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.