“Brand marketing sells a lifestyle; we buy the illusion.”

“We all have to concede who we are with who we want to be.”

The Art of Psychology

What is it about consumerism that transcends culture and class, and what aspects are exclusive to our own experiences?

Although I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family, my parents worked hard and chose to live beyond their means. They provided their only daughter with luxuries unheard of in former USSR: the best private schools, vacations twice a year and countless extra-curricular activities. We often watched Fashion Television together, and I quickly learned how to distinguish Versace from Valentino. We couldn’t actually afford couture, but we had a taste for it. Shopping was a highly anticipated part of every vacation. I was taught to look past brand names and pay attention to design. Rarely wasting time in high-end department stores, we headed straight for discount designer shops like Loehmann’s or Century 21. I loved getting deals on coveted designer names; it was empowering.

Despite my interest in fashion, I never devoted…

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