Everyone knows people who buy designer clothes are shallow assholes. But it looks like everyone is a shallow asshole. People apparently hold other people in higher regard simply if they're wearing clothes with a designer label.
In a new study in Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers found that labels act as a status-boosting talisman. They showed a picture of a man with a luxury logo like Lacoste and a picture with the logo digitally removed to volunteers. The volunteers judged the man with the logo to be wealthier and of "higher status."
one of their female assistants asked people in a shopping mall to stop and answer survey questions. One day she wore a sweater with a designer logo; the next, an identical sweater with no logo. Some 52% of people agreed to take the survey when faced with the Tommy Hilfiger label, compared with only 13% who saw no logo.
These results don't only show that we're evolutionarily wired to love logos, as the Economist suggests. It's also a signal of the fashion industry's radical success at turning consumers into irrational, Pavlovian shopping bots, salivating over tiny scraps of brightly-colored fabric. This might backfire once people skip the clothes altogether and just get Chanel logos tattooed directly on their foreheads. [The Economist, Image via Getty]