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The Recession, Affluenza and (kind of) Fashion.

February 8, 2009

To describe affluenza you are describing something somewhat similar to the common flu virus. As a highly transmittable social illness that results in symptoms of exhaustion and depression, it is easy to see why people are in dire need of a cure. Yet unlike the common flu virus, the cure afflueza’s subject seeks is not available through prescribed medication, but through consumption.

By seeking refuge in consumption, the symptoms of affluenza are magnified. The subject is led to desire to consume more and more in a continuous vicious cycle, as a result, sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with fashion, well let me explain!

Obviously, fashion is not a necessity of our lives, it is something which we desire, but can live without. It is capitalism which has installed our need for these desires through consumption, and it is consumption which restrains capitalism from destruction. .

In relation to an era with no recession and how our desires are controlled by capitalism, when we see our favourite celebrity or favourite designer promoting a specific item, we are more likely to desire this item. It’s all about keeping up with our peers. When this gets out of hand and affects our day to day lives, then this is affluenza.

It is affluenza which our capitalist western society desires, and through adverts, magazines and other media, it helps to sustain. What I ask is with the collapse of our economy in the recession, what affect will this have on affluenza and consumption?


This Image was taken from

Obviously we have already seen some affects, the decline of businesses and the fall of profits, people are resisting their battles with affluenza because they have to in order to survive, or are they?

Could it be that capitalism can control our consumption so significantly through clever advertising and the media coverage of the recession enough to slow down or even stop our feelings of lack and dissatisfaction?

Day after day we see stories on the news about the closing of businesses and high unemployment levels in our country. Interest rates are being cut and high street sales are never ending. Yes, we may be kept informed, but we are also scared to spend, scared to consume.

Before the recession capitalism fed its population consumption, people were given more credit than ever before, with 100% mortgages and credit cards galore. Just as in severe cases of affluenza, we now find ourselves in debt, and so does capitalism. So does this mean capitalism has become victim of affluenza itself? Quite possibly, in my opinion, greed and desire got the better of the economy and now it has to pay the price.

Yet whilst we are in this recession we are also being encouraged to spend as if we do not consume, capitalism would collapse. As we are currently witness to in this recession, it is the consumer who is being encouraged to spend by the government to save our high street stores from administration.

So basically it is currently in our power to save capitalism, will we or won’t we…..??

Sorry about the serious tone of this article! It was initially written for my other blog, Dada Divine, but I thought the subject matter, as it’s related to fashion and culture, may interest some of you. Would love to hear if any of you have an thoughts on this matter too!  🙂

Please note 100% of this article is pure opinion!

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