The Be Green Challenge is finally over! I am happy to say that after the first break in the pact, I did successfully last the remaining 3 weeks. As anticipated from the very first day, being at school, I was too busy to shop. My money was all spent on food, so I am relieved that food did not fall under the challenge's restrictions. Due to my lack of spending on anything else, I realized how much I spend on food. Perhaps, I will try to cut down on my food expenditures as well.
Speaking of consumerism, in Chapter 6 of Fashionology, "Adoption and Consumption of Fashion," Kawamura discusses consumption and social status. Consumerism is vital to today's society, and material possessions are indicative of social standing. People create, copy, and consume objects considered "fashionable" by mainstream society. Knock-offs and other forms of imitation have made the gap between upper and lower class has gotten smaller and smaller. Between the availability of copycats and the mixing of high and low fashion in all socioeconomic tiers, it is getting harder to tell whether someone is a casual-dressing celebrity or an aspiring fashion blogger with their most-prized, most-expensive bag.
There has been a shift from class fashion to consumer fashion, and according to Crane, clothing is less important than the frames used to sell it, "consumers are no longer perceived as 'cultural dopes' or 'fashion victims' who imitate fashion leaders but as people selecting styles on the basis of their perceptions of their own identities and lifestyles," "the consumer is expected to 'construct' an individualized appearance from a variety of options," and "clothing styles have different meanings for different social groups" (Kawamura). "Fashion" can range from designer labels to vintage thrifting.
Magazines and websites are both offering readers "Splurge vs. Steal" options for how to dress like their favorite celebrities. In an article from Celebuzz! Fisher helps readers replicate a look from Kim Kardashian. The price drops from $21,000 to $350 for a single outfit, other articles are able to drop the prices even lower, some offering options as low as $50. With articles like this one and the rising popularity of thrift shopping, consumers are able to dress like an A-lister without shelling out an exorbitant amount of money.
Overall, this class and this challenge have made me more aware of consumerism not only in the United States but worldwide. I am disappointed that I was not able to avoid consumerism for all 4 weeks; however, I am glad that I was able to gain more insight during the pact and get a better understanding of the fashion industry.
Kawamura, Yuniya. "Adoption and Consumption of Fashion." 2005. Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies. New York: Berg Publishers.
Fisher, Kendall. "From High End to Low End: Get Kim Kardashian's Look for Less." Celebuzz!