The more we learn about culture, the greater our understanding of the global consumerism in fashion ‘
Instructions: please explain the essay topic mentioned above with the help of an example and put it in 4 paragraphs
Culture and Global Consumerism in Fashion
In the recent past, globalization has enhanced cultural integration and interaction thus diversifying culture. The spread of culture and cultural elements around the world continues to influence socio-cultural life in different communities and geographical regions. Moreover, the expansion of fashion arising from the development of the industry continues to make use of different cultural elements to change traditional wear into appealing and modernized designs. Following the increased influence of culture on the fashion industry, the world records increased consumerism in fashion and the diversification of fashion designs that use various cultural elements. The effect has been a constantly growing industry. Specific cultures have impacted on the fashion industry significantly. For instance, in the recent past, the Maasai culture has spread in the fashion industry, influencing it greatly, and prompting increased global consumerism. Different globally renowned fashion houses and designers have in the recent past integrated the Maasai culture in their designs. The spread of the culture, whose origin is Kenya into the world, depicts the influence of culture in fashion and its impact on the fashion industry and global consumerism. This essay uses the case of the Maasai culture to show the influence of culture on fashion and consumerism.
The Maasai Culture
Culture plays a critical role in the development of the fashion industry. As such, learning more about culture enhances one’s understanding of the influence of cultural elements in the fashion industry. A deeper understanding of culture enhances the understanding of its influence on fashion and global consumerism in fashion. The Maasai culture has in the last decade influenced the Kenyan, African and global fashion industry significantly. According to Veselinovic and Hoeferlin (2015), the integration of the different elements of Maasai culture in fashion in Kenya, for instance, has influenced the development of the industry. Different designers and fashion outlets in the country incorporate the iconic Maasai culture in their designs, in the wakes of their increasing demands. The integration of the Maasai kanga, shuka, or kikoi in fashion has been rampant in the country’s fashion platform, across Africa and in the global fashion scene (Peng, 2016). As such, understanding the culture of the Maasai is critical in understanding fashion and its influence on the global consumerism of fashion.
The Maasai people are an indigenous pastoralist ethnic group of Kenya and North Tanzania, which over the years has created a brand as the iconic tribe of Africa with its beautiful, integrated and wide-spread culture. They hold on to their culture and continue to promote it through tourism, an aspect that has made it widespread. An interesting aspect of their culture is its relation to fashion is their clothing, art, and beadwork (Spear, 1995). They continue to hold on to their traditional wear and promote it along with other cultural elements. For example, the beadwork of the Maasai is an important cultural element used for the ornamentation of the body. It integrates multiple colors and is generally colorful and beautiful. Additionally, their traditional wear includes the kanga and kikoi for men and women respectively. These articles of clothing are generally referred to as shuka in Kenya and Tanzania. Generally, they show preference to red and blue and integrate the colors in their clothing with red often being the predominant color due to the different cultural connotations the community attaches to the color. According to the Maasai, red shows power, bravery, and strength. However, women in Tanzania prefer blue attires complemented with the colorful jewelry. Blue represents land, health, the sky, and hospitality. Moreover, their shoes are mainly simple sandals mad from tires (Ferraro & Andreatta, 2014).
The Kenyan Fashion
The Kenyan fashion is identified mainly by the Kenyan print, which includes mainly the kente, kitenge and the Ankara fashion designs. These fashion fabrics are core to the fashion industry in Kenya and have been in use for decades. However, the immense growth and development of the fashion industry in the country has triggered the integration of different cultural designs from around the world. Though the western cultures and fashion designs have had a great impact on the industry, the Maasai culture revolutionized the industry. The integration of the Maasai culture in fashion continues to influence the industry significantly, causing its continued growth and development (Veselinovic & Hoeferlin, 2015). As an iconic tribe that predominantly resides in Kenya, the Maasai play a key role in the development of the Kenyan tourism and fashion sectors. Owing to the global recognition and the widespread of the Maasai culture, the Kenyan fashion has in the recent past integrated the cultural elements of the Maasai people to tap into an untapped market and provide for the demand of culturally-inspired fashion designs.
In the recent past, the Maasai culture has significantly influenced the development of the Kenyan fashion industry. Different designers and fashion houses reveal the integration of creativity and innovation in the development of designs that utilize the Kenyan print but also include a touch of the Maasai cultural elements (Austin, 2012). The different cultural clothing elements such as the shukas, beadworks, and their sandals have been used in the development of modernized fashion products that appeal to a larger market of diverse demographic. This follows the acknowledgement of the growing demand for fashion products inspired by the Maasai culture in Kenya and around the world. In the past few years, different designs have revealed the influence of Maasai cultural elements and a recorded rise in the consumption of the products. The continually rising demand and the global influence of the culture promises an increasingly growing demand for the products, and a consequent development of Kenya’s fashion sector. In the discussion of the Maasai culture’ s influence on the Kenyan industry, the analysis of its influence on global consumerism is critical for enhancing understanding of the influence of culture on fashion and consumerism.
According to Seshadri (2006), consumerism is the promotion of consumer interests, rights, and the process of making consumers aware and informed in consumption and making decisions concerning the consumption. It involves the making consumption-related decisions. Moreover, the concept involves the application and improvement of marketing practices to enhance responsiveness, improve efficiency and the quality of life and may also involve the rise in the demand for products and services causing increased consumption. Consumerism in the fashion industry continues to rise and people often shop to feel better (Shaw, 2015). The increasing globalization has triggered cultural diversification making culture a powerful and influential tool. The influence of culture on fashion and consumerism is significantly great. The integration of the Maasai culture has influenced the development of the Kenyan and global fashion industry and enhanced consumerism due to the high global appreciation of the culture. Major fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and other big players in the global fashion industry use the Maasai shuka designs in making different fashion products. For example, the Louis Vuitton has the Maasai Line that designs scarves, beach towels, and market hats with inspiration for the culture of the Maasai people (Logan, et al., 2016). Additionally, other key players in the industry use the cultural image to create different brands. Such an example is of the Maasai Boot Technology and brands by Land Rover among others (Phipps-Rufus, 2013). All notwithstanding, cultural appropriation is inevitable as globalization increases and culture diversifies. The appropriation and exploitation of the Maasai culture is an issue of great concern. Some elders feel that the fashion designers and houses and other corporations that use the Maasai brand are oppressive and exploitive. They argue that they use the Maasai brand to profit themselves without the consideration of the Maasai welfare or even their consent. According to Peng (2016), some fashion designers and photographers take photographs of the Maasai without their consent and use the photos to profit themselves.
The extensive influence of culture on fashion reveals that the understanding of culture and cultural elements is critical in enhancing the understanding of fashion and global consumerism. The Maasai culture has and continues to influence the Kenyan, African and global fashion industry. The Maasai culture is the cultural symbol of Kenya owing to the extent of its influence on the fashion and tourism sectors. As many people appreciate the culture, fashion designers understand the need to create fashion products that meet the demand of culturally-inspired products. Additionally, the culture has influenced the international fashion platform thus prompting increased global consumerism. As major fashion houses and designers create products inspired by the Maasai culture, more and more people continue to consume the products. Understanding the culture of the Maasai, therefore, enhances understanding of fashion trends, designs, influence, and consumerism.
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