Let’s TALK: Brand Pressure at Penn


Let’s TALK: Brand Pressure at Penn

The average adult is exposed to almost 3,000 advertisements daily. However, these ads are not only on TV, the radio, or the internet:  they’re on our clothes, bags, computers and phones. As young adults, we’re still draped with the social pressures that come with being part of an academic institution. However, it seems that in many places, not only colleges and high schools, having something from a certain brand or designer gives its wearer a “popular” edge.

Valentino or Forever 21: Can you spot the difference?

Young people are both extremely impressionable and the biggest trendsetters. As a result, the desire for brand name appeal and designer couture usually starts when people notice their friends wearing it, and view it as not only a symbol of economic status, but also social status. I won’t lie–I am a victim of attraction to these brands too. I’m addicted to Apple, I love designer jeans, and I make a fairly large contribution to Tory Burch every year. However, when examining how much designer duds can cost, it makes me wonder: is it all really worth it?

Many of the most prevalent brands at Penn are hardly inexpensive. The shiny black Moncler parka seen scattered all over campus is one of the higher end, expensive puffer jackets on the market. On Locust Walk, one can spot as many handbags from Chanel and Balenciaga as you can from the more affordable Longchamp and Marc by Marc Jacobs.  Despite overwhelming prices, the popularity of these items creates a huge pressure and desire to own these products among many Penn students. Part of this might come from the status that certain items give as they serve as statements of wealth and equate people with those of celebrity status.

Moreover, despite how much such designer gear can cost, there are many less expensive alternatives. Places like Urban Outfitters, Topshop, and Forever 21 have their own hidden gems–while perhaps they aren’t quite the same quality, they can look just as great:  sometimes you don’t need the designer name tag to find something that looks just as cool.  For instance, you can score a black studded purse from Forever 21 for about $28.00 this season that looks strikingly reminiscent of a Valentino bag that costs about $2,000.

What’s important to remember is that anything can look like a million bucks with a little creativity–it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it!

-Jordan Hillier

Images courtesy of Connected NomadLyst.com and Intheircloset.com .


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