Recently, a school in the United Kingdom prohibited students from wearing brands such as Canada Goose, Pyrenex and Moncler jackets for being way too expensive.
“You can try as much as you want so everyone looks the same, but the kids find ways of knowing where people live, where they come from, what they have. You might be able to delay discovery, but it won’t last long,” says Lynne Zarbatany, Associate Professor of Psychology at Western University.
She says the news reminded her of uniforms and other attempts to make people all look the same.
The school is recognizing that youth is putting pressure on parents to buy them expensive clothing items. The problem is that not all parents can afford it.
“Kids, late into childhood and early into adolescence, care much more about what peers think about them than what parents think,” adds Zarbatany.
Marsella Fuentes is a Fanshawe student in the school of nursing and she also reacts to the news. She believes this may have not been the best solution.
“I thought maybe it would be a good idea because of the kids that are not fortunate enough to buy more expensive brands. But then, where are you going to draw the line? Are you going to start banning brand name shoes, sweaters, etc.? You have to get to the root of the problem, teaching your kids not judge others based on what they have.”
In an interview with BBC News, the school’s headteacher explains that the school’s concern is poverty-proofing of their school environment, but Zarbatany thinks bullying could have been another factor for the ban.
“If not wearing expensive coats makes you stand out, then you become a target. If everyone has to remove the expensive coats, they are not going to forget who had them and who didn’t.”
She adds that children being bullied will feel the pressure of wanting to have the same as their classmates to stop being victimized. Some could show it through anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, but for Fuentes this was not her case.
“I had compared myself at some point, it’s natural. When I was younger, I didn’t look at what other kids had, I didn’t care about my appearance, I was just having fun and wanting to be happy, doing my school work. For me it wasn’t an issue maybe because how I was taught.”
Therefore, why are name brands such a big deals for people? Well, some say is quality, some say is just a name. Fuentes shares Londoners preferences as she work as a sales associate in a London mall.
“I have noticed people don’t really look at the prices, they just look at what they like. Even if it is a specific brand, they will go straight to it and buy it automatically. The other half only cares if it’s durable and then they purchase it.”