Influences of Socio-Economic Status of Parents on Youth Identity:Exploring Youth Identity and Consumerist Fashion in South Africa

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Boipelo BAHULE, North West University, South Africa
Kiran ODHAV, North West University, Mafikeng, North West Province, South Africa
Fashion is a symbol of culture and is often used to express various identities. Youth today create, replicate or imitate various subcultures which in turn form their identities. Very often the youth deviate from social norms, as is the case with the Izikhothane subculture in South Africa. The subculture is characterised by extravagance and destroying the expensive items they buy. The parents of these young people are predominantly middle class to lower class as they live in townships and therefore cannot afford their children’s lifestyles, leading to them living in debt.

The purpose of this study, with an efficient literature review on youth, fashion, identity, parents influence on young people’s consumer behaviour as well as desire and conspicuous consumption is to find the relationship between youth identity, with particular focus on fashion as an expression of identity and how it is affected by the socio-economic state of the parents. It also seeks to identify other social problems that may arise thereafter.

This is a qualitative study, making use of focus group interviews as a research tool. The study is conducted amongst the students of North West University-Mahikeng Campus including an analysis of literature and media reports on Youth Cultures and Consumerist Styles in South Africa.

Various findings are discovered and recommendations are given and the most important finding is one that proves that parents do have an influence on youth identity and preferred consumer fashion styles which go with the identity of choice.