As Generation Z is flourishing, a big part of their lives seems to be brands. Teenagers have social media and access to the internet at their fingertips. This is gives brands such as Adidas, Vans, and Nike, the perfect opportunity to promote their clothing and products. Not only do they have billboards, commercials, and radio advertisements, but their logos are also plastered on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook which reaches teenagers on a daily basis.
Students at South Windsor High School have caught along to these brands and have even made it a trend to wear certain clothes or shoes. Walking down the halls, you might see people wearing black Vans, white Converse, or Thrasher hoodies. Students post to snapchat a picture of their outfit, showcasing what they wear as their #OOTD. Brands could be a possible factor in their ability to make new friends and the pressure that comes with it. Thatcher Richard, Junior, stated, “We create this idea that a certain brand is cool. Every teenager wants to fit in, even though it takes most of us more than the four years of high school to realize that fitting in is super boring.”
This supports the idea that brands are more than just a fashion trend for teenagers, they are a way of fitting in and being considered cool enough to their peers. For students stuck in the digital age, it can be harder to escape the pressures to buy certain things in order to be accepted. They are constantly surrounded by ads that tell them what is in and what isn’t cool. There have been viral videos on the internet that mock kids who don’t own what is in style. In June of 2015, it became popular on the internet for people to go around and take videos of them shouting “What are those?” at others who are wearing shoes that were considered to be “ugly.” Even though it was in a joking manner, it still emphasized the pressure of wearing the right things in order to fit in or be accepted by others. Not only are these brands being considered a form of pressure, but some believe it goes deeper than that, especially for girls.
Gianna Poggie, Senior, said, “I think in high school, especially when you first start out, you want to make friends and seem cool to other people so they like you. I think with girls especially, it doesn’t just happen with clothes but it also has to do with body image because there’s a pressure for us to look a certain way. Then if we like a boy that pressure grows because we want to look good for them.”
The idea that girls in high school feel they need to look a certain way to be considered beautiful or attractive, relates back to brands. If the popular girls who are getting their crushes attention are wearing name clothing brands like Adidas or Nike, then other girls will start to buy it too, in hopes to get what they have. Which leads to everyone abiding by the societal norms by buying and wearing the same clothes.
Yet, South Windsor High School isn’t different or odd for this. Every school has their own trends, but teenagers everywhere are learning how to be confident in who they are. If you go to the football games, students from the other schools are seen wearing some of the same brands as well. To some it may be a pressure, to others, it may just be what they like to wear. It happens at all schools to a certain extent, but here in South Windsor, it seems to be very relevant among our students. Next time you walk down the hallways or go to a basketball game, take a look.