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Commentary By: Nicholas Rodriguez, Camden Academy Charter High School, Camden, N.J.
In today’s day and age, modern teen fashion has become something that might seem unrecognizable from what it was just a little while ago. It has evolved in the sense that it has been more about the clothing’s sense of unity and cohesion rather than name brands and expensive material.
This new wave of fashion allows youth to dress and express themselves through clothing rather than the alternative that wants people to wear what’s new and trendy and criticize everyone who doesn’t wear those things. This leads the youth to be scared to dress how they want and make them feel like they need to conform to society’s norms.
More and more teens have been thrifting and trying to find clothes that fit their style and aesthetic while also being comfortable and cheaper, finding what clothes they want that are inexpensive rather than buying the name and designer brands just because it’s expensive. This is a huge improvement because not everyone has money to throw around, so having your sense of style while also being socially acceptable is a huge bonus compared to just buying expensive things.
Some people who have this “old sense” of fashion — wearing expensive name brands — are now being bashed for the brands they wear. This allows teens to dress how they want, expressing themselves, and knocking down social norms. This is a huge leap in progress and acceptance.
Men can paint their nails, wear dresses and wear makeup, and still be accepted and praised. This also extends to women. They’re not forced to wear feminine clothes and can wear more revealing or masculine clothes and also have nontraditional accessories or hair styles. I know many people that dress how they want and wear what they feel comfortable in and this only improves themselves. The way dressing boosts their confidence and strangers compliment the way they dress only adds to the positivity.
Teens are also being more thoughtful about a brand’s background. They research what the brand supports and its beliefs and the way they impact their society and community. They believe more in supporting local and minority businesses rather than monopolized companies that don’t care about their communities. They don’t want to support a business that doesn’t deserve it and has immoral beliefs. This allows a sense of unity within local business communities and can also help recirculate money back into that same community.
This is a smart move since they’re not only supporting a small business that will probably have more hands-on knowledge than a huge business, but it also helps out the community as a whole. By handpicking local and ethical brands to buy from this enhances a precedent for other companies to follow to try to make more money, which would lead to further improvements.
By empowering others to show themselves through clothing and not just societies’ everyday clothes, this allows others to show their individuality and creativity. If I went to a party and I saw ten completely different girls dressed the same, that’s not a good sign of their individuality and creativeness, further proving my point by showing that they feel the need to conform to what others wear since “it works” and it can feel suffocating to do that all the time. They could prove that they’re different and show their true colors through what they are wearing.
If what teens are wearing is “odd,” then it’s a rather good improvement compared to teens feeling obligated to buy new and expensive clothes or shoes and pass them off as fashionable just because it’s expensive. This toxic culture of teens telling other teens what to wear isn’t healthy, and I know that we can do better by enabling others to accept who wears what. At the end of the day, what you wear isn’t the only thing about your image, and that’s a fact, but it can definitely help.
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