Teen Plays With Identity Brand by Brand

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NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)– Hello, my name is Chloe and I’m an American Apparel addict.

Before you ask why, let me tell you: it’s all about aesthetic. Right now, American Apparel is my identity — it’s my look, my brand, my cult. As a feminist I know the company is problematic but that doesn’t stop me from ending up in the neon lit store more than once a week — sometimes more than once a day. I’m aware that the founder sexually harassed his workers and exploited the models. I know the clothes are overpriced and cheaply made. But I can’t help myself from spending all my money there. My last trip was a $174 escapade.

The big problem isn’t that I throw personal ethics out the window when I’m shopping, it’s more that I believe that having a strong and consistent aesthetic is a way to show others how confident I am. It’s all bluff though, and the brand of my newfound personality changes often, which leaves me with too many clothes, no money and no identity.

Rees-Chloe-ReesIt started off with Juicy Couture in middle school — I was a little spoiled JAP, with tracksuits and oversized charm bracelets. I was pretentious and popular. The more I loved the brand, the more friends I had. What can I say, positive reinforcement works.

That’s the problems with brands. They give you a sense of a lifestyle, and it’s very easy to disappear between the folds of fabrics.

When I started high school, I moved from Juicy to Abercrombie. With Abercrombie I was hip, young and exclusive. I put myself on a pedestal and thought that people should be honored to be in my presence. I got a kick realizing that if treated myself like a celebrity, other people would too. They became intimidated by my aloofness. That was fun for a while, but then I was alone again with a closet full of extra small tank tops.

For the next me, my ego went down a couple of levels. I went pedestrian but groovy. I shopped at Urban Outfitters. This was my free lovin’ hippie stage. In my acid washed tops, I wanted to prove to everyone that I was open to anything: boys, girls, marijuana, acid. I was the hip, fun-loving teen who wanted desperately to like the Grateful Dead. I dreaded my hair (the one action I don’t regret) and turned myself into a rave, good time gal.

Trying to be a hippie was exhausting so I discovered American Apparel. This is my favorite look so far. It’s a little preppy, but short, cropped and shows enough skin for sex appeal. The American Apparel look is very Tumblr, very sad girl. Imagine I’m a girl holding a journal with pressed flowers and drops of blood. Yes, it’s the romanticisation of self destruction, but I like that edge. It’s sad but sexy.

You could call me vain but from my perspective beautiful people rule the world. All the famous women I know — excluding politicians — have a look. This look is alluring and makes people watch and follow her. That’s the power I want. I just hope I have a bigger closet by then.

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