Students encounter ‘copycat culture’


Photo by Will Raymond

Junior Jack Ostrander is at the Gap. Ostrander loves expressing himself through fashion. Ostrander purposely goes against the ‘copycat culture’.

William Raymond, Podcast Reporter

This school year Stillwater High School saw a greater number of students breaking away from the stereotypical Lululemon, Patagonia and Champion brands, choosing instead to embrace a more creative side of fashion.

These breakaway students are choosing to express themselves, while testing the societal limits of high school. Students represent what it means to survive high school, helping to tear down the ‘copycat culture’ that pollutes and intoxicates the student body.

One of the students bringing the change is junior Eliza Darby, who says “I think fashion is a way to express yourself. When I see people copying each other, it kind of makes me frustrated because I feel like you have to present yourself by what you’re wearing and if everybody’s wearing the same thing nobody can really get a read on who you are.” 

The Association for Psychological Science reports that people tend to copy others around them subconsciously not purposely. Scientists say this begins in early development of the human brain. According to the APS, such mimicry is more common amongst teenagers because how easily influenced teens can be. 

Students look up to someone and emulate them wanting to be more like them, so they might think, ‘oh, if I dress like them, then maybe I will have some of those attributes that I’ve noticed as desirable.”

— Kristina King

“A lot of people are scared to wear different clothes because then you’re going to be labeled or remembered as the kid who dresses weird,” senior Jack Ostrander said.

LA Berkley scientists report that labeling other people creates stigma due to the preconceived notions that come with such labels. Social stigma in turn influences the human brain providing an environment for teens to conform, and acting as a catalyst for ‘copycat culture’. 

“Students look up to someone and emulate them wanting to be more like them, so they might think, ‘oh, if I dress like them, then maybe I will have some of those attributes that I’ve noticed as desirable,” counselor Kristina King explained. 

Covetousness, the feeling or desire of having someone else’s material possessions, is a psychological term used to help describe the ‘copycat culture’.

Photo by Natalie Williams
Freshmen Maya Hanlon, Kylie Ligday, Tori Lilijgren and sophomores Brynn Savelkoul and Kendall Rogers show off their Lululemon leggings. All of their outfits resemble each other’s.

King, when asked what can be done about the negative effects of ‘copycat culture’ responded by talking about the Link Leaders program, “One area I’ve reached out to is the link leaders, and I’ve actually tapped them specifically and said hey, what lunch do you have, I have a student that’s struggling with this lunch, would you mind, and they’ve been wonderful to say, absolutely.”

However while Link Leaders are an outlet to help struggling students trying to find their place, many are concerned that the program is only a band aid which leaves the larger problem of wanting to fit in unresolved.

Forbes Magazine reports that giving a simple compliment can boost someone’s self esteem. A single compliment can help lay the foundation for students to step outside an environment created with social stigma and covetousness. 

Ostrander advises any student wanting to get into fashion to “Wear whatever you want. Wear something you look cool in. Wear something you look good in, try out new and different colors, different brands and different articles of clothing.”