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How to Not Let NYFW and Consumerism Get Under Your Skin

By: Beren Sabuncu

We are subjected to societal perfection everyday, and we’re tired of it.

The epitome of societal beauty ideals grace the TV screens and runways alike during one of the most glamorous and detrimental events of modern day society–Fashion Week, and its more relevant sub-event–the New York Fashion Week.

New York is the birthplace of consumerism.

We’re taught and conditioned to want bigger, better and shinier; from Times Square to the quiet suburbs of Staten Island, consumerism is ever-present and ever-powerful.

What does the NYFW have in common with consumerism? The connection is stronger than you might think.

Consumerism has many effects on us as individuals and as a society.

On a more superficial level, consumerism is the reason why we never feel fiscally safe and secure.

Of course, one can’t solely blame a societally constructed belief for their fiscally irresponsible decisions.

Yet, consumerism is the primary reason why we buy the stuff on impulse.

It’s also the reason why you have 4 different variations of the same bag and why you always have a shopping list in your head at any given time.

A more dangerous effect of consumerism is that while we strive for outer greatness, we can’t be the vessels that advertisers create with false ideals of perfection.

Models represent the current societal ideals which are impossible to measure up to, as they’re not real.

The models however, are very real; the image they create, isn’t.

Hours of vigorous makeup and hair styling  goes into their image, more often than not; the models exhibit unhealthy behavior, being some of the victims of consumerism.

NYFW comes and goes in a blur.

It’s a beautiful celebration of art and fashion as many minds draw inspiration from it. Designers establish their brands, those established try to stay relevant as new brands enter the market everyday.

Fashion is a cut-throat business.

Perfection is expected from both the designers, and the models they employ during their shows.

Both want to prove themselves to the general public as artists, but consumerism is also about selling you the latest lifestyle.

Its main goal?  Your discontentment. Think about it.

When you’re discontent with your life, you try to look for false idols. That false idol, especially nowadays, tends to be expensive clothes/shoes/you-name-it.

Though your love of brands does not necessarily equate to you being unhappy with your life, you are certainly affected by consumerism.

Beyond brands, we are bombarded with the idea of perfect bodies.

Even with the current trend of inclusivity for all body types, the models you see on the runway are absolute societal perfection.

They are the “right kind” of thick, “right kind” of muscular and the “right kind” of skinny.

It’s difficult not to get swept up by the seemingly perfect women and men parading in shiny new designs.

They tend to be taller, thinner, thicker, more muscular. Their skin is spotless, hair shiny and now you’re looking at your body thinking, “Maybe not eating for a few days is not that bad of an idea.”

Though I personally disagree, it’s possible that society does not think everyone is beautiful in their own way.

It’s like there is this silent agreement amongst us. We know who is the “right kind” of beautiful. We worship beauty.

How does one fight a thought embedded in our everyday lives? By being aware of it and actively combatting it.

Zendaya once said to Popsugar, “There is no such thing as ugly. That’s a word that doesn’t really enter my vocabulary. If there’s any definition to being perfect, you’re perfect at being yourself. No other person can be you 100 percent; no one has your fingerprint; no one has your DNA.”

The fact is, you will never be perfect. You will always be you.

It’s so important to accept yourself for who you are. It is normal to want to better yourself, but keep in mind that your idea of “better” is trying to be shaped.

Don’t let yourself fall victim to false idols. Don’t let yourself be another cog in the wheel.

Be aware, keep being you and stop wanting other people’s lives. Live the life you have to the best of your abilities.

Those who do, make consumerism tremble in their shiny new boots.

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