Historical and Contemporary Issues

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1811 Words
Date:  2022-11-20

The society establishes fashion trends based on its evolving characteristic culture and beliefs. Therefore, fashion is a refreshing and evocative concept that that portrays the instinctive and the evolutionary nature of a particular society. In the societal setting, a person's appearance acts as the ticket and the means to transmit no-verbal communication signals that include values, lifestyle, and stature. Fashion communication is subject to changes that defines feelings and the expression of emotional experiences through the implementation of interactive dress codes (Ritzer and Jurgenson, 2010, 17). The success of any fashion trend depends heavily on the society's interpretation and the judgment of the trends. Social acceptance, measured by various motivational forces that underline the people's behavioral traits and values, measures the impact of fashion.

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In the contemporary setting, aspirationalism, which aims at diminishing the gap between the rich and the poor, defines the consumer culture on matters fashion and the adoption of ensuing trends. A great example is poor person in China or any other country saving substantially (for about six months) to purchase a Louis Vuitton (LVMH) handbag. Additionally, the economically volatile may access loan facilities or cash liquidity offered by different financial (nationalized and private) institutions to purchase trendy items such as the LVMH handbag or iPhone S to keep up with the changing sense of fashion. Extension of such a trend is possible since various fashion houses and brands do extend their products to the clients on credit basis. Today's youth have a predictable audacity that encompasses venturing out, the tendency to shop, and high levels of experimentation that are integral to the creation of new fashion trends. The globalization of the world due to the impressive technological connection is responsible for diminishing the geographical distance between continents and nations, which then eradicates the constraints that prevented people form reaching out and witnessing fashion trends and experiences (Bauman, 2007). Currently, the common urge among the young people is to dress up in the latest fashion, pots the picture on the available social media platform, and then get the much-needed appreciation.

In the current context, the consumerist of Top to down approach is irrelevant. Fashion goes beyond the conventional consumption model and it is inconclusive to imply merely that it signals a particular social position. People do not follow the trends set by the rich and the famous, but seemingly have a prevalent lifestyle and attitude responsible for the choice of what they wear. Experience and knowledge evidently drive today's world since they provide an opportunity for ordinary people to appreciate the moment that may not be in harmony with their financial status. Conversely, the rich are not the only people superior in the appreciation of tastes and preferences. In today's fashion world, the rich and the economically vulnerable have the chance to compete on an even platform. In fact, the new front of competition is between the knowledgeable and the fashion-ignorant.

Consumption as Manipulation

Products perception is one of the high-rated parameters that marketers and producers look for since their objective is to appeal to the identity and self-image of the consumers. The assumption is that the more an individual attempts to search for recognition and approval in the world the more the advertisements and the products establish the path to convince and to persuade the potential consumers and the consumers to feel good about their choices. The cognitive and the behavioral perspectives of consumption in the fashion industry mainly perceive consumption form the rational perspective (Ritzer and Jurgenson, 2010, 27). However, a formidable fraction of the consumption decisions depends largely on irrational behavior. It is worth noting that the manufacturers and the advertisers of fashion merchandise mainly apply psychoanalytic concepts to formulate unconscious desires into the mind of the consumers. Such a creation permits the selling of their products not because the consumer needs the said product but because the products make them feel better about themselves. That is because the psychogenic needs among the humans are not inborn or innate but are learnt, meaning that the marketers will certainly succeed in their endeavor if the marketers adopt cognitive theories and techniques of behaviorism. In retrospect, the objective of the marketers is to manipulate human needs for various reasons that include affiliation, power, status, and recognition. For example, car brands such as Mercedes, Range Rover, or BMW area reserve of the wealthy. It means that people, even the economically vulnerable, will purchase such brands to belong to the class of the rich and wealthy.

Consumer behavior is an integral part of human life, especially to the marketers whose objective is to manipulate the psychological perceptual process involved in the consumption and the purchase of products. Perception has profound influence in the manner people make sense of the external environment (Featherstone, 2007). For example, when an advert of a given product such as BMW car model associates it with the rich and the classy then people will definitely strive to purchase such a brand for the purposes of status and prestige. In this regard, the psychoanalytic perspective is quite important in determining and the subsequent understanding of the consumerist society that often leads to the development of narcissistic consumer personalities. The concept of consumerism is an applicable method in manipulating the masses. The secret is to link the products to the consumers' unconscious desires to make purchase even the products that they do not need, which is consistent with Freud's psychoanalytic theories. The application of such theories in the 1920 in the United States (USA) led to the creation of desire-based consumer culture that then led to a strategy of persuading the masses to purchase products. The aim was to create a stable society based on the ideas of capitalism and democracy through mind manipulation.

