BEING DIFFERENT IS THE HEIGHT OF FASHION
LIKE many parents, I took my teenage children to the Twenty One Pilots concert on Saturday night. It was a great concert and of course my girls wanted a memento of the event from the merchandise stall. I agreed to a $40 red beanie for them to share. Lead singer Tyler Joseph wears the red beanie, so they’re “super cool”. Soon the crowd of thousands was a sea of red beanies and they sold out. Harvard Business School researchers call Tyler’s beanie the Red Sneaker Effect. People use signals of non-conformity, such as what people wear, to infer status and competence. For example, Mark Zuckerberg is famous for his hoodies and Donald Trump for his coif. The Red Sneaker Effect means we think people who intentionally dress differently have higher status. It’s great news for those who have a unique sense of style – it’s the new power-dressing.