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Generation Y Wears Prada

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mville chapter.

When Andy Sachs, a journalist, at one point walked into Miranda Presley’s office in the film The Devil Wears Prada, many of us may have cringed as much as Miranda did. That cerulean blue sweater, the black on black tights, skirt and shoes! It was not suited for the high fashion magazine she was representing. Andy lacked style according to the characters throughout the film, and it was not fitting since she was going to be working for Runway, the fictional magazine that in the real world is substantial and as notable as Vogue. Over the course of the movie, Andy becomes a fashionista and gets caught up in the fun yet competitive world we know as the fashion industry. Many often wonder if this is true. Is the fashion world made up to be as harsh as it seems? Must we walk the streets wearing Dior or Oscar De La Renta?

Young adults have been driving the fashion industry for years. This is due to the fact that they spend most of their time on social media, glancing at the pieces their favorite celebrities are wearing or what one of their favorite T.V. show characters enjoy. They also turn to movies like The Devil Wears Prada that showcases all these amazing designer outfits the actors get to wear. “I think the The Devil Wears Prada inspires girls to get into fashion because of the style, the fashion, the way it glorifies an already glamorous world..” says Diana Martinez-Gomez, a college junior who’s aunt actually works for Oscar De La Renta. “The movie takes most girls through a journey with a main character that most girls relate to, and they get caught up in all the fame and fortune of the world the same as with the character.”

This isn’t the only access many young girls have to a made up world of fashion. In the hit TV show Gossip Girl, which tells the scandals of Manhattan’s elite on the Upper East Side, fashion is the essence of the show. The main characters, who all come from wealthy families, have easy access to designer fashions and can afford it on the daily.

Laura Elebenseu, a college sophomore has recently started watching the show on Nexflix and can’t stop. “I’m currently on season 5 and it’s addicting!” she said. “It reinforces the fact that I want to go into fashion. The more exposure you get, the more it sinks into your brain. Especially when they go to fancy galas and wear these beautiful dresses it definitely influences you as well.”  The show focuses on these main characters starting off at a private high school which is why the show targets more of teenage demographic at first, but also the college demographic once the characters go to college. This is what influences many at a young age that they too can own these designer brands since the characters are the same age and own these things. “If they were in high school, I feel like they would easily believe ‘Oh I can have that and I should have that too.’ At that age people are still under their parents and their parents may not be able to afford that.”

We are a generation that grew up around reality television. Sometimes watching fictional shows doesn’t cut it for some of us. Reality T.V. for the most part is scripted, but is more realistic in most cases. It also has celebrity influences involved at times which makes it more addicting to watch. These celebrity influences also challenges us to update our wardrobe. Keeping Up With The Kardashians is the number one reality show on television. The Kardashian brand itself is worth millions and ranges from hair products to clothing lines. Even the step siblings, Kendall and Kylie Jenner have gotten in on the deal and are the latest craze among teenagers. Kendall, 19, and Kylie, 17, are dominating the teenage market with hair products, a clothing line with Pacsun and a shoe line with Steve Madden. Besides this, they are seen as fashion icons. “They wear all these amazing designer pieces.” says Roselore Marseille, a junior at Manhattanville College. “Kendall is my favorite because her outfits are so basic and still reach out to the young audience. She inspires me to update my wardrobe all the time, but I also know realistically I can’t afford all these designer pieces.”

Celebrity outfits have gotten so popular that there are websites dedicated to finding out where every outfit they are photographed in comes from. YouTube Creator Tess Christine launched a website called Celebspiration where she takes celebrity outfits and finds incredibly affordable clothing to recreate a similar outfit the celebrity may have worn. She was widely known on YouTube for her “Get the Look” videos where she would pick a celebrity and at least three outfits they wore and recreate them for less. On the official website she says “When I was younger I would pick out my favorite celebrity outfits and try to recreate them using my own closet. I would rock a “Gabriella Montez”-inspired look to school the next day and feel like a rock star. Finding a “Look for Less” outfit is now a favorite hobby of mine. Now, I get to share “Get the Look” posts with you using photos, video and original posts on Celebspiration.com.” She says, more particularly aiming towards her million subscribers who have been fans of her videos for ages.

While some people help people get the look, others feel the media doesn’t showcase the real fashion industry. Jacklynn Joncá, an aspiring fashion designer, expresses that television only glamorizes the fashion industry and it’s not what it seems. “It’s a lot of hard work. Although the end product of someone wearing your design is an amazing feeling, the industry is tough.” she said. “Many people are want to join the industry are misinformed by the media about the reality of it. It’s unfortunate.”

While the media can be a good influence for the fashion industry, it can also be bad. We as a generation hold standards to what we perceive what fashion is. We have individual styles, ideas and lifestyle. In the end, it is up to us to distinguish what is real and what is imaginary. 

Shanice Peters is a Senior at Manhattanville College. She is from Brooklyn, NY. She's a Creative Writing major with a minor in Marketing and Communications. In her free time she enjoys making YouTube videos about fashion and beauty, writing on her personal blog and watching Gossip Girl. She's excited to be the Campus Correspondent for Manhattanville and hopes to engage students in her last year.