Celebrity Airport Fashion – An Extension of the Spotlight (Arim Han)

Minimized privacy is an occupational hazard for people in the public eye. Being a celebrity implies that there isn’t much distinction between work and private life, because they’re always on the job. One doesn’t stop being a celebrity after 6pm. 

The inescapable scrutiny celebrities receive from the public pressures them into performing their identity 24/7. Airport fashion is an example of the curious fascination with celebrity. As Entwistle mentions, the clothes that we choose to wear (celebrity or not) “represents a compromise between the demands of the social world, the milieu in which we belong, and our own individual desires” (Entwistle, 114). Celebrities, due to the nature of their job, face both behavioral and aesthetic expectations from their audience. The airport, a place often associated with bustle and fleeting travel, presents itself as an opportunity for celebrities to showcase their outfit as a compromise between their expected image and personal taste.

The above photo is of two Korean celebrities who were photographed in the airport. Both exhibit dress that doesn’t coincide with what most people wear when traveling. When traveling, most prioritize comfort and practicality. For celebrities, heading to the airport is a surefire way to get photographed, and therefore a chance to put themselves on display. Celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Kim Kardashian are photographed in what appears to be carefully coordinated outfits – stylish, glamorous, and certainly not practical. As they walk from their cars to their terminal, photographers and fans capture and circulate photos on social media, allowing the public to critically analyze their ability to maintain composure and style in a place known for its chaotic nature. Once they are past security and out of the public eye, their priorities change: many celebrities change into more travel friendly attire, remove their makeup, and trade the heels for more comfortable footwear. Because they are in a safer realm of privacy, they feel less pressure to present the best version of themselves.

Celebrity airport fashion is a reflection of the tension public figures especially face between their own personal agendas and the expectations they need to live up to. Because their value is often dependent on their visibility, there’s little breathing room as celebrities scrutinize their outfit choice as much as they are scrutinized by the public, sacrificing comfort and practicality in the name of fashion.

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