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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Stay within your style, avoid overindulgences

    To my right were scrawny, underage models replenishing themselves with champagne, cigarettes and strips of iceberg lettuce. To my left were baby, endangered animals, all leashed and ready to walk the runway with the designer.

    I was backstage at a New York fashion show. I remember thinking this can’t be reality. This behavior isn’t acceptable in the real world. But it is acceptable in the fashion world.

    Tomorrow marks the conclusion of the Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, a religious holiday in the fashion world, where hundreds of designers not only show their collections, but also bless fashion enthusiasts with the clothes they need to have six months from now. In addition to all of the shows, there are countless before, during and after parties, where no ID is required as long as you’re someone important, or at least look like someone important.

    While I enjoyed my small taste of this world and respect all of the hard-working people who comprise the fashion industry, I do think the industry and subsequent portrayals of it can be dangerous influences on the public.

    We all know the models are too thin, causing people to question America’s definition of beauty. We all know Tyra Banks is trying to be the next Oprah. But, what we rarely own up to is how we sometimes try to emulate the industry’s often lavish lifestyle.

    “Gossip Girl” is a TV series that portrays a taste of the fashion world. It’s a juicy and dramatic series about an elite group of college students living lives of luxury in Manhattan’s upper east side. They drink underage, wear only designer clothes and have never heard of the word “budget.”

    The UA and its surrounding nightlife is neither a part of the obscure fashion world, nor a part of the fictional “Gossip Girl” set.

    In Tucson, you don’t just walk into a bar because you’re attractive. To get in, you show your ID, pass the flashlight test and then answer a seemingly easy question. Despite this established protocol, thousands of freshmen and sophomores will still purchase fake IDs this year.

    At the UA, girls wear homecoming dresses to house parties. Going out to a party or a bar is no longer a casual affair; over the years, it has escalated into a semi-formal one. I see girls wearing six-inch stilettos going into a sports bar.

    Ladies, if you’re wearing those Christian Louboutin knock-offs because you love them and feel confident in them, then throw them on like J-Lo and strut your stuff. However, if you’ve been bitten by the fashion world or Hollywood’s depiction of it, and are only wearing them to scratch that itch to live like someone you’re not, then spare your feet the blisters. Do what comes naturally to you.

    Everyone has experienced living beyond their means. Whether it’s Bursaring a new iPad or buying those $300 jeans, we’ve all overspent on something. We’ve all purchased items because we want them, not because we need them. But when living beyond your means gets to a certain extreme, the overt materialism and superficiality starts to encompass people, so much so that they forget who they really are.

    The more we continue to compare our lives to the ones indicative of Manhattan fashion shows and Hollywood TV, the more it raises our standards to an impossibly high and unattainable level. In setting those kinds of standards, we are bound to be disappointed instead of appreciating where we’re at and who we are, at this point in time.

    — Kelly Hultgren is journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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