Fashion victims are victims because they are vulnerable to faddishness and materialism, two of the widely recognized excesses of fashion, and consequently are at the mercy of society's prejudices or of the commercial interest of the fashion industry, or of both. According to Giorgio Armani, "When a woman alters her look too much from season to season, she becomes a fashion victim.
Designer branding is sometimes associated with a higher quality of manufacture and a more expensive price. The ownership and display of such products of quality is frequently marketed to suggest that the wearer will automatically embody a personal characteristic of quality by association. Designers have identified this fact and in some cases are able to exploit this to the extent that prices can be escalated to surprising proportions without reference to the cost of manufacture. Extreme examples of this type of branding are found among accessory manufacturers such as Versace, Gucci and Burberry, scent manufacturers such as Chanel and Guerlain and watch manufacturers such as Rolex and Bvlgari.
Fashion victims, by their characteristic inability to recognize boundaries, may aspire to the extreme end of what is available, seeking expensive products (or copies of these products), believing that the outward display of such items will draw admiration in proportion to their actual or apparent cost. Because of this, "the term 'fashion victim' became the ultimate insult to the aspirational.