Fashion Brands and Social Labels, Especially in Adolescence
If we were to travel the world and visit underdeveloped societies, as anthropologists often do, for example, a tribe on an island in the Indian Ocean where the white man's eye is still unaccustomed to the sun, we would quickly discover that such societies have their own unique visual ways of labeling themselves to indicate who is who to those who are unfamiliar with them.
Prepubescent girls may wear a necklace of a particular color, while married women may have a distinctive tattoo on their hands.
A wealthy man with multiple wives may wear a particular type of decoration or weapon, while a poor man will have something else. Similarly, a young unmarried boy will have other social symbols that society has chosen to identify him with. These societies have clear visual codes that identify people in a matter of seconds.
This exists in traditional societies, such as Muslim societies, which place great emphasis on women's modesty. In such societies, a woman who has reached puberty and lives in a traditional society that adheres to religious values will be covered from head to toe to maintain her modesty. Other societies that adhere to clear ethical and social codes do the same, especially in societies that live by a particular religion. Such societies are interested in tagging a person according to their clothing and a particular database of codes that exist in that society. This begs the question of how much we have progressed or changed from this.
The answer is that we have not changed much at all. Even in seemingly advanced Europe in previous centuries, "the garment made man." Merely looking at someone on the streets of Paris in the 18th century was enough to know who they were, their socioeconomic status, and sometimes even where they lived and what they did.
At that time, society was unequal and undemocratic by necessity.
It is interesting to take the same equation that says you can look at a person and know who they are and what they do only by their outward signs and see how it works in the modern global society. Surprisingly, not much has changed. What has changed is the emphasis on developing unique features for a local society that has been greatly diminished.
The same tagging still exists today, and the ways to do it have become more sophisticated. Today, branding does an exceptional job of this. The same brands are available worldwide, and they are developed globally.
The same socioeconomic codes are familiar and known to everyone in the global world of adults, where everything is open. Almost every brand in the modern fashion market tries to classify itself socially and economically into a particular niche that should be its target audience. There are endless brands, each appealing to the same niche, but we are all trying to resemble what we think is beneficial. For example, Perry Ellis and Christian Lacroix products know their future clientele and purchasing power, and the design reflects that.
Society tries through brands to resemble its admiration terms, which symbolize power, money, and success. These brands have a concept of good taste and high-quality products with proper design. Those who "did it financially" buy the same brands, trying to resemble those they admire.
There are additional classifications, and many brands appeal to the middle class, the social layer that today has the most purchasing power. This society dictates standards beyond the symbols discussed earlier. They demand comfortable, wearable, useful, and especially high-quality fashion given the need for product reuse rather than as a disposable garment. The same society also makes demands for innovation, freshness, and especially beauty.
It is true that these statements aim to create a "flat" society, free from unique classifications and personal expression of choice and private taste. However, in practice, this is not entirely accurate. With the broad and nearly infinite supply available in the market today, anyone can truly choose what suits their character, occupation, and personal taste in fashion, and define their fashionable needs accordingly. Yet, when someone says they purchased a product from the Santa Barbara Polo Club or "Marilyn Monroe" brand, they are indirectly making a statement about themselves, and society around them knows how to label them in a sophisticated way. The same is true for youth companies, where things are more sharply defined than the perception of age.
Teenagers can identify who they are by the brand they are wearing. Are you in business, "cool", acceptable, do you follow dominant trends, and so on? At this age, the desire to belong to a society is one of the strongest, and young people define their identity through this. For example, in some societies, those who do not have the "Acer" brand simply do not "count." The same is true for brands such as Slazenger or Overtime Brand, which are unique to the surfer society. Even those who are not surfers want to be perceived as such. Like many other social trends, it is difficult to judge the phenomenon in terms of desirable, good, and bad.
However, it is essential to see and admit the dimensions of the matter. Those who have recognized the potential of the brand market are people seeking opportunities for a comfortable and safe financial investment. Today, companies like G.L.G- Holding ltd. offer brands for marketing and distribution to any potential applicant, with guaranteed economic success. Wise investors recognize this opportunity and embrace the option of brand licensing with both hands.