Capitalist Conquest or Individual Identity

At first I didn’t know what to think about jeans. I had no clue they symbolized such things like social equality or the rejection of postwar suburban society. To me they are simple casual items of clothing. Casual and versatile, think about it what don’t you do in jeans? but thats why we all own so many different pairs. This got me thinking, can jeans be seen as some sort of capitalist conquest for brand name companies to get their names in each and every house hold in the US and get their hands into each one of our wallets? We buy so many pairs and most times, especially with us teens and the younger community, it’s not because its cheap or anything, it seems that these companies are succeeding in getting their names everywhere and are getting more power from not only the free advertisements we as consumers offer but also how popular culture, through different forms of media, reach out to us.. What I don’t understand is why. Is it because we see these sexy and beautiful people in the ads having fun at the beach or the park and our lives will get better when we wear these clothes? Brand name companies feed off of the free advertisement from their consumers and popular culture to become more powerful because one pair of jeans should not cost this (<– link) much money, or this (<– link) much unless they knew people would buy it.

You haven't lived until you wear these jeans?

Jeans however have evolved a bit and now become a statement of a person’s style. Similar to how they were in the 70s jeans have come back in so many different colors and fits. Blue, green, white, red, purple, skinny, slim, straight, boot cut, relaxed take your picks! Anything you pick or choose is a reflection of your individuality and style. With the variety that jeans have these days what fits and colors and also how you wear them can be really unique and anyone can create their own style. A person can express their individuality a lot better now a days and its a collection of the small things, like jeans, put together that creates that individual.

  1. thkoo said:

    Wow, I would never have thought of jeans as a form of media, but I think its a great way of looking at them. I’m so amazed at how you were able to think of jeans in this way! It’s really got me thinking! Indeed, brand name companies are like the Church, or any other group in power, who direct public opinion and make society believe that they are “official.” It’s kind of like the “unseen government” in Fahrenheit 451 because it causes people to police each other into wearing the “right” pair of jeans. People who deviate from wearing designer brads are often “criminalized” through social sanctions such as isolation, looks, etc. But, like you said, jeans come in a variety of styles and can also be used as a form of self-expression and individuality. It can also be used as a form of social protest to further democracy if one chooses to boycott designer jeans and not conform to a society in which commodities that cost an arm and a leg are highly valued. It’s also interesting how just like any other form of media, access to brand name jeans tend to be limited. Yet again, it is in the hands of the wealthy who can afford it. The prevalent desire among the middle-class to purchase such outlandishly expensive jeans may also be related to wanted to “appear” wealthy. Also, there are so many “high-quality” boot-legged “designer” jeans out there today that it’s easy to merely “skin” the rich. Ultimately, the obsession over designer items is just another sign that American society has been pervaded by consumerism. Like the article “How positive thinking destroyed the economy” suggests, many Americans may be willing to go into debt in order to appear rich out of the optimistic mindset that their financial situation will improve, they will be able to pay off their debt, and eventually actually become rich.

  2. You two are really on to something! thkoo’s reply here really gets at so much. What at first sounds like a conspiratorial statement from Hector, “can jeans be seen as some sort of capitalist conquest for brand name companies to get their names in each and every house hold in the US and get their hands into each one of our wallets?” now sounds pretty clearly part of how our consumerist culture has developed into a mind-set that’s deeply ingrained.. unless we start doing just what you two are doing, questioned how it got that way and why.

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