What’s Influencing Barnstable High School’s Fashion:


Emma chamberlain attends the Met Gala.

Sloane Contrino, staff writer

Five years ago, Emma Chamberlain was a high school dropout with no more than a dozen subscribers on youtube. Today, the 20 year old racks in over 11 million subscribers, a billion and a half views, and an entire generation to idolize her. Some argue she has laid the blueprint for what is now referred to as “Influencing.” In what they wear, buy, and create in fashion, this phenomenon has had a hot impact on students at Barnstable High School.

Aimee Butterfield, fashion design teacher said, “Students aren’t looking to Vogue or the latest runway shows to influence their choices. That seems to be going extinct. Rather, they’re scrolling instagram or tik toc for fashion ‘influence.’”

What Butterfield said rings true. The name Emma ChamberlainIn is met with head nods and recognition by gen zer’s. The youtube vlogger and social media star is admired for her lifestyle, fashion, and personality. “If someone is calling me an influencer, they’re saying my job is to influence, and I don’t think that’s true. I prefer to entertain and be a friend. I don’t want to influence you.” said Chamberlain. 

Chamberlain, amongst gen z-ers, is considered not only to be a trailblazer to the concept of influencers, but a role model in life and a true inspiration. 

“I think the reason so many people follow her on social media is because she’s funny and  realistic. She talks about relatable things and is authentic about herself. It’s refreshing,” said junior Molly Cahill. “She is seen as cool, so whatever she does then becomes cool.”

Teenagers find her fashion has had an impact on the way they dress. 

“The mini uggs. I can’t find them anywhere,” said eighth grader, Elena Critikos. “I was seeing Tik Toks in the Fall about how people bought them just because Emma Chamberlain wore them.”

Activities Chamberlain does day to day, aside from wearing mini uggs and filming youtube lifestyle vlogs, include attending pop culture events like the teen choice awards and met gala. Her relatable and realistic self-presentation often leads her viewers to forget she is even famous.  

“Because compared to other celebrities she seems so real, it’s weird to see her on the red carpet at the Met gala. She stands out because she seems out of place. This only makes people gravitate towards her more and think she’s cooler,” said Rose Bancroft, a fashion student at Barnstable. 

While consumers spend money to keep up with influencer trends, the influencers receive a steady cash flow. A 2021 HBO original documentary called “Fake Famous,” revealed how Influencers buy products, document using them and put in a good word. Soon, free products begin to arrive in the mail, awaiting a social media booster. More powerful influencers are offered free products and partnerships without reaching out first, with companies in attempts to gain attention for a product. 

“The thing about influencing is that it’s right in front of our faces. But so are our phones, and the more we see something on our screen, the more it becomes desirable in real life,” said senior, Alexa Lubash. She sees influencing culture as a way to brand specific lifestyles, as well as the sponsored products that accompany. 

Other students see influencing in its purest marketing dimension. “It’s the most effective advertisement scheme. They use real people to get in touch with consumers emotionally,” said junior Lucie Ells, who is studying business. “The weirdest part is that we know what influencers are doing, yet it still works.” 

It is common consensus that a media-consuming audience with the freedom of disposable income has become the giant target. Both Ells and Lubash said how marketing strategies capitalize on the importance of aesthetic branding to young people. 

Cahill said, “I’m not sure how long influencers will have such an impact on our generation. It’s such a new concept, and we still don’t understand fully as consumers why it works.”

Despite impacts of influencer trends draining student bank accounts and confusing young consumer brains, teens still look to Emma Chamberlain, argued as the very first influencer, as a friend.

 “In a way, she becomes more idolized for seeming so real. It’s kind of confusing. But people enjoy her as a person, so she’s always successful,” said Rose Bancroft. 

Aimee Butterfield, as a fashion design teacher, has seen the impacts of influencer culture on students and fashion, and  feels mostly hopeful towards the movement. 

In one way it’s democratizing fashion. It used to be a top down system and now it’s flipping. I think that’s fantastic. It allows for more options, creative expression and ultimately acceptance.”

Chamberlain’s subscription numbers climb every day. In the meantime, students patiently await the delivery of mini uggs still on backorder.