On the Globalization of Fashion

Recently, I decided to become a more politically-informed and independent young woman who knows exactly where she stands on such important matters like climate change and globalization.  For example: am I for globalization or against it? In many aspects, I applaud the process in which a business or company starts operating at an international level. On the other hand, I fear globalization forces a loss of cultural identity while promoting a shift towards a homogenized lifestyle. Could the entire world one day be a gigantic strip mall? More frightening still: if the world is one gigantic strip mall, will everyone be wearing the same clothes?

Now here I go again —getting ahead of myself! Before I can address my concerns for the globalization of fashion, I must further demonstrate my complete and total indecisiveness towards the matter in general. Quite simply, if involving something I absolutely love and support, I’m pro-globalization; if involving something I absolutely abhor and despise, I’m anti-globalization. Let’s turn to the food industry to illustrate these sentiments. When I lived in Spain, a visit to Barcelona sparked squeals of teenage-like glee when I discovered the globalization of Starbucks. Fair away from the US, a white chocolate mocha frappachino was like a comforting bowl of macaroni and cheese. It was nice to know that I can be in any part of the world and walk into a Starbucks and be greeted by the same reassuring couches, smiling service, and yummy coffee drinks. But when I encountered a Burger King being built across the street from Cordoba’s ancient and unique Muslim Mosque/Catholic Cathedral, tears of worry filled my eyes. How will American tourists ever be able to enjoy local cuisine when they are given the option of their favorite fast food joint? If I don’t want to eat the same hamburgers everywhere I go, do I want to be able to purchase the same pieces of clothing? I don’t think so.

Back in November, when many a Bay Area fashionista was eagerly awaiting the San Francisco opening of the trendy-but cheap Swiss fashion outlet, H&M, I sat mournfully in front of my closet acknowledging the the end of an era. First Zara, now H&M, what next? Why are all of my favorite European brands jumping on the globalization bandwagon and shifting towards domination of the American market? Several years ago I was a member of an elite few: a group of highly international shoppers who purchased clothes outside the US, making me that much more original. I could wear a H&M blouse and know that the chances of someone wearing the same top at a frat party in Berkely were non-existent. In my primary-colored striped slacks from Zara I used to stand out, innovative and exclusive, in sea of designer denim. If I absolutely love and support fashions to its most extreme, how come, in terms of style I am anti-globalization?

Source: Flickr User Paco Seoane

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