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.
It 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.