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Creating Meaning And Identity Through Consumption

1220 words - 5 pages

Under the current capitalism society and material culture, people tend to form their identities through consumption, this means more than to consume products which are needed to survive, consumption can also link to self-identity formation and expression. People are imperceptibly influenced by the mass media that self-identity can be shaped and formed through consuming specific products. Therefore it can be said, fashion is an important element of identity formation. Young people are commonly feared of being seen as outdated and seek for acceptance from the peers and the society. According to Erikson’s theory of personal social and personal development adolescences and young adults see peers as a critical influence, acceptance of peers can lead to security of identity and self-esteem. This essay is going to examine how young people shape or form their identities through the consumption of fashion. Youths tend to shape their identity through different styles or ways of dressing, differentiate themselves from others and express their feeling or identity through fashion.

Young people need more attention or acceptance from others comparing with people at other stages, as youths are experiencing a process of being adults. The formation of identity can be exemplified through fashion. Young people tend to establish their identities through the way they dress. As Hall,S (1997) stated, visible objects, like clothes may have a simple physical function, that is to cover the body and protect it from weather, however clothes also have a function which can double up as signs, which construct a meaning and carry a message. Fashion can also be a language that makes clothing possible become a self-communicative device at our disposal, plays a significant role in the production of personalities (ibid.). Clothing become to serve as a kind of visual representativeness for identities since clothing include what is most closely attached to the material self which frames much of what we see when we see another and dress is seem to be a capable, special and immediate capacity to present and say things about self (Davis, 1992). It can also be said, a very large part our identities-our sense of who and what we are-take shape in terms of how we balance and attempt to resolve the ambivalences to which our natures, our times, and our culture make us heir. (Davis, 1992). As Cameron,D (2000), did a research about the youth fashion in Japan, she interviewed few young people who are about 18 to 20 years old about the street fashion. Some young people even claimed, “it is not worth looking at someone who’s not fashionable. Young people are easily influenced by peers and the media. Acceptance form peers or society and maintain self-esteem is critical for youths’ adolescent, therefore they would usually follow the trends of fashion and build up their identities with objects in order to avoid being teased or left out.

In the process of identity-formation through fashion,...

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