “People spend too much time and money on material goods that are overpriced. It places your values in a fake place, trying to be something that you’re not.”

The popularity of young Hollywood celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen has elevated our “need” for socially acceptable labels.

Rhonda Borman, a social worker and child lecturer in Tennessee, surveyed girls between the ages of 10 and 15 about their favorite celebrities and found out the girls have a love-hate relationship with those in the spotlight. They idolize them and want all their lavish accessories, but hate that they live a lifestyle the girls can’t have or afford. “It’s cool to see what they spend their money on,” exclaimed one of the girls. But only a few of them can afford to buy what their idols buy.

Coco Chanel once said, “A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion.” Coco obviously thought her $2,000 spring 2006 couture line by Karl Lagerfeld was a reasonable price to pay for fashion. And apparently so do many of the young adults who spend thousands of dollars on ready-to-wear collections that will only be in style for one season.

Whether we like it or not, designers are dominating the fashion world and taking our paychecks with them. With fashion magazines such as InStyle, Vogue, Glamour, and Marie Claire showing us beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes, it’s easy to be a victim of the style revolution.


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