- The United States is in a legitimization crisis. The American identity is influenced by a wide cultural range and assimilated diversity. With the new generations that are used to this exposure to different cultures, identities will increasingly portray a wide-spread of culture. Identity is discovered by a “process of monitoring their responses to the various styles that are brought to their attention “(Campbell, 19). This affects fashion consumption habits through the fact that Americans are addicted to novelty (Campbell, 11). People are addicted to trying new styles and are willing to pick and choose from different cultures. An example would be the brightly colored woven backpacks that hail from Mexico, but are now available to buy at Forever 21. With the wide diversity in the United States, this adoption of different cultural styles is probably done unconsciously.
- I would characterize myself as a perpetual mentalistic hedonist (Campbell,10). I day-dream about certain desires, however these desires never escalate towards making a purchase. Novelty purchases rarely give me a lasting sense of satisfaction. My purchases nearly 100% of the time stem from need not want. I cannot justify spending money on something that I do not need or would not use on a daily basis. Fabric is the only desire that I indulge. I have an excess of fabric, which I buy based on the countless ideas of projects which I never start. I have every intention of using every scrap I save or yard I buy on sale, yet time is against me. These novelty purchases don’t provide me with the full satisfaction of completed projects, yet they do provide me with inspiration for designs.
- Material goods symbolize status, which is not a modern concept. It is has only escalated over the past few decades, as the rise of consumption has grown to monstrous proportions. With the ease of consuming thanks to the internet, people are now able to experiment with different “identities” rapidly. However, as Campbell points out, consumers don’t necessarily “buy” their identities, they simply expose “their true self” by the choices they make with their consumption (pg 19). We don’t buy everything that commercials and the media throw our way. We gravitate towards the objects that appeal most to our personal aesthetics. Looking around you, these separate identities are visible, by the choices people are wearing, driving, or using. The danger is that we are so programmed to consume that we can’t distinguish our identity outside of our purchases. We don’t acknowledge that we have an active voice in our consumption, rather we’re led to believe it dictates us and it is solely what defines us in society.