Recently, the rush chair for the Cornell chapter of Pi Phi issued a seven-page memo regulating what sisters can and can’t wear during recruitment. While it’s not new for distinct groups to align themselves with certain brands, what is interesting are which labels the rush chair uses to signify just how “casually chic” Pi Phi is in hopes of gaining campus-wide acceptance. Anthropologist, Grant McCracken theorizes that distinct groups of people, or flocks, adopt trends based on a risk-safety ratio. Trends trickle down from small chaotic pockets and grow based on their commercial appeal for the masses.
In Pi Phi’s case, their choice of Tory Burch flats, skinny jeans and meticulously groomed hair signifies a specific tribe of dressers indicative of Flock 3. While this portion of the consumer market enjoys nice things, risky items (ripped boyfriend jeans!) aren’t part of the repertoire. Just as Oprah’s influence to move trends is substantial, so is the voice of mini leaders like this sorority. Hilarious read aside, when it comes down to it, taking the manifesto at face value overlooks the anthropological value in understanding major buying forces in today’s market.
Coverage By: Nikki Ogunnaike