June 14, 2010

I want to go back. Now!

I learned so much from this class. Fashion/shopping in London, fashion/shopping in Prague, and different cultural norms. Although we were only abroad for three weeks, I feel like I learned an endless amount about Europe.

Fashion and shopping in London was all about status, name brands, social interaction, uniqueness, and individuality. People shopped to spend time with their friends, add to their own unique wardrobe, and make an event out of shopping for the day. Londoners love getting together with friends and walking around the streets and shops. They also love to be their own person. Outfits range from basic and conservative to eccentric and bold. Even the most plain outfits were spiced-up with colorful accessories or unique pieces. People were concerned with name brands but made the pieces their own. Our culture code for London shopping was “Martini” because it represented the fun, social aspect, and variety of shopping.

Fashion and shopping in Prague was a whole different story. The city is still deeply rooted in its history – meaning the buildings, traditions, and fashion are still much the same as they used to be. Our culture code – “Fuctionality” – perfectly described Czech people’s perception on fashion and shopping. They shop for specific occasions and specific purposes. The weather and their travel plans affect their clothing choices. Name brands are not important. Megamalls and hypermarkets are slowly becoming popular, but many people still shop at local markets and shops. The old generation vs. new generation of shoppers is very defined. “Functionality” is what Czech people consider when shopping.

Besides specifically learning about fashion and shopping, I learned a great deal about different cultures in general. The food was vastly different in both places – in my opinion, London’s fish and chips were no match for Prague’s goulash and schnitzle. Londoners were friendly and bubbly, while Czech people were more reserved and quiet. Public transportation was big in both cities, as was the importance of a great beer.

I’ve never been to Europe before, so this experience was unreal. I truly had an amazing time and will never forget the places I went to, the things I experienced, and the people I spent the three weeks with.


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