The creators of the system wanted to utilize consumption to create democratic values. Conforming to such social norms, even unconsciously, they would use ego to strengthen the modern consumerist society. The main shortcoming of such a system is that it influences psychological health by creating a false self while eroding the true self. The effects are deep considering the low self-esteem present in the post-modern society since most people strive to boost self-image instead of promoting the quality of life. Essentially, the concept of consumerism is the theory of consumption that leads to attachment to materialistic values. The impact is that it turns the human body into objects of consumption viewed through the minds and the eyes of the designing marketers or marketing companies. The manipulation of the consumer culture led to the creation of insatiable consumption of different brands that convey the identity and the social position of the consumer to exert power and authority.

Consumption as Communication

Sociologist Thorsten Veblen introduced the concepts of conspicuous consumption to describe the consumer behavior of the lifestyle of the upper class since they mainly purchased goods and services as matter of need or necessity, but to indicate their status and wealth (Calefato, 2004, 1). Inconspicuous consumption may currently be on halt for the majority of individuals due to the high cost of living in most developed countries especially the United Sates and the United Kingdom. Conspicuous consumption refers to the practice of purchasing services and goods as a way of displaying wealth publicly. It goes beyond covering the necessities. It is concept of consumption that is a reserve of the wealthy and the rich. The Theory of the Leisure Class, developed by Veblen, posits that conspicuous of specific items is dynamic and that it only last for a given period since people will find other ways to create and display wealth. The different examples of conspicuous consumption include but not limited to luxury cars, designer clothes, and expensive jewellery. Conspicuous consumers purchase the mentioned products, which are too expensive for the other members of society. Advertisements play a credible role in presenting or placing the items as luxurious and they belong to a given class of consumers. In most cases, the products are exclusive, elegant, or tailor-made.

Inconspicuous consumption refers to the type of purchase or consumption in which the brand signals tend to be subtle to most consumers. In other words, it lacks overt display of wealth or status, as is often the case with conspicuous consumption. The consumers in this category tend to use luxury brands in covert manner. It is mostly common in China where the consumers do not favor the display of wealth. It encompasses the consumption of luxury brands without openly displaying opulence or flamboyance. Such category of consumers has fantasy lifestyles, tends to appreciate function and aesthetics, and is wealthy yet they do not like to invoke emotions such as envy from other people. In addition, they lead towards differentiating themselves from the masses by employing subtle signals that are mainly observable to people with the necessary knowledge to decode the meaning of the products they wear or own. Such a type of consumption displays the consumer's reflective identities that include fantasized, privately held, partially public, and privately fantasized identities.

Consumption, Taste, and Class Struggle

Pierre Bourdieu's Theory of Consumer Taste Formation does not conform to the conventional notion that consumer taste is because of innate or individualistic choices that stem from human intellect. The theory posits that humans are a product of social conditioning and that the consumption of a given product represents the hierarchy set and subsequently maintained by the socially dominant class (Bocock, 1992, 125). The main objective is for the dominant class to set themselves apart from the other classes present in the society. Therefore, the theory stipulates that taste is a weapon used by the wealthy and those that occupy higher echelon to define or to guard their position on various matters that include cosmetics, newspapers, food, and drinks. Additionally, they also use music, literature, clothing, home finishing, and art. The higher class also has a unique selection in food and the realm of leisure activities.

It is worth noting that the correlation between structure and agency is not oppositional but rather it is dialectical. The consumption realm presents a field of power struggle of relationship. In that particular field, an individual's position is determined by the amount of capital in their possession, meaning that the people who have more capital occupy the higher class. Economic and cultural capitals are the most important forms of capital in that field. For example, the rich and culturally informed have the ability and the information to purchase luxurious items, which the economically vulnerable may not be in a position to afford or even imagine. Notably, cultural capital refers to abilities, skills, experiences, knowledge, linguistic competence, vocabulary, modes of speech, and the perception about the world (Sassatelli, 2007, 98). Cultural capital is generally tenable through socialization in a sub-culture, different class, and neighborhood. Additionally, the reinforcement is by the prevailing intuitional forces such as churches, parole boards, welfare systems, and schools. Therefore, the...

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Historical and Contemporary Issues. (2022, Nov 20). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/historical-and-contemporary-issues

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