C Magazine

Is it worth it?

Teenagers today spend hundreds on designer items. But do they spend it for the right reasons?

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In the 19th and 20th centuries, fashion designer brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dior have succeeded in changing the way that fashion is used to express emotion, personality, individuality and taste. These upscale brands have been promoted by fashion magazines, celebrities and fashion shows. However, with these brands comes the image of superiority and giving people the opportunity to show their wealth.

As we examine how these brands have made their way into society, it is important to recognize how teenagers have been grasped by these designers. In the Bay Area, many teenage girls rock their Hermes bangles, Louis Vuitton accessories and Gucci belts. With the knowledge that trends become archaic and that teenagers grow up, why do we spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars on these materialistic items?

As someone who bought a Gucci belt last month, I became curious as to why I made that choice. Yes, I thought it was cute. Yes, it would add flash to my outfits. But was it really worth a $500 price tag? If the tag read $15, would I still buy it? As I pondered  over these questions, I began to question why I spent $500 on something used to hold up my pants.

After conversing with my peers, I came to the conclusion that people might buy these items for a sense of clout and hype. Purchasing designer brands display wealth and the ability to afford such items, and the items provide an outlet to show it off.

Emulating the celebrities that squander their affluence is, in this materialistic society, a way of showing power. The truth is, when the public sees celebrities dressed in designer items,  the difference between the haves and the have nots are almost instantly noticeable. It creates a sense of “hype” around the article of clothing and people are always talking about it.

I acknowledge that I am a teenage girl living in Palo Alto and have the privilege of being able to buy these items, but I can’t help but question my own consumerism. Honestly, I am unsure of what makes these designer brands so attractive and why I succumb to spending hundreds of dollars on objects whose merit comes from reputability rather than value. Is it because I crave the attention? Is it because I need some sort of social validation that I am trendy? The truth is, I will never truly know.

Photos by Ryan Gwyn

Photos by Ryan Gwyn

Photos by Ryan Gwyn

Photos by Ryan Gwyn