LINKAGE: Cheap Chic Craze

In the summer of 1988 in Linköping, Sweden, I bought what I believed to be the most fabulous cropped – to the midriff! – acid washed jean jacket that ever existed from a trendy store called Hennes & Mauritz.  While popular among the Swedish kids I knew, it didn’t have the global cultural cache H&M does today.

But why does this ABC news feature piece about the Swedish retail giant portray cheap chic consumers as crazy, irrational, hordes of women (or animals, as one observer describes them) who get whipped up into a frenzy in the proximity of discount prices and conversely, cheap chic producers as rational, methodical, cost-conscious business people (led by one very rich man)?

(ABC doesn’t allow video sharing – click here for video – but there are plenty of YouTube videos depicting cheap chic consumers in much the same way. I recommend turning the volume down on this video of a French H&M below.)

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