Sunday, May 31, 2009

American Apparel: Moving Forward

As the quarter draws to a close, so does the compact challenge that Professor Valverde suggested we try out. Even though I haven’t been consciously focusing on the challenge every day, I have found that my habits of consumption have improved greatly; I think I only purchased a couple of items of clothing this quarter and an iPod case, and I’m pretty proud of that. I have been doing some serious online window shopping, but I really like looking at sites such as American Apparel, which showcases a plethora of organic clothing and makes efforts to reduce chemicals in their production of cotton and cares about issues of immigrant reform. The article “Santa’s sweatshop” states that “In an era when the economy I necessarily a global one, it is impossible for consumers to avoid products made under less than ideal labor conditions” (Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman & Ito, 1996). This does not appear to apply to American Apparel, which clearly states on its website the issues that it cares about.

There are definitely instances where my “compact challenge mindset” has come into play this quarter, also. When my girlfriends and I go out, there are many times when they stress about having “nothing to wear” or “nothing new to wear,” and I find myself telling them that they have entire closetfuls of clothing at their disposal. (I’ll admit, I am guilty of saying that I have “nothing to wear” as well). They often tell me that it is simply embarrassing to have their pictures taken wearing the same outfit more than once, and I just wonder when exactly it was that Davis night life became synonymous with the night life of Hollywood socialites.

In Fashion-ology, Kawamura mentions something that illustrates this perfectly. Kawamura states, “By focusing on public consumption as the definition of fashion, the role of conspicuous usage that is open to inspection by others is stressed. Fashion behavior entails some display of one’s preference hierarchy, some outward manifestation of inward evaluative judgments” (Kawamura, 2005). I think that so many people today are caught up in what their clothes mean to other people that they lose track of what their clothes mean to them. I am not sure if individuals will get out of this pattern, because consumption is so enmeshed with image.

Christine Vo
Blog #5

Kawamura, Yuniya. Fashion-ology. 2005.

Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman & Ito. "Santa's Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it's Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift--and Under What Conditions." 1996.


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