Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gossip Girl's Trend-Making Machine

We tried to launch trends from the get-go.

-Eric Daman, costume designer Gossip Girl

In Ruth La Ferla, "Forget Gossip, Girl; The Buzz is About Clothes," The New York Times, July 8, 2008

The CW Network's Gossip Girl, which centers on the machinations of young ladies in a Manhattan private school, is popular with teenage girls. Although its TV ratings are only middling (though some argue that many more people view it online), the show is having a broad impact on the retail marketplace. "Merchants, designers and trend consultants say that Gossip Girl, which is in summer reruns on the CW network before returning Sept. 1, just in time for back-to-school shopping, is one of the biggest influences on how young women spend. Fans stride into boutiques bearing magazine tear sheets that feature members of the cast and ask for their exact outfits. Or they order scoop-neck tops and hobo bags by following e-commerce links from the show’s Web site." According to Daman, this type of influence--along with the product-placement cash that comes with it--is what the program's creators intended from the start. Daman had worked previously on Sex and the City. Gossip Girls brings a similar materialistic sensibility to its script and screen. The Times writer treats all this quite benignly, quoting someone who tosses it off as "eye candy." But many of the items are quite expensive, and at a time when many US families are suffering financially one wonders what kinds of tensions these induced desires cause. Clearly, too, the program is another example, of the blanket commodification of television programming.

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