Wednesday, May 20, 2009

just one pair of flip flops won't hurt!!

From 1638-1715, Louis XIV instigated the fashion and competitive consumption we see. At this time, consumption was basically only limited to the elite people and upper class members, as stated by Yuniya Kawamura in her book, "Fashion-ology." She discusses how only the elite were able to afford all the wonderful things in the fashion world whether it was clothes, accessories, or other goods. However, in the world today, I have noticed that consumption is no longer just limited to the elite, but that it has opened up to anyone and everyone that is willing to spend their money on these delightful things. Although anyone is able to buy the different things they desire to own, most of the more expensive products are still only available to the upper class because of the price the stores are asking for. Sometimes the prices are so outrageous such as LV, Coach, etc, that middle class people aren’t always able to afford these things and so these products stay open mostly for the upper class elites. However, at the same time, I have noticed that even if middle class people are not able to always afford the luxuries their hearts desire, I find that some people still purchase the things they want whether they can afford it or not. Because consumption has become such a big thing, it’s to the point where people don’t really care or think about if they can afford things or not. Instead, they think about how much money they earn, if they spend less money on other things such as food (the necessities) they would technically be able to afford it. They feel that in order to keep up with the latest trends they need to have everything and anything that will put them in the "elite" category even if it means spending all their money on just a bag.

At the same time, some of these people who do not belong to the upper class elite category realize that all the things they want, they can’t always afford and therefore must find other means to get these products for a cheaper price. These people then turn to peddlers on the streets who are selling fake look-a like bags/shoes/etc that sell for a much cheaper price but still look the same. Whenever I go to Hong Kong with my mom, she always takes me to these side streets where tons of people have little carts open and sell things for a really cheap price. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought these products were real. They look SO much like the real thing!!! The purposeful mistakes they make (which then make them fake) are so miniscule that you would really think you’re buying the real thing. It’s amazing to see how many people shop at these places just to get something that looks like the real thing, but isn’t. Many people turn to these things because they know they can’t afford the real one, but want something that looks like it so people will assume they’re in the upper class category.

After reading these articles, I realized that since the early times, consumption has opened up pretty much to anyone, including me. And sadly, I have fallen into the traps of buying things time and time again without fail. Everytime I see something that I just "have to have," I justify my reason for getting it, then I buy it. Although I am working on my compact challenge, I still feel the urge to buy things every time I go to the mall. Although for the past few weeks I haven’t purchased anything, I still have that feeling inside me telling me to buy "just one pair of flip flops. It couldn’t hurt!" However, even though I have managed to hold out on buying things, I feel that the urge to buy things gets stronger every week. Hopefully overtime, the compact challenge won’t be such a challenge and that I’ll start to watch what I buy more naturally.

Steph Hirsh
Blog #4

Kawamura, Yuniya. "Fashion-ology" New York. 2005, 2006. pages 89-103.
Pallay, Jessica. "A Crowded Street as Streetwear is Disseminated into the Mainstream, What Will Become of an Unerground Movement?" Fairchild Publications, Inc. 2/12/2007.

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