Date of Degree

6-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor(s)

Eugenia Paulicelli

Subject Categories

Sociology

Keywords

Consumerism, Fashion, Identity, Jennifer Lopez, New York City, The Bronx

Abstract

The following thesis is a three-part look at the way that fashion identity is created, practiced and understood in the Bronx. The majority of the thesis focuses on the area of Fordham Road, which is an area that is regarded as one of the biggest producers of fashion and consumption in the working class borough. This paper provides a look at the history of the borough to understand how an area like Fordham was shaped. Fordham is an area consisting of a variety of small and large businesses that cater to the members of the surrounding communities. These residents are from lower working class backgrounds and from a variety of Latin American and African American ethnic groups. Factors such as class, racial background, and the rise of hip-hop culture in the eighties, have all influenced the type of consumerism in the area. The stores, clothing, and products sold in Fordham Road are very particular and geared to this population.

When others think of the Bronx, they often apply an urban and "ghetto" street fashion persona to members of the various communities in the borough. This persona has everything to do with the types of clothing people from several parts of the borough wear, what stores they shop in, physical behavior, language, and their customs. It is because of these factors that cultural identity precedes fashion identity. This paper concludes with an analysis of this worldwide image of Bronx fashion identity as created by pop icon and actress Jennifer Lopez. Lopez's successful career has contributed to the overall conception of how people from the Bronx dress and behave. This is supported through her constant expression of urban hip-hop culture and "Latinidad" in her songs, music videos and personal style.

Through the analysis of various academic sources, music videos, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, this paper will provide variables that have all contributed to the creation of fashion identity in the Bronx. This study will show how space can determine the way a person identifies as an individual and as part of a subculture through their choices in fashion. The choices that people make are often predetermined for them by this space through forms of marketing and consumerism.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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