By Emily Chan
It’s that time of the year again: New York Fashion Week. Intricately designed and outrageously priced, the high fashion clothing exhibited bi-annually in Lincoln Center is clearly not meant for the Average Joe. Instead, millions of people around the world live vicariously through the fashionistas who can buy a $5,000 dress.
Lately, however, it has become much easier to get runway looks at affordable prices as Fifth Avenue fashions migrate to Main Street stores. The most visible example comes from designers like Missoni, Jason Wu and Michael Graves all of whom recently came out with clothing lines for Target. A suburban mom in New Jersey can decorate her house with designer décor, and a teenage girl can sport a Missoni dress at her school dance.
While this clothing transition appears superficial and irrelevant, it illustrates a shift that has been occurring in America for many months. The Occupy Wall Street movement made the issue of class more visible than it has been in decades, and now it seems that everyone is paying more attention to the disparity not just between the ultra-rich and impoverished, but also the gap between the ultra-rich and the middle class
One of the primary complaints of the Occupy Movement is that one percent of the country lives a grossly unattainable lifestyle, but now, members of the one percent itself are attempting to ameliorate that problem. By catering to the middle class and making products more affordable, high-end design is now an attainable reality.
Members of the one percent are also appealing to the 99 percent in other facets. Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world, argued that proportionally, the ultra-rich do not pay enough in taxes compared to the rest of the population.
Buffet’s adamant fight for more equal taxation inspired President Obama to propose “The Buffett Rule,” which is a tax plan that requires those who earn more than $1 million a year to pay a higher tax rate. Although this means that Buffett himself would have to pay much more in taxes, his concern was ultimately for the 99 percent.
While Buffett is only one ultra-rich person fighting for the layman, and making designer clothing more affordable is not a drastic societal change, these factors show that America is slowly moving in the right direction.