Fashion. It’s how we express ourselves and it’s our way to show the world who we are. People can dress up, dress down, wear jeans, dresses, or any type of clothing that allows them to share their individuality. It’s obvious what things are in and out of style, but the question is: does fashion define who we are as people?
Today’s society is in love with brand names and whether we acknowledge it or not, we let fashion influence us, even at DHS. The North Face, Uggs, Patagonia, Steve Madden, Hunter Boots, and Abercrombie & Fitch are just some of the brands the average DHS student may see when walking down the hallway.
“I try not to let clothes define people,” said history teacher Laurie Chiarito, “but occasionally it does.” We all have beautiful and unique personalities and there is no denying that the outfits and styles we wear reflects these personalities.
“I think fashion defines a person because it can mainly express an individual’s personality or attitude,” said junior Jordan Pinto. People often wear things based on who they are. For example, a student athlete might wear more athletic gear than a student who’s not interested in sports.
“You don’t have to choose fashion as a way to express yourself,” said freshman Colleen O’Boyle. She explained she loves her four pairs of Converse, but that shouldn’t define her as a person.
However, clothing and accessories can stereotype a person. For example, we both have black rimmed glasses, and we feel much more intelligent when we wear them. Physically putting on glasses doesn’t make us any smarter, but it can give off the illusion that we are.
Either way, do our glasses or anything else we wear define us? “It depends if you’re really in depth with fashion,” said sophomore Alice Goodman who said she does not allow fashion to define her. “I’m a multilayered person, like many Americans.”
“Fashion speaks for itself and defines a person without speaking,” said junior Annie Nguyen. “I feel like more people care about [fashion] at DHS though.”
Nguyen, who once attended New Bedford High, explained how the need to wear similar styles is more prevalent here than at NBHS. “It seems like everyone dresses alike and has the same style instead of being original,” she said.
Not only do certain styles “define” us, but at times we let brand names define us well.
When you walk into Macy’s there are obviously better parts of the store than others. As a society we are more drawn to the “better parts” where the products in style are being sold. An anonymous source said that when shopping at Macy’s, she would not look at any other shoe brand besides Sperrys.
“Brand names are a part of the culture we are growing up through,” said sophomore Lucy Schwartz. “It’s hard to buy a purse or shirt without someone else’s initials stamped onto it.”
Some people love brand names because it makes them feel better about themselves when they’re wearing it. That’s why it’s called retail therapy.
Sometimes, though, it’s not the brands that define us, but the confidence we have when we wear certain styles. “As for brand names, I don’t think they are important,” said Pinto. “Whether you’re wearing clothes from Target or Victoria’s Secret, it all depends on how you put an outfit together, and the confidence you have in a put-together outfit.”
It is true that everyone has different styles, and that is made evident through the choices we make in our outfits for school. However, sometimes people define us based on what we wear, which isn’t always a good thing. “If you dress inappropriately you will be judged for it,” said sophomore Owen Tavares.
We realize that fashion shouldn’t define us, but it does. Fashion is an ever growing industry and it gives us the opportunity to share who we are in a multitude of different ways.
“Fashion is important because it shows a level of self expression that is hard to reach nowadays,” said Schwartz. “The popular thing is to blend into the crowd, and fashion helps break that feeling.”