Sunday, May 31, 2009
Why did you buy that?
As I read this weeks reading, while on a short family road trip to San Francisco this weekend, I set myself on a mission to pay close attention to the consumers at the San Francisco Centre Westfield Mall. I particularly wanted to focus on what consumers were buying and why consumers were purchasing certain products (was it because it’s currently in style or because it fit the individuals own style). My focus was due to something Kawamura said that stood out to me from our reading in Fashion-ology. “By focusing on public consumption as the definition of fashion, the role of conspicuous usage that is open to inspection by others is stressed. Fashion behavior entails some display of one’s preference hierarchy, some outward manifestation of inward evaluative judgments” (Kawamura, 2005).
Because of this particular quote I wanted to try and focus on the public consumption of fashion in San Francisco. While I was at the San Francisco Westfield Mall I randomly went up to four small groups of shoppers and I asked them all the same question; “What did you buy? Did you buy it because it’s currently in style or because it fits your own personal style?” Out of the four groups - two groups of graduate students, and two groups of middle aged shoppers – both groups of graduate students were buying clothes that were affordable for them and that they felt fit their own style, but were also in style. Where as the two older groups of consumers were buying more expensive clothes that they felt were well worth every penny because it makes them look professional.
Based on the answers I receive from the four groups, I came to recognize what Kawamura was saying; consumers base there consumption of fashion on the inspection of others, while also displaying there own preference hierarchy that is influenced by others. In addition, I also see how I have currently been taken out of the institutionalized system of fashion, because of my participation in the compact challenge. Lastly, I’d just like to say that although I have been to San Francisco plenty of times, I had never gone to any of the luxurious malls; so I wasn’t aware of the challenge I would have to endure from not buying anything, also I wasn’t aware of the plethora of expensive stores that awaited me.
"Fashion as an Institutionalized System." In Fashion-ology.
"Graduate student consumers group #1 interview." Personal interview. 31 May 2009.
"Graduate student consumers group #2 interview." Personal interview. 31 May 2009.
"Middle age consumers group #1 interview." Personal interview. 31 May 2009.
"Middle age consumers group #2 interview." Personal interview. 31 May 2009.