Masters of Style


It is my second day back on campus, and with a new quarter comes a set of new classes. All freshman are required to take a class called Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), and my PWR class is entitled The Rhetoric of Sophistication: Masters of Style. Today we talked a lot about our own masters of style—public figures, designers, brands—and why we liked them or bought them. More often than not, the deciding factor was the power of branding.

Yesterday afternoon, Stuart Elliot posted on the New York Times Blog about how Product (Red), an organization dedicated to the fight against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, has teamed up with Penfolds, an Australian winemaker, to raise donations for the Global Fund. (Red) also sells products at Gap, Apple, Converse, Nike, Emporio Armani, Hallmark, and Starbucks—all brands that we’ve come to know and love in the United States. It doesn’t hurt that Gap sells red t-shirts that read inspi(Red), or that Nike sells red shoelaces. The brand looks good in the public eye for supporting a good cause, and the consumer is reassured of the quality of the product based on the brand name that is behind it.

We wear certain brands to send a message to our peers—whether that is a message of wealth, style or sophistication. So why not wear products for a cause to send a deeper message of self identity to tell the world what you really care about. I wear my UTAC bracelets and inspi(Red) t-shirt and lace my running shoes with bright red shoelaces to show, on a daily basis, my commitment and investment in the cause to the world around me. Why wear something that just looks good when you can wear something that looks good and gives back to causes that you care about. In my eyes, that is when you truly become a “Master of Style”.


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