Sunday, September 27, 2009

Consumed for the Culture/Lifestyle or Simply Popularity?

As we have seen through the years in our culture, fashion has tended to reflect different subcultures such as hip-hop and latino. However, today brands in subcultures such as Sean Jean, Rocawear and more have reached incredible success, are becoming more and more competitive, but also have grown in popularity. I have to wonder if there is a slight part of the popularity factor due to the faces and the names associated with these brands. For example, Rocawear is owned by Jay-Z. Jay-Z is probably one of the most well known rappers/entertainer i
the music industry. Not only is he known for his musical talent, he is also known for his high profile relationship to music sensation Beyonce. His clothing line, Rocawear best known for its urban asthetic and hip-hop style, has grossed huge sales and is only growing among our culture. Recently, Ciara, a hip-hop, RnB singer has been the face of the line. Then you have P.Diddy as the face of Sean John. He goes above and beyond and is constantly marketing his clothing line, his musical ventures, his television shows, and more with any chance he can get. But I do believe a large part of the success is that his face is associated with the brand and that it does capture the culture well. So how much of the success is from their marketing and their promotion and how much of the success is the underlying knowledge of who owns the line, and who's the face of the line? Does this have a heavier impact/influence than we think? Do we take advantage of this and just acknowledge it as common sense? According to the reading, "Distinctions between subculture fashion and mainstream fashion have become increasingly blurred,"... "Many hip-hop stars have become fashion designers themselves, creating brands that market a range of styles that would otherwise be coded as upper-class fashion,"... "they form new kinds of negotiations over cultural forms and power," (82, Cartwright, Sturken). Clearly brands of subcultures such as Rocawear and Sean John have now become apart of mainstream fashion and in my opinion, I think it helps that the owner and much of the face of the label are the leaders of the hip-hop industry. I agree that this creates a new set of negotiations over cultural forms and power. This really demonstrates how influential culture can be and this incorporates all aspects of it: music, lifestyle, fashion, even the face of the brand etc. It all goes into a brand. It also gives meaning to the fact that class distinctions are being redefined everyday and what was once low class or a poorer class, has risen to new statuses.

(Pictures from Google Images)

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