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Standing out or Fitting in?

The influence of
celebrity culture in the fashion industry.

Today, the relationship between celebrities and consumers within society can be explored by analysing
how trends are created, portrayed, worn and then commercialised in the industry. With new technologies
aiding consumers in developing a more personable relationship with fashion, the following literature
review studies the impact celebrities have on determining consumer spending behaviours. Past and
present celebrities of all levels are identified as being able to impact consumer behaviours,

Celebrities of the past shaping the diverse future of fashion


A celebrity of the past can be identified as an influencer to the fashion industry as they are an artist, a
religious or royal family member, or a well-known personality in their community. With the focus largely
being on women, many may have chosen to stand out and influence others as a quest for power, whilst
some may have had a likeable personality that made other citizens desire what they had. We can look
back at past influencers like Marie Antoinette, Princess Diana or Anna Wintour, and look at women a bit
closer to todays era too, for example, Britney Spears. Each woman listed refined fashion in their time, for
either good or bad. It was considered by Church Gibson (2013) that Britney Spears was characterised
within contemporary new media as white trash, contrasting how citizens perceived what Princess Diana
wore, with fashion designers immediately re-creating the look for consumers to purchase. What is it that
makes a consumer relate to one celebrities style as more desirable than anothers? What was it about
women of the past influencing and determining the fashion industry in the future?

Fashion determining status


Other media outlets have also partaken in the portrayal of fashion determining status for women. Simon
(2014) recalled a moment in the movie the Silence of the lambs when Hannibal Lector presumes Clarice
Starlings income, class and aspirations by noting only the brand and condition of the shoes she was
wearing. Simon (2014) then argues with regards to the history of women and fashion. She believes that
women moved from the domestic sphere, into the marketplace and ultimately transformed into
consumers. Mass production made formerly luxurious items available to all status devaluing them as
indicators of the upper class and merely observing was not all that women did.

Womens rights in a diverse world


The last 50 years has seen women rights come to the forefront, and the fashion industry can continually
improve on this. In a world where many look at fashion as being a main interest for women, objectifying
and judging their fashion choices, it appears hypocritical that many fashion houses have been previously
ran by men.
An article by White (2013) discussing female sexuality and culture exposes the consequences of being
female in a predominately male cultural movement, hip-hop.
In essence, when objectification occurs, the female body is seen as a decorative object that is used as
part of the scene for the advertised products or services. Given the fact that women are often viewed as
objects of desire for men, objectification can be fueled by gender stereotypes focusing on their sexuality
or sexual attractiveness (White 2013, p. 609).

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