Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Dress Like America

Posted by emilyfalicaa on February 17, 2017

A Global History of Secondhand Clothing brought an incredible story to reusing clothing. The idea of it passing on history, scents, locations, and people through a single article of clothing turns shopping into poetry. Both of those a love. But the part that stood out the most to me is that secondhand clothing’s role in spreadable media is its hegemonic power. Hegemonic power is the ruling or dominant force in a political or social context and western ideas of fashion including hand-me-downs have a strong hegemonic power around the world.

In the U.S. we hundreds of different styles. Whether it’s literally wearing mom’s jeans (new or secondhand) or modern looks of holographic jumpsuits. But other countries, older ones, have their own culture and clothing that comes with it. While countries like China keep their traditional fashion in addition to modernizing to western clothes, a good deal of poor countries are having no choice but to have western fashion choices despite their culture. This is because of secondhand clothing being passed down from hegemonic power countries like the U.S. When we take collections of secondhand clothing to give to poor communities overseas, we don’t find stuff that fits their pre-existing style. We send our own clothes. Disaster relief crews take donations from Goodwill and religious groups. It is all modern clothing. Decades of this on end has influenced all these countries to buy into our style. It spreads the media or advertisement of these styles and it works because it comes from the largest hegemonic sources.


5 Responses to “Dress Like America”

  1. Sean Hull said

    The topic of clothing is also interesting in that it makes me consider how in the United States, most of us use clothing as one of our means of differentiating ourselves from others. We don’t have much “traditional” clothing left in the mainstream, and no matter how deeply entrenched one style or brand may seem, changes in trends will eventually ensure that nothing remains static for terribly long.

  2. faythleighann said

    That is a very good point. It’s just another way that western culture is forced onto other more traditional ones through mainstream media. Of course, it may not be intentional. Like you said when we donate clothes they are our own and, therefore, the recieving don’t have much of a choice to keep their traditional clothing.

  3. There are various styles of clothing in our society today, which stem from various generations. I find this concept to be very enlightening. For instance, I always found missellaneous generations styles to be very beautiful. The 1950’s style of tasteful elegance always caught my eye; on the other hand, the relaxed fit of retro t shirts and bell-bottoms from the 60’s and 70’s always appeared so aesthetically pleasing to my eyes. The choice is ours now. Your style is what you can make of it. In doing so, we are able to compliment ourselves by finding what best fits our own individual persona.

  4. emilychildress329 said

    The clothing essay was definitely my favorite essay to read. I like how you brought up the Hegemonic power because I never thought about it in that type of way. We do have many styles and companies that make the spread of fashion and clothing in such a high demand. I touched on this a little in my blog post because I do not think that people quite understand how important it is

  5. I really liked this essay and I wrote about it as well. I didn’t talk about how we do have so many styles but that’s definitely something to think about. That’s what makes fashion so popular and so spreadable. Also I think it’s interesting how styles can make comebacks from years removed. Style is super cool because in our society you can literally have any style you want and it’s accepted for the most part.

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