Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Alvaro Jarrin




fashion, identity, influence, wardrobe, demographic


This thesis explores how the world of fashion permeates all facets of human life, including social success, individual identity and self-acceptance. The fashion decisions we make each day are, indeed, personal decisions that we use to express ourselves and convey our story to society, however the cultures, people, and society that surround us are what intrinsically make these choices for us. Through extensive research in New York City and at Union College, evidence proves that persons are influenced by their surroundings, including media and friend groups, which ultimately establish his or her wardrobes and his or her level of social freedom or social pressure. I focus on two specific cultures, that of New York City and of Union College. I explored the type of people attracted to each area, observed what they were wearing and how they got this information for three months each, and then generated conclusions based on my findings. At Union College, the social atmosphere and friend groups persuade young women to wear items that are within the ‘acceptable fashion scope’ for that season. The demographic that applies to, and is admitted to, Union College is a narrow one, generating an almost-equal range of identities among young its undergraduate students. In New York City, on the other hand, inhabitants are from a diverse range of places, creating a melting pot. This variety creates a sense of social freedom and individuality, wear style is more creative, and different, diverse trends are acceptable